Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Mae Chronicles

I have decided to begin a short series on my mother and her antics. I will preface this with a little history on her.

This is my mother around the time she was first married. She was just a teen still and in some ways I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that she was so young. She married my father at fifteen, had her first baby shortly after turning sixteen thus beginning a large family of seven children. The first five of us were born in a seven year period so as you can imagine she was a young and very overwhelmed mother.

She was raised in a pretty rough household. My grandfather was an alcoholic and a mean drunk.  I only know the small stories she told me of how bad the situation was with her father and his alcoholism but I know enough to know that it was a bad situation indeed.

Because of her upbringing my mom had a hard time with humor, teasing and such. But my father was a joker and a teaser and so she often became the object of his mirth and later ours. During the many episodes my mother endured she never found them to be funny. 

But we did.

This will not be in chronological order.  This first memory I write of just happened to pop in my mind because of an old car I saw this morning with hay hanging out of the trunk.  So on to reaching back in those dusty rooms full of memories.

A few years after we moved from my home town of Baker City my mom decided to pay us a visit, one of very few. She really prefers not to drive in a large area.  My mother needs a wide berth in the road. Most people know this where I come from. After all, she used our gold station wagon as a cow catcher one night when my sister was a baby. You know, that device attached to the front of a train in order to clear obstacles off the track. But that is another story.

At the time, my mom raised mini schnauzers. She had a batch of puppies ready to sell and decided she would bring them here for a week.  Her idea was that they might sell quickly in a more populated area. Because she had only been to our home once she did not remember the way once in the city. So the plan was that I would drive to the mall near the first exit to Springfield and meet her allowing her to follow me home. Since she didn't know what time she would be here I was to wait until she called me from a pay phone. After a full day of waiting she still had not called. I was worried as it became later because I wanted her to be here before dark. 

Finally I get the call and no she is not at the mall but at a Safeway store mid point between where she was supposed to be and our home. After finding out where she was I went to meet her. Upon arriving I need not look too far before spotting her car. A huge pinkish tan Cadillac that my father had bought used before he passed away. It wasn't the car in itself that stuck out but the fact that there were weeds, and I mean long weeds, sticking out from under the sides and the front of her car.  She was standing outside leaning up against the car smoking a cigarette looking more than shook up. After looking inside the car I see a couple of dog carriers in the back seat, a blanket wadded up on the front seat and papers strewn everywhere. All dogs are in the carriers but I soon learned that this was not the case a few minutes ago.

During the long eight hour drive she felt bad for the dogs so she let them out of the carriers and they were laying on the blanket. She is usually distracted by something while driving like lighting up a cigarette, reading her mail, drinking a cup of coffee, etc.  In this case she came up too fast behind a car on the freeway. In order to avoid hitting this car she slams on her brakes and they lock up causing her to spin around and go off in the median where the tall weeds were. The car came to a stop (luckily not hurting her or anyone else) but facing the wrong direction.  She told me that after she calmed down a bit she gathered up the dogs, put them back in the carriers, drove up out of the median and back on to the freeway. 

After making sure she was OK and the puppies were well, I burst out laughing. The picture in my head was of this spinning car with a bunch of puppies, carriers and miscellaneous papers and crap whirling around like the inside of a washing machine. Oh and in my minds eye and ear I could hear her spewing a few choice words and screaming Whoa! You S.O.B., Whoa!  After all, that is how she commanded her horses to stop. Why not the car?

Here is my mom now and I tell you she has luckily found some humor in things from her past now. This look on her face is the same look that day as she told me, "Stop laughing, you silly ass".


Twisted Fencepost said...

That is "SOOO" funny!
As you told the story I am seeing the car spinning and a tornado type thing flying around inside the car and your Mother's face as she held onto the wheel, wide-eyed!
Can't wait to hear more!

Kelli said...

Hahaha! I have not heard this story! Oh, you gotta love grandma, she never fails to amuse!

Shauna said...

HILARIOUS!! You are a great writer, and you have lovely family members to give you great stories to share. :) Still laughing. I picture those pups with stars and swirls over their heads like in the cartoons.

Jill said...

I remember that visit! I can't stop laughing at the phrase "Stop laughing, you silly ass!" That has got to be one of my all time favorite Grandma Mae-phrases. Silly ass. Or silly sh*@, pardon my french! :)

The W.O.W. factor said...

Oh Egghead! I can't help but laugh!! Total vision of the cadillac covered in weeds!
My! Your Mom doesn't look at all like Daisy May (Beverly Hillbillies) as I my imagination took me there while reading this!!
Thank goodness!
I'm still laughing!

Putz said...

stop laughing you silly ass....weeds....doogs...locked mom smoked her whole life...road a motorcycle.....cursed....died at 59 of lung cancer...once put a purse on a pue in church and when some silly ass moved it, she never set foot in the chuch fired from jobs....din't fit in

Carolynn said...

Your Mom looks like she could handle a few turns in the road.

Kristi said...

Thank you for the story. I can't wait to hear more! I'm facinated with the tenacity and toughness of prior generations. Five kids at twenty two? Wow, wow, wow, That generation leaves us with no excuses. My mother in law married at 15 also and had her first child right after she turned 16. She took perfect care of all of them!

Couldn't you just imagine the outrage if you condoned your child doing this now days. You'd be branded as a crazy, but their generations seemed much better adjusted than ours.

Susan said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story about your Mother. Hilarious! And she's so young looking. (Great website)


Country Girl said...

Ha!! Stop laughing, you silly ass!

As if you're really the silly ass. Good story, Vonda!!

Ilene said...

This is a wonderful story, and in some ways it reminds me of my Mom, still going strong at almost 87.

TSannie said...

That made me laugh - with a great deal of respect to your mom - but it did make me laugh. Thank you!

mrsnesbitt said...

What a wonderful story! I would like to think my sense of humour came from my late mum. She had a rough start yet when she spoke about it she would have us all laughing! A great woman!

tipper said...

I loved this memory-and can't wait to read more about your amazing Mom!! In my family I'm the one missing the sense of humor-so I'm often at the end of much amusement too.

noble pig said...

Oh that was hilarious, I love her now.

Jeannelle said...

Oh, egghead....what a great story, and well-told! Wow....that marriage at such a young age, and that it lasted and produced many children.....double wow! Very special mom you have there!

DesertHen said...

What a great story!! I can just picture the whole entire funny!! Your mom looks like a spunky gal...=)

Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more of the Mae Chronicles.