Monday, September 22, 2014

I was just thinking about you.

That was mom's greeting when I called Sunday afternoon. She explained she didn't want to forget a couple of things she wanted to tell me. She was bursting with excitement and obviously glad for my call.

First of all, she wanted to share her crazy day and the the mystery of the cartons of milk, left at her door. Over the past few days, someone was putting small cartons of leftover milk by her door. Mom had no idea who was doing it or why. She wasn't sure if they were sharing their milk with mom or if the milk was intended for Marley, mom's dog.

Right off, the problem is mom can't drink whole milk. She can drink skim milk, but not in large amounts, due to digestion problems.

And she never gives milk to her dog. She can't remember why, but knows there is a good reason. I reminded her of the time we had boxer dogs. They ran loose on the farm. After the cows were milked, dad would fill dishes with milk for the barn cats. But the boxers, kept watch and would beat the cats to the milk. He finally put the dishes for the cats in a place the dogs couldn't reach. During that time, we realized why it isn't good to give milk to a dog. After they drink milk, for the rest of the day, the have very stinky farts. Mom got a laugh over that and said she knew there was a good reason. "I wouldn't want to make my dog sick or have something like that happen."

She thought about taking the cartons down to the community room for someone else to use. But she was afraid the person who was leaving the cartons at her door, might feel bad if they found out she gave it away. So, she dumped them down the sink and into the trash. It bothered her to do so because she hates to waste anything.

So back to her dilemma. When she opened her door on Sunday morning there were six cartons lined up. Determined to find out who was leaving them, she asked a neighbor down the hall, if she left them. She hadn't but was pretty sure it was the woman who lives across the hall from mom. So on went mom to the other neighbor's door. The woman admitted she left them, thinking mom needed the shared milk. Mom thanked her profusely for being kind, but explained she can't use it and won't feed milk to her dog. She asked her to please not leave anymore cartons of milk. Mom said her neighbor was nice and understood that mom appreciated what she did, even though ...

Mom explained this woman is a very kind-hearted soul. She has money, owns property and has a nice little car she uses to drive some of the residents around. Mom isn't sure why her neighbor thought she needed leftover milk. "I'm thin, but not skinny," mom said. "My family is like that. None of use were ever overweight. I guess it is from all of the walking and we ate good food."

That was mom's funny story she was eagerly waiting to share with me. We both laughed. I suggested she tell her neighbor to leave money instead. "Yeah, that would be nice, but no I would never do anything like that. I have money."

I was amazed at how much she remembered about this event and she is so happy to be able to recount the whole story to me, as well as comprehend what was happening. I think a few weeks ago, she would be in a daze over what was going on and wouldn't have figured out how to handle the problem.

Remember Morey, mom's friend's boyfriend who lived on the corner of our street? Morey the guy that eats funny? Well, he just bought her friend a new car. Mom pondered whether she should rethink the idea of having a boyfriend, but decided it wouldn't be worth a car.

On the same subject as Morey, my daughter Maia and my brother Len recall Morey attending fairs and local events selling cotton candy he made in his pushcart machine. His son (none of us can remember his name) would eat fire, according to Maia. Len said he remembers him as being very spoiled and wearing Poindexter glasses. I thought his nickname was Buzzy, but now I am pretty sure that was another Weatherby kid's nickname that Maia and Len are too young to know.

Mom couldn't remember Morey's son's name, but said he probably did contribute to the family carnival atmosphere as Morey's father was a great magician, famous even, but I presume she's talking locally.

Another thing mom wanted to talk about was more of what she remembered after our talk last week of her picking up that groceries for her parents and bringing them home. She wanted to clarify that she and either one of her sisters or her brother would walk to the store, sign for and get the groceries, bring the filled sacks back to school and take them home at the end of the day, on the the school bus.

She wanted to add how one time when she and her brother Arnold went to pick up the groceries, they got into a fight, while carrying the bags back to school. They ended up dropping a big jar of peanut butter and it broke on the ground. They picked up the broken glass and found a ditch to throw the mess into. She was sure they would be in a lot of trouble when they got home. She doesn't remember exactly how it went, but she says there was still a lot of peanut butter left in the opened jar in the pantry at home and her parents didn't miss the one they broke.

Whew, she got away with that mishap, but got into trouble another time. She would have to sign to charge the groceries and her parents would pay by the month. One time, she included two candy bars for herself. Her parents found out and she was in hot water.

Mom said she and her sisters often mixed errands for her parents with school. They would walk to to their parents' employers' offices and pick up their paychecks.That was how they helped out as their parents didn't have a car and were always busy working during the day.

Mom went back to talking about her family and how none of them were overweight. She attributes it to all of the walking they did and eating good food. We didn't mention the fact that her father had heart disease and died of a heart attack. Her mom was a diabetic. We've discussed a bit about her brothers and sisters in earlier posts.

In my last post we talked about another neighbor, Marie Miller. Maia admits to doing a great Marie impression. After Marie's husband Carl died, Marie depended on mom to take her shopping, to the bank or doctor. When Maia was living there Marie would call and holler into the phone, "Where's Hazel?" Grandma was always nice to Marie and taking wherever she needed to go, says Maia.

I told mom about my conversations with Len and Maia. About how she did stuff for other people and how dad was so patient with some very annoying men who loved to come by and visit with our dad. Lots of people who didn't seem to get attention from anyone else.

Mom said you do for others, it is a part of a Christian's duty. That's what she says kept her and dad going in the right direction. Maybe so.

Mom is looking out her window and says right now it is all bright green fields. She says she takes a bag outside when she walks and picks up the fallen leaves to keep the ground neat and clean looking. She's worried about winter, ice that is slippery as glass. She worries about falling.

Mom says, "They can only control so much. There are so many crimes they can't keep up with them." I decided not to ask what she meant by that and she changed the subject.

She said Marley was cleaning her feet, maybe getting ready for a walk or thinking about the icy sidewalks, too. Marley was lying down in Mom's favorite chair as mom sat in another chair by the window. She says she watches the athletic fields when the kids play. She watches cars come and go from the parking lot below. She even watches when the big truck comes to empty the Dumpster. She says that happens once a month. "People think I am strange, but those are the things I do." I replied, maybe it is just her way of marking time. She laughs and agrees I am probably right.

Marley barks and there is a knock at mom's door. It is the neighbor who left the milk cartons. She brought mom a dish of macaroni salad that she made and wanted to share with mom. Boy oh boy, that really made mom's day. This was around 5 p.m. Mom had told me she had a one-inch thick slice of ham for lunch. She couldn't eat the whole piece, so she planned to finish it off for dinner. Now she had this wonderful dish of macaroni salad that had olives in it. What a perfect pairing.

I said I should let her go to eat. Are you excited, I asked. She replied. "Well not excited, but I am hungry."

We made plans to talk again in a few days. "So it's Antsy Nancy. I love that name. I am so proud of you and I tell my friends about your calls. They think it is great. Please keep calling me," she said. I responded that I think it is great, too. And I look forward to our visits and sharing memories with her.

"Goodbye, I love you, mom."

"Bye-bye, I love you dear, so much."

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