Commentary: Weather's no match for Mama
By William Carter, Columnist
“Hey, Mama. Y’all alright?”
Normally, I call only once a week so Mama can fill me in on all things Family and then tell me which of the really old people who were already really old when I was a kid had died in the past seven days. She always gets mad, too, when I pretend not to remember them.
“You DO TOO remember Miss Ilene!!! She’s the one who slipped on banana puddin’ at the Lion’s Club Halloween Bar-b-que and broke her leg! Her sister took that picture of Elvis shop-liftin’ double-A batteries at the Piggly-Wiggly two days after he was supposed to have died! She’s the one who called me that time she caught you and your Cousin Steve peein’ on that cat during Vacation Bible School! You DO TOO remember Miss Ilene!!!”
Mama also always wants to know if I’d been to church since the last time we talked and then she’ll sigh that Mama-sigh when I, again, tell her “no”.
“Well”, she says in a quiet, oh-where-did-I-go-wrong voice, “I guess I’ll just have to put you on the prayer list at church. I’ll call your sisters and tell them to put you on the prayer lists at their churches, too.”
The way I figure it, I’ve got at least four-thousand south Georgia Baptists and Methodists praying for me on any given Sunday.
I’m calling again, though, for the second time in only two days because WEATHER is heading her way and I’m worried she might not be ready for it.
“Oh, we’re fine…we’re fine”, she assures me. “I had Earl fill up three 5-gallon buckets full of water in case the pipes freeze – at least I’ll be able to flush the Johnny - and we went to the grocery store and got some cheese and some donuts, and I’ve got my pocket-book right here with me…so we’ll be all right”.
Mama’s “pocket-book” is big enough to hold an almost-grown baby pig and is never further than an arm’s length away from her. I don’t know what all’s in there, but Mama says that’s where she keeps all of her “papers” and her makeup and three or four Harlequin romance novels, as well as ointments and unguents and other medications.
I’m pretty sure there’s a can of Crisco in there, too, in case an emergency frying situation arises, and a bag or two of those maple-covered candies only elderly ladies seem to like. There is also speculation - within the family - that when the Pearly Gates finally open to allow her entrance to her well-deserved reward if only she leaves her pocket-book behind, Mama…well…Mama just might hesitate.
“Is it cold?” I ask, looking out the kitchen window at the hard frozen back-yard as the wind blows in the promise of single-digit temperatures…again.
“Ooh! I Swanee! I think it’s already dropped to thirty-something degrees out there! Let me ask Earl.”
She holds the phone away from her face as she calls to my brother.
“EARL?!? EARL?!? HOW COLD IS IT OUT THERE? I SAID…HOW COLD IS IT OUT THERE?!?”
“Earl says he thinks its thirty-six degrees out there!” she reports, breathlessly. “He says he thinks he saw a piece of sleet, too! I Swanee! I hope we don’t freeze to death!”
“Y’all sure y’all got plenty of food, now?” I ask.
“I think so,” she says. “We might have to go back to Piggly-Wiggly before it gets too bad, but I think we’ll be alright. I’m fixin’ a pot of potato soup and some fried cornbread, too. We’re fine.”
“That’s good”, I tell her. “I’d hate for y’all to starve. If y’all start thinking about cannibalism, though, give me a call and I’ll try to talk y’all out of it.”
“Boy! I WILL come up to Tennessee and snatch a knot in your behind if you try to get smart with me! Don’t think I won’t! Are you trying to get smart with me?!?”
“No, ma’am” I reply, trying not to laugh.
“I hear you tryin’ not to laugh! You are goin’ straight to Hell if you keep talkin’ to me like that! I’m your Mama!”
“I know…I’m sorry, Mama”.
“Well, alright then”, she says, slightly mollified. “You give those grand-babies some sugar from me the next time you see ‘em. I’ll put you on my prayer list.”
I pity the weather that tries to put her down.
William Carter is a longtime Franklin city employee and published author. He may be contacted at
Posted on: 2/13/2014