I know my brother and I gave our parents 'fits'. One thing I remember early on, when I was about four years old (Yes, I can remember way back then) was getting so excited with a new box of crayons, that a sheet of paper just couldn't contain our enthusiasm. My father had to paint the walls in our (my brother and my) shared bedroom. He confiscated our crayon box, putting them in his bedroom on top of his dresser. The next day while he was at work, I distinctly remembering creeping in there and taking them back. (Boy oh boy...how naughty was that??!) I was just going to draw a little bit, but before I knew it, my brother and I were scrawling out the most wonderful pictures on the new apple green painted wall by my bed. I drew the most fantastic tree with a swing hanging from it....thinking, Daddy was going to be so impressed with our drawings, how could he possibly get mad. Well, he could. I just don't remember the bad part of it, whether or not we got a paddling, but the next day he had made an huge chalkboard with a big lip on it to hold all kinds of glorious colored chalk. He must have been used to that sort of goings on in his family, because most of them were artists. A few years later, after he knew he could trust us, he returned our beloved crayons. I still get all excited at the thought of brand new art supplies....even an huge box of crayons Cappy got me one time because I had told him about my brother and me loving them so much when we were younger. How nice was that.
We gave our parents 'fits' later on, too. Like my kids did me. But aha! I gave them (my kids) 'fits' right back, especially when I'd need help with the housework and whip out the much dreaded 'picka-job box'. To this day they still rankle whenever it's mentioned. It didn't help that whenver they picked out five or six slips of paper, that one or two may have included "go take a walk around the block two times to get some fresh air" or "give your sister and brothers a hug", it was the other ones that they hated. Oh sure, they might get to walk around the block a couple of times, but the toilet would be there, for instance, waiting to be scrubbed, or their stack of folded laundry needing to be put in their drawer, or drying a sinkload of dishes. This was for the teenagers, mostly...the younger kids had it a lot easier. It didn't matter; they all hated the 'picka job box'. There were five of them and picka-job by picka-job they all learned how to pull their weight, so to speak and cook...migosh, they are all fantastic cooks. But before that they mocked my 'game' by singing silly words, to the song, "Take a Chance on Me". "You can change your mind...picka job, picka job...but you can't change your job...picka job, picka job..." and it got worse, so we'll just leave it at that.
As I was working, just now, with my own 'picka-job' list of stuff to do before company gets here, Tuesday, I was 'decluttering' a particular 'paper blizzard' in the corner of this desk, and came across something interesting. A piece of paper that reminded me of a man named Zeke, whose mother I met right after moving down to South Louisiana. The poor lady was stooped over and deeply wrinkled, from having had a tough life, raising her kids alone. She'd been through the wringer. Now she lived with the son who had given her the worst time, and his wife, who seemed to care about her and treat her affectionately. Sitting at their kitchen table, Zeke regailed me with stories about when in his teens, how he, his brothers and friends had terrorized his mother, whom he called, "the Old Buzzard". His Mom just sat there, nodding stoically into her glass of iced tea, remembering, too. Horrified, I asked her, "You don't mind if they call you that???" She just looked up and said, "Oh, I got used to it", then sighed and took a sip of her tea. Zeke kept up the stories...he was so animated, I think he must have been one of those kids, and now an adult with an hyperactivity problem. I felt so bad for this dear, patient lady, who, despite it all, appeared to retain her dignity, even in the face of all she'd been through. Even tho her son told stories on himself, and all the awful things, he'd put her through, and even tho he still called her, "Old Buzzard", I got the feeling that he loved and admired her for putting up with all of it, and not killing all of them...which she must have felt like, at times. In the years that followed, I thought about her now and then, fondly, and prayed for her at those times.
About six months ago, Zeke called, looking for a phone number for an old friend that Cappy may have had. I asked him about his mother. He said she had passed. His voice softened and he said that she had been ill for some time. In the time he had sat by her bed with her, he had, had a lot of time to reflect. He said he felt bad for all the terrible things he had put her through and had told her so. He said, "You know, I learned a lot. As she got older, we knew it was wrong to call her Old Buzzard. We wanted her to know we loved her, so we stopped calling her that." Oh GOOOOD, I thought, and said so, too. I was thinking that she finally got to hear herself called 'Mother' or 'Mom',at last, the Dear Heart. "Yeah", he agreed, and continued softly, "We loved her, so we just started calling her "Buzz"... (the POOR Lady!) She probably went to her grave wishing her kids were back in their terrible two's.
I dearly miss my Mom, especially this time of year. She was always rushing around with some holiday cooking project at hand. The woman seemed inexhaustable. I couldn't keep up with her! No matter that I was an adult, I was still her kid, so I think my dawdling exasperated her. Mom has essentially passed the baton on to Cappy, who now has to put up with my puttering. As mentioned in an earlier blog, I'm working on our Christmas card. I want it to be just right, but am, perhaps, too picky with it. Well, he's coming home Thursday. Whenever somebody rushes me, I kinda panic, and that's when mistakes happen. I just don't want him to come home and find that he has to repaint the walls in here again. I guess it's just like this blog posting, which you are presently reading; I was only going to write a little something, but the thoughts just went everywhere, hither and yon...I had trouble staying inside the lines again. Some things just never change, I guess.