Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bathing Suit and the Preacher

Mother was ..... apparently, I have no idea who or what she really was. Regal, proper, willful, stubborn, exacting, with moments of pure insanity, Southern lady about covers the description. At the University of Alabama, her intentions of being a concert pianist ended with the sudden death of her father; then settled on Primary Education. She met and married daddy in 1938 .... these are the facts.

Funny how you can live everyday for 18/19 years with these people and, actually, not know them except for little snippets of a glance. There was this one time when our pious minister dropped in, unexpectedly, for a visit.

She loved to dig in the garden!!! That hot summer afternoon, to improve her tan while planting daylilies on a bare bank below the newly built house, she was wearing a 2 piece bathing suit..... very risque for the early 50's. Apparently, she had heard his car arrive cause she was clawing her way up the bank, like a cat, on her stomach. Looking up, she spied me in the windows on the way to answer the insistent knocking at the door. With desperation on her sweaty, dirt streaked face, lip reading and arm waving were emphatic ... "Don't let him in!!" Irrepressible laughter bubbled up, bursting out at that sight. It still brings a smile. My prim and proper mother was a total mess and her dignity had definitely slipped. Oh, my word, how was she going to avoid being caught. More determined knocking .... he was a tall, severe man with no sense of humor and not to be admitted! The last sight of mother, she was slipping around the corner of the house.

Opening the front door gave full view of the stairway and hall, mother's only route to her bedroom. I could hear her in the downstairs bathroom washing up, but .... trapped. "Hello Mr. Kennedy, please come in!" Well, he had to move out of the door and that hall. Ushering him into the living room, he stood at the windows commenting on all the gardening opportunities. We stood nodding our heads in agreement with the vision of mother's recent mad scramble up that bank. "Yes, sir, we have a lot of grass to cut." Really don't believe he heard her bare foot fall on the stairs or the click of the bedroom door. Excusing myself,"I'll just find mother .... be right back." Never knew anyone could get dressed that quickly and actually appear cool and calm. She swirled into the room like Loretta Young making an entrance on screen [a very elegant actress of earlier times].

When the insanity was over and Mr. Kennedy had departed, she looked around erupting into laughter and trying to talk at the same time. "I .... thought.... I .... was having .... a heart attack!!!!" "You let him .... in the house." "Are you .... crazy?" With tears streaming down our faces we had daddy near convulsions at dinner as we retold the events of that summer afternoon.

Recently, heard many moments and times shared with her friends that opened a door into a life unknown to me. Could sink a putt from anywhere. Was great to have as a Bridge partner as she generally won. As a couple, they were the life of the party. Isn't that ashame to have missed seeing that part of our parents .... maybe you didn't.

"I Remember Mama" was a t.v. show of the 70's or so and has been strolling through my thoughts the past few days. She slipped away peacefully last month 6 days shy of 98. You see, for the last 21 years, she has been .... figuratively .... patting her foot, sitting on go, just waiting to join daddy. She's gotten her wish and they're probably off together playing golf, again.

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