Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dial D For Daughter

"A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie."
-Tenneva Jordan

My mother takes all my gentle mocking with good humour. I recently wished to write about a recipe she once- and only once- prepared for me when I was at the end of my schooldays. She devised a Bacon and Egg Pie, a tasteless and oddly textured experiment, and it still remains the worst thing I have ever consumed in my life, even considering that my diet has in recent years come to include squid and octopus. Even she admitted the dreadfulness of the concoction.
Mater was vexed that ten years later I still make mention of The Pie and she lamented that I say little about her that inspires warm thoughts. I have already insisted that she is very good and always takes my joshing lightly. That is a particularly useful resource and not to be ignored.
In recent months, since I left home again, she has had the grassy driveway paved; exiting from the sloping, narrow driveway onto a busy road every morning was taking its toll; and when she stuck the nose of her car onto the road one frosty morning and a raging, impatient driver shook his fist at her, it was then that she resolved to refurbish her driveway so that she could swing in there every evening without reversing, and so that she could see a little better when attempting to leave in the mornings.
As I said, I left before that momentous event took place but I heard about it as she bubbled happily over the phone. Some friends came by to see the driveway and share in the joy, and I heard about that. I heard about it, in fact, at least twelve times in one week until I had to insist she cease telling me. Mater kept forgetting that she had told me they came to see the driveway
until it all broke down one night and we laughed hysterically until the tears were pouring down her face. She never did tell me again, thank goodness.
When I suggest, even remotely, with the least hint of possibility, that Spouse and I might move to another country, she returns an hour or two later having done extensive research on prices of flights, current temperature in that very part of the world and nearby towns and cities; she becomes a veritable encyclopedia.
Once when I was at college in California, I was on my way to a class and strolling idly along by the cafeteria. There was a public telephone just outside the building and it was ringing. People were sitting in the afternoon glare and watching it ring. They had no cause to answer it: they knew nobody who would call a random telephone.
Something made me stride over purposefully to answer it. It was my mother, wondering if I might be at my class yet.
That is a true story: I had given her the number months previously and she called it at appointed times so that we could catch up.
This was not an arranged time though, and I had been passing by as she made the unsolicited, spur-of-the-moment, yet ultimately successful call to another continent.
It does not help matters that on a previous occasion I had become ill while talking to her. We were having a conversation about a hideous, loathsome book I was reading- one by Jonathan Hull, called 'Losing Julia.' I felt a cold, nasty shiver creep all over me as I talked and assumed it to be from thoughts of the novel.
In moments, however, I could barely speak and all Mater heard, poor woman, was, "I have to go. Not feeling too good." Then the line went dead and I was trying not to faint six thousand miles away from her.
What Mater went through in the next few hours was not much easier than how I fared.
It is no wonder, then, that she telephones random public phone boxes in hopes of checking up on me. She follows me around in the only way she is able: virtually, and in her heart, and I cannot fault her for that. The voice on the other end of the public telephone at my college has kept me company more times than I could possibly count.

My mother, in a moment of verbal entanglement, once earnestly defended a city familiar to us and known only for its crime:
"it's safe so long as you don't get killed there."
I knew just what she meant although I cannot translate.
My mother is perfectly all right so long as she does not cook Bacon and Egg Pie.
Just for the record- she makes a super cup of tea.


mouse (aka kimy) said...

oh I do like your little corner of cyberspace.... and must add you to the roll....hope you don't mind!

places that create smiles are wonderful places to visit!

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Finding your blog this afternoon was quite a treat! I'm so happy you came by. I think your blog is wonderful.

Nan said...

I had this kind of mother, and I am this kind of mother. :<) I just love the part about the phone booth. It makes me shake my head in amazement, but it is such a metaphor for the connection. Lovely.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Nan, it's strangely one of the things I miss about college and the small town we lived in- having my mother call me like that. We talk every day but it's something else to be at college and have a conversation outdoors where I can tell her what the place looks like and what class I had next. Good days. And I didn't mention that she visited me and we took a trip to that college and phone box and it was special for her to see it :)

zee said...

anna! odd but happy couple-
we all love your writings, marlene and i wrote on this before, months ago but i didn't understand the blogosphere! is this getting to you two?
please call immediately.
love marlene eren robert ruby (and zoe, the old soul...)

Please look around, explore my writing, leave a crumb:
I welcome comments and thoughts.