This One is for My Mother

Don’t knit while cranky. Just don’t do it. You’ll see your bad attitude all up and down the stitches. The gauge will be tight, off center, off the needle and all over the place.

Lately, we have good days and bad days. I was having one of my bad days. Angry, crabby, defensive, hurt, sore, morose. While working up some of my bears, I was ripping them back up apart because they weren’t coming out right. See? My bad attitude was seeping through these hands and bleeding into my knitting. You cannot let that happen. You just can’t. And let’s just all reflect on how much of a life lesson that should be. If you approach life with nastiness and frustration, you weave into the world the precise reminder of what you plan to leave behind.  So, I set my knitting aside.

Phillip is awfully tolerant lately when I have one of my bad days. He’s understanding. He directs me. He pushes me quietly into better places. He said, “Isn’t it time for ‘Mama’s Family?'”

Well, yes….as a matter of fact, it was. Yes, yes, I know it’s ridiculous and foolish, but it is good, clean, innocent fun. And It makes me laugh. (There are sheltered “Mama’s Family” fans out there nodding with me right now).

But, while watching it, my ills and ails were forgotten, were dropped for the sake of a sitcom. We starting laughing about our own family histories, giggled about our own short comings, roared about other’s failings. (hee hee).

Without batting a lash, and in the middle of a story about my mother being so cool as to wear a tuxedo to a formal in Berlin when she was a younger woman, because she just didn’t like any dress offered her (and caused a raucous worthy of Dietrich), I picked up my needles and started knitting again….without thinking about it. Stitches were pouring out my fingers as they should, knits and purls clung to each other as comfortable friends.

And then I started telling Phillip more stories about my mother; how we were in a little church in North Carolina when I was about 13. The congregation was honoring veterans. The pastor asked the veterans to stand so that they could be acknowledged, and there stood my mother in a dashing navy blue dress imprinted with tiny little beige flowers. She was the only woman that stood. And I sat back and said, “Yep, my momma wears combat boots….and she’ll kick your ass.”

Or, the time she and her friend ended up in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Savannah on accident (after taking a wrong turn) …in a convertible, hung over, in their pajamas…..and just started waving royally to the crowd with big regal smiles. Or the time we went rushing around Savannah looking for martini glasses so she could have a cocktail with dinner. We found them, bought vodka…..and when she started to make her drink she dropped an ice cube in the martini glass, poured vodka over and began to sip.

I quipped, “I thought you were having a martini…”

“I am.”

“No vermouth?”

“Oh, no. That stuff gets you drunk.”

“No olives or onions?”

“Why? We’re about to eat.”

“Then what makes it a martini?”

And she said with a wink and a lilt in her voice, “The glass, of course.”

Or the time I was being beat by the world and she reminded me that I might be “as poor as a church mouse, but happier than anyone I’ve ever known.” Or the time I was supposed to visit her for Christmas sometime in the 90’s and the train derailed, long before I was on it. But, since it wasn’t coming my way, she drove down from St. Simons to fetch me in Orlando, drove me all the way back up to her home where we had Puerto Rican eggnog and smoked cigars and cried our eyes out like little girls watching “Titanic.” (and I HATE that movie!) That is, to date, my favorite Christmas.

Or the time she took my hand in her’s and said she didn’t often view me as her son…..but her best friend.

My mother is one of the last of the great southern ladies. Simply gracious.

And I thought it rather interesting that I had knit up a ton of stuff while telling Phillip all of these random stories about my mother. Thoughts of her were comforting me, were making me smile, were making me feel better.

….and I just kept on knitting, smiling the whole while and feeling much better.

I love you, mom.

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  1. Your mother sounds like my kind of lady! 😉 … My own mother is fighting a battle right now. One she can’t “win” in any traditional sense, but one in which she remains victorious every step of the way. The doctors’ carefully worded descriptions have gone from predicting years in 2010, to hinting at months as of last week. Who are they kidding? All any of us has is a day. Today. Glad you were able to turn yours around. And glad that you’ve reminded me to call my mother again. Because today I can.

  2. Oh boy! You are a master story-teller. Bless you for your wonderful rendition of your mother. You honor her memory. And what memories you have! What a splendid woman she was! And you remind me of how much delight I have in sharing stories of my mother when ever I have the opportunity. These stories keep those we love alive!

  3. There’s like happy memories about “Mom” to make you smile even in the worst of moods. Thank you for the reminder! (And kudos to Phillip for his patience and wisdom.) 🙂

  4. You should write and share these with us too 🙂 she sounds like a story in herself, fictionalize it and base it on her then write and enjoy… Your next great book?

  5. Lovely memories! I often remember special times I shared with my Daddy. He has always been a huge influence in my life. I never get to spend enough time with him and it hurts me. He lives 8 hrs away and getting down to Dade City is hard. Thank you for sharing your lovely memories and making me smile.

  6. Gregory, I’m glad for your evolving relationship with our Mother.
    I also hope you are doing much better physically.
    I found the peanuts I think you like! It’s online at: They’re called blistering peanuts. They’re also boiled and then slightly salted. My rating= delicious. I happen to like this company- they have a lot of healthy product.
    I hope this you in a good mood.

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