Friday, November 18, 2011

Stuff My Mother Says

I keep seeing "**** my dad says." I'll admit my dad says some funny things, but the real comedian in my family is my mother. Now, some of the things she says she means to be funny, but most of the real humor is in the ear of the listener. My daughter-in-law who is from Oklahoma thinks my mother is hilarious. She'll say, "What is that your mother says?" I try to think. It could be, "Poor as Job's turkey," (never have figured that one out,) or "He's rich as 4 feet up a mules tail" (censored according to audience,) "Lord, willing and the creek don't rise, " or maybe my favorite from childhood, "I want you to wish in one hand and poop in the other and see which one fills up the fastest."
I could go on, and I will. There are the threatening ones, because we were hellions. "I'll snatch a knot in you." "My God, I hope you have two just like you." "Don't let your mouth write out a check your ass can't pay for." "I will beat you within an inch of your life" (That was an idle threat, but it worked.) And last but not least, another favorite, "Y'all are driving me crazy. You're going to have to come peek at me through the bars on Sunday." There was the constant threat that we would drive her to the Sanatorium.
Other favorites: "You are slower than molasses running up a hill in January." "It's colder than a witches tit." "Slicker than owl shit." (uncensored and only used out of the public eye, after all she is a southern belle.)
But, sayings aside, some of the funniest things are just stories about my mom. My most favorite recent incident happened while we were visiting one of my friends. Sylvia has been a dear friend of mine for years and our mothers are friends and fellow Eastern Star ladies. My mom starts telling us how she has planned out her funeral down to the last detail and already prepaid. No one likes to have this conversation with their parents, but she just kept telling us how she had picked out the songs, verses, and order of things. When she said, "I am going to be cremated before the service, because I don't want people looking at me. There will be an urn of ashes, but I rented an empty coffin so there would be somewhere to put the blanket of roses," Sylvia and I cracked up. We laughed so hard we were crying. I asked Mom why we couldn't just put a table up there or something. She said, "I want the flowers to look nice. They won't look right on a table." This sent us into convulsive laughter, while she looked at us confused and said, "What?" We never did explain to her why that was so funny, other than to say the people at the funeral home saw her coming.
On the way home that day she was quiet for a few minutes and then said, "I guess that is silly to pay for an empty casket."
"Yes, Mom, it is. I promise your service will look nice."
She was satisfied with the answer and said she was going to get some of her money back.
I wondered out loud, "How do they market it after that, used casket on sale? That isn't a very good pitch line. Do you they use the same one for all the rentals?"
I almost drove off the road when she said, "I told them mine better damn well be new, because I didn't want someone else's casket."
When I could stop laughing, I said, "No, Mom, I don't guess you want a used casket even if no one's ever been in it. Get your money back."
I guess I shouldn't tell too many of my mother's stories here. She is my best source of material and I need to keep some of it for later. I'll leave you with my mother's first comment on learning I was gay. It wasn't funny then, because I thought she might really do it. Now, it makes me laugh. You need to know that TPI stands for Tidewater Psychiatric Institute and was just across the Virginia border from where we lived.
My mother put her hands on her hips and said, "You are not a lezzzzzzbiaaaan. I will slap your ass in TPI so fast it will make your head spin."
She is now the mother everyone goes to for counseling when they find out one of their children is gay. She tells them that the child is still the same child they loved the day before. Now, that makes my head spin.


  1. "You are not a lezzzzzzbiaaaan. I will slap your ass in TPI so fast it will make your head spin."

    Just read this in *Out on the Sound* and am thrilled to know real life has a happy resolution. Now back to Decky and Charlie!

  2. Lyric,
    Funny how life slips into that fiction sometimes.