Monday, December 01, 2008


I always wondered where my sister and I got our big raucous laugh. I always thought it might be Dad, but after thinking about Mom this weekend I have decided she and my Aunt Laura would be the origin. I recall a trip to East Texas when I was 10 years old:

We went to Toledo Bend Lake, to see some family property. There was my Dad, Aunt Laura (mom's sister), and Mom. As we left the small town of Alto, where Mom and Aunt Laura had grown up, we passed over a creek, Boxes Creek it was called, and this creek was running red from recent rains that ran-off from the deep red clay of the region.
Mom said:
“Laura, do you remember how the whole family would come down here to the Boxes, on Saturdays, and the boys would get on one side of the bridge and the girls on the other, and we would take our Saturday baths?”
I was horrified.
I said:
“No Momma, tell me you DID NOT do that!”
And she and Aunt Laura just laughed!

When we got close by the newly formed lake, in the Big Thicket they call the Sabine National Forest, we stopped by a cemetery in the little town of Isla. Only there is not a little town of Isla, there is only the Cemetery and a three story, dilapidated weather-beaten building.
To the eyes of a ten year old, this building looked to be at least 200 years old.
It did not just lean, but the added feature of a twist where the faces and corners were all askew. There was not a glass pane or door left, there was no roof, and what had kept it from falling entirely no one could tell.
It was the ricketiest three story shack there ever could be.
I wouldn’t have stood within 20 feet of it on a bet. There had to be a million or so snakes that were taking residence in there, and just about the time that thought gave me a shiver, the worlds biggest Possum walked out on what may have been a front porch in the last century and gave a big yawn.
It was about then that Mom proudly announced to me:
“Stevie, this is where I was born and went to school!”
I gulped hard and said
"No, Momma, please momma, tell me you did not!”
And she and Laura just laughed!

Next, we walked into the woods of the old Mason home. heading for the lake.
We came to a creek that we needed to forge. Dad found a big tree, blown over in a storm that we could walk across. Dad crossed the stream on the log, then Aunt  Laura started to cross. It was then that I noticed just how far down it was to the creek, and how skinny the log was.
I said:
“Momma, you can’t go across this, we’ll have to find another way for you to cross.”
Then I saw that Aunt Laura was only halfway across and it was my turn and I hollered to Laura
“Hurry up Laura... its my turn to cross”
Then turning back to Momma:
“No momma, you can’t cross here! Laura, Hurry up!”
And she and Laura just laughed!

Some fifteen years later, the Cancer was eating away at Momma. My soon to be wife, Yvette, and I would sit on the couch with Momma in her easy chair. Yvette would give me a punch to the ribs and I’d giggle. Then she would poke me in the tummy, and I'd laugh a little harder, Before you knew it, she would be tickling me in the ribs in the belly, under my arms and I would be kicking and flailing trying to get loose from her.
She had me in a tickle-grip and I would be too weak from laughter to escape. The more I laughed, the weaker I got.
It was like laughin' quicksand.
The tears would be streaming down my face and I would turn over onto my belly with my weak little elbows tucked in, to try to get away.
Then she would start in on the bottoms of my feet and I would be howling!
"No, Yvette, No, Pleeeaaase Noooo!"
I could barely even breathe!
Through my streaming tears of laughter I would look over to Momma. She would be holding her sides, bent over with laugh-tears running down her face.
She would be laughing louder and harder than I.

Momma died at home, December 1st , 1986.


GEWELS said...

What a nice memory on such a sad anniversary.
I'm sure you still miss her terribly.

MikeTheWaiterDotCom said...

my dad died nov. 7, 1997. I cried for over a year. like you and momma, i can now look back fondly. the price we pay as survivors is the seemingly endless and unmanagable sadness and duress. Glad you made it through. selfishly, i enjoy your posts! As regards laughter... I immediately thought of my wife and her two sisters.... get them laughing... and all three of them SNORT... It's hillarious.
one day at a time, brother, mtw

GrizzBabe said...

Wonderful story. Rest in peace, momma.

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

A beautiful reminiscence. I can just picture her, you're descriptions expressed so vividly!