Friday, August 24, 2012

what a good woman won't' do…not much.

"You're gonna do what Mama?" I asked, face squinched.
"Well, honey, it's not often I get to do something for Chris that he really needs or wants.  I'll make a party out of it."
So there we were this morning at 3.00, Mama clanging pans, cooking meat and whipping biscuits.  By 4.00 the kitchen was fairly bustling. We had coffee brewing, all the lamps on and Daddy frying thick bacon slabs.  We were slicing and buttering biscuits and Mama was slapping flour on Daddy's face. When Chris got there at 4.30 or 5.00 he took the sacrificial biscuit and tried it for us, then had two or three more because Mama scrambled eggs and made gravy and there was this season's jam of course, and a strong brew of coffee.
At Delta, there's a policy that if you're late, you bring breakfast one day for the guys on your crew.  Chris has taken lots of breakfasts, but this one was going to put all the rest to shame.  He's day shift, which means getting up at 3.30 am… and for Chris that's not easy, but he was here sharp and bright eyed, poking us and squeezing, kissing Mama, peering at the pots and exclaiming,
"Boy! Smells Good! Think I could smell it from the driveway. Law, law!!!"
"You called Sam, Chris? I want him to get one. You tell him I'm thinking especially of him while I'm making all this." Mama has made food for the guys before, delivered some of their babies, helped out with some life problems they've taken to her, prayed for them, etc. etc.
"Yes'm. I was telling the guys the other day about this and Roger - well, you gotta know Roger. You just can't argue with him, but - "
"He the Japanese guy that gave Dawn the necklace?" Anne shuffled past, fresh from bed, straight to the coffee pot, arm outstretched limply.
"Yeah. He's the one. Well, I told him about Mama making the biscuits and - "
"Honey, stir that right there - Melody, you have those eggs beaten?…Oh! don't open the oven, biscuits rising, Chris, grab that handle."
"Whad'ya say he said, Chris?" Daddy, with black coffee, feet crossed under the table.
"Well, he's all about healthy foods and he sees me eatin' healthy all the time so he starts sayin' 'Ahh…I bet she'll make those whole wheat biscuits….turn out flat!' So I didn't argue with him. Ya just can't."
"That why the number went from 21 to 20?" asked Mama. 
"Reckon so."
"Poor Roger," I say.  "Will Lance be there?"
"Yep, he'll be there."
"I wonder if he'll be wearing Auburn colors." And I laughed to myself because the first time I saw Lance was outside Chris' window, and all I remember was thinking "My…now that's one dedicated Auburn fan." He wore Auburn everything, down to flip flops and tricked Dawn into blindly saying that innocent little line to her soccer coach {an equally dedicated Alabama fan}  'WAR EAGLE'.  He told her just which way to say it, of course.  The intonation, and stress of words. So next time she saw her coach - whom she revered something heavy - she obediently blurted out, "WAR EAGLE, Coach!!!"  Dawn has never forgotten Lance. Nor forgiven him and she is now an unbendable Alabama fan.
 By six we were rolling the ice chest full of biscuits down the walkway to Chris' car, loading it with meats and jellies and notes for him to remember certain things throughout the day, plates, spoons and bags, and then it was Chris rolling out the driveway, in the dark, us waving and dew falling so thick it was almost rain. But it wasn't. We could see the stars bright and clear.

 mischievous mama.

handsome feller.

My eyes were blurry and squinted and I hadn't coordinated my walk yet. It was still the morning shuffle, but I went in the living room at 8.40 after sleeping again and saw Mama chatting with Daddy, Daddy with his boots on and coffee in his hand, hair combed.
  "Mom…you didn't go back to bed?"
"Well, hun," she said airily, "I tried, but every time I did the phone rang or I got a text or something. You'll have to see the text though," and she pulled out her phone.  It was from Chris and said,
"A smashing success," with a photo of empty containers, pots and jars.  Mama wrote back,
"Does it mean all gone?"
"Yep. And all the guys say to thank you."
Mama turned to us and said, "I just thought you'd like to see the fruit of your labors."
"Nothing," Mel and I replied.  She laughed.
"Yes, Nothing!  You've got empty containers and that's it.  Hate to say all that work was in vain, but there you go!"
"Isn't that the perpetual reward of women's labors?  Empty pots?" as I observed that continuous cycle.  "But reckon that's a good thing."

Full bellies make happy men and both are essential to life, as we know full well.


  1. sweet thoughts in my mind as I read and remembered...thanks for the empty pots---make for full memories. don't know how to do this, so i'll just be anon, but really i'm sis.kathy.

  2. i love this post. y'all are a beautiful family.

  3. Can any family get more special? I don't think so! You guys are precious ;D

  4. thanks, sister kathy! glad you dropped by. and anners, your blog is adorable :)

  5. Wonderful story, Gabe, and well written. And the flat. out. truth. And now your Momma delivers a baby. I hope to be just like her when I grow up.

    1. yep. she got the call at 8.45 and was just hoping she'd have time to get a shower and a nap, so she told us to chop up the stuff for chicken salad, but hollered out the door for us to 'make sure and leave a bowl out for sister Donna WITHOUT pecans.' so. you have your bowl, mother a.

  6. You do a great job of capturing the whirlwind of love that fills the Submarine. The memories of having experienced such scenes oneself make the picture even sweeter.


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