Friday, April 2, 2010


There were many things that I learned to appreciate from my mom. She was generous with herself; a hard worker; dedicated to her family; adventurous; and loyal to her friends. I not only admired these qualities, but I tried to make them my own. On the other hand there were a few areas of my mom that I never could quite grasp.

My mom was always very conservative when it came to spending money, as most of the people who survived the Great Depression are. With that in mind, or maybe because of that period of never having enough there were quirky things my mom did. She always washed and reused plastic bags, both the Ziploc and grocery kinds. Below her kitchen sink was an assortment of cleaned glass jars that she might "need" someday. She never met a store-package container that she couldn't reuse for some other purpose. Nothing was wasted with her when it came to food, clothing, or containers. This was just the way she was; waste not, want not.

Understanding how frugal she was might lead to a surprise if you saw her around Bingo Halls or Casinos. I went to play Bingo with her one time and found the whole experience confusing, frustrating and too challenging to keep up with all the scattered numbers. Finally, I slide her over my cards to finish the rest of the games and sat back to watch her in her element. It was amazing that at the close of the games she didn't even care that she hadn't won, she'd had a great time. She loved the challenge of keeping up with the caller and the cards in front of her. That woman's face would light up and a new energy enveloped her being.

We were taking a long road trip one time and her energy was waning, until we stopped at a casino to take a break. Before I could exit the car and help my "feeble" mom out of the backseat, she was nearly at the casino door. My husband and I could barely keep up with her. Putting the quarters in and pulling the handle melted the worries and age right off her. This was when I realized the simple joy my mom found in those one-armed bandits.

Right now, I am smiling remembering how I would pull up before dawn to her apartment and she would be waiting dressed in her "lucky" shirt with pockets to hold her playing money, fanny pack, sun hat, and a cooler packed with our traveling food. When you traveled with my mom, you were packed and prepared for anything and everything. Cold sodas, water (in those saved glass bottles), pretzels, sandwiches, homemade cookies, and other travel comfort foods were loaded and dispensed at whatever time we wanted them.

My mom and I took many trips to the casinos, so that she could stay up all night, play the slots, grab a couple hours of sleep, and give it another try on her "lucky machine" the next day.

During our trips home, she would entertain me with details of how close she had come to the big jackpot, how the person next to her had done, or on a rare occasion how she would spend her winnings once we got home. My huge jackpot was being able to spend time with her away from the everyday tedious duties and troubles.

Another thing that my mom loved, but sadly I didn't ever acquire a taste for was a seasonal treat. PEEPS intrigued me and my mom said she loved their texture, taste and colors. Every year I would try them and be disappointed. The gritty texture and overly sweetness were not to my liking. Peeps would remain an area that my mom and I had could never come to agreement. She loved them and could devour an entire pack in one sitting, while I would hand her over the ones in my Easter basket. She didn't seem to mind, at all.

I have come to the realization that I could adore my mom forever, while at the same time not adore all that made her smile. As long as I live, I won't be able to see a bingo card, slot machine or a simple PEEPS treat without thinking of my mom. Nice, sweet memories of a great lady.


  1. Thanks once again for sharing such sweet memories, my friend, and for stirring up some of my own.

    The last summer mother spent (although at the time, nobody knew it would be her last) we decided we four (she, I , dad, and her mother) would take a day trip and go bay hopping around these parts. We traveled where the shoreline took us - Rockport, Port O'Connor, Seadrift, Magnolia and Indianola beaches, Port Lavaca. We picked a couple nice pieces of driftwood off Magnolia Beach, and like you, took a lunch in the cooler to enjoy along the way. It was so pleasant, and I still have the driftwood as a memory.

    The peeps brought back another bittersweet memory. I, too, love the insipid little things, although I guess for sentimental reasons. Have since childhood, really. The group of gals I worked with at Conroe were one in a million, and we spent a lot of time together, both at work, and off. We were discussing Easter one day, and I mentioned I liked Peeps, and not one of the girls I was with cared for them. One even said "YUK! Those things are just pure sugar! NOBODY likes Peeps!" Well, I do, I replied, going against the wind for the millionth time in my life.

    Well, long story even longer, when I was ready to move down here, it was right around Easter time, and they gave me a fine going-away party. Guess what everybody bought me? You got it. I got Peeps chicks and bunnies in every imaginable color. I had enough Peeps to last for months. Good thing they're so pumped up with preservatives so they lasted.

    Every time I eat a Peep, I think of my gals. How I miss them. That was six years ago, and to the day, I now have a new position at the little hospital I walked into six years ago, just days after saying goodbye to a crew I knew I would never see the likes of again. But it is funny how life brings us full circle, and now, I am once again saying goodbye to another hospital and hello again to a new, old one. Life is sweet.

  2. Hey, Sugar, while researching PEEPS (for a picture) I found that there are actually stores with just PEEP products. You would surely be on over load, wouldn't you.

    I think that you would have loved my mom as I would have fallen for yours. She and I could enjoy our mutual love for all that is artsy-fartsy, couldn't we?

    Have a Blessed Easter and I celebrate you as a good friend. Thank you for including me in your life.

    Your new job/peers are so fortunate to have you in charge. Your intelligence and "whimsy ways" (that's a compliment and the best word I could think of to describe your depth and sense of humor) will win over everyone, I am sure.

  3. Oh Ferret, now I'm *blushing*

    Thank you so much, my friend, for enriching my life as you and yours have, for I have enjoyed every minute of it. I wish you and your family a joyous, blessed Easter as well.

    I do have the feeling you and my mom would have been fast friends. You are as sweet and every bit as groovy as she was. :)