Monday, June 21, 2010

Tribute to My Parents - Part Four - Mom the Great Audience

Mom, the Great Audience

Today's post is the fourth in a four part tribute. To read the Tribute in its entirety, go to

After dinner, the girls would spend time together in the kitchen. Dad was not expected to do kitchen work at that time. Mom could have escaped with him, and left the clean up to Debby and me. But she didn’t.

Mom stayed with us, in the kitchen, listening to our songs, laughing at our jokes, being a great audience. These endless hours were another way of telling us “I care what you think. I’m interested in the things that interest you.”

Frequently, our stories recounted funny things that had happened in our family:
  • The time that dad couldn’t ask for directions to the Botanical Gardens in Arizona because his Roanoke lips couldn’t say “Botanical.”
  • Our brother Eddie’s first joke about farts that went “Batman offered to Flatman and said ‘Pew.’”
  • Eddie’s emotional trip to the Hallmark store during one of dad’s many business trip seasons when his little heart cried for the “sad bug.”
  • Our own inability to stop giggling during a serious family dinner, especially if that dinner was preceded by an extended blessing prayer. We frequently had to eat dinner with our napkins covering our faces, so that we didn’t catch eyes again and burst into renewed laughter.
  • The grinch-like comments of an overnight baby-sitting shrew, “You girls still wear bibs?”

Mom was our co-conspirator, our confidant, our encourager, our audience. She taught us songs like “She has freckles on her BUTT she is pretty” and helped us pen the famous “Tongue is on the Floor” ballad which we wrote during an especially lengthy car ride to Watoga State Park in West Virginia.

The song lyrics go something like this:
Drivin’ down the highway
Doin’ 94
I looked at my mother,
She was hanging out the door.
I said “Oh, mother dear
Why don’t you come back here?”
She said “I cannot daughter
‘Cause my tongue is on the floor.”

Oh, her tongue is on the floor
Her tongue is on the floor
She cannot come back here because
Her tongue is on the floor

Well, maybe you had to have been there. It was really funny.

Mom’s life spoke many important messages. Messages that life is to be enjoyed, family times are good times, loving means sharing, laughing together makes us strong. These were lessons that shape my view of life.

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