Little Old Lady in the Thrift Shop

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I figured out who I am likely to be as an old lady today. 

I feel at home here in this Episcopal thrift shop, wandering around and, in my current tiny house headset, denying myself, but still finding some possible pants I could let the waist out of.

And a lamp.

I sit down at a table to wait for my daughter, who is still fingering the merchandise and has a stack of clothes on her arm, and begin to write on my phone:

Little Old Lady in the Thrift Shop

What are you so busy with? Someone asks.

Well I’m a writer 

Oh yeah …?

Do you know where the vacuum cleaners are? she asks.

This will be my shopping routine, unlike the tony stores I took my own mother to every week for the last decade of her life.

I acknowledge the thrill of browsing, maybe purchasing; the real power of retail therapy, even with only pennies in my pocket, and a need for nothing much.

Mama taught it to me.

Find out more by reading my book: Shopping with Mama: Write ’Til the End, out mid- December 2018. Pre-orders soon. And, if you would, please help me get Mama’s story out to the world, by going to the FB page of the same name, liking and sharing to help me spread the word. It helps! Thanks!  

 https://www.facebook.com/shoppingwithmama/

Dirty Jokes and Cuss Words

Mama’s sense of humor was her saving grace.

“Get that guy over here,” Mama would command every time she was in a slump. “I need some jokes. Now, Marion!” (She was referring to my teacher friend who could tell dirty jokes at the drop of a hat, and once or twice I did bring him over just to cheer her up.)

“Man plans and God laughs” was written on a scrap of paper she had magneted to her refrigerator for as long as I could remember.

When I was 5 years old, the punchline of a joke she told that I can’t remember now, was “shit, shower and shave,” so you know she didn’t hold her tongue around children. We grew up laughing. (Crying, too…. In short, we grew up emotionally open.)

Though she warned us about context, and when to and not to, especially if God’s name was invoked, she could let out a cuss word with class.

My father also occasionally said ‘Damn’ and ‘Hell,” but he eschewed “shit” as a sissy word. Women said it; not men, he explained. He tried all his life to get us to to substitute “odsbodikins” for the S word. (For the unschooled, “odsbodikins”  refers to God’s little dagger with which He pricked the unwary: a mild, profane oath from merry old England.) It didn’t take.

Maybe he was right about ‘shit’ though. I remember the day when Mama was in her nineties, and my son called me, laughing, to say he had just called her, and when he asked how Mama was, she said “Oh, Law, Tom, I’ve said ‘shit’ nine times today, and it’s only 1 o’clock!”

Mama was irreverent. Her number one path to “enlightenment” was in laughing her head off even if she had to alter her consciousness to do it. Can we say highballs? Not to mention pot.

If finding life funny was among God’s true gifts, Mama had that one in spades. She loved to laugh at the foibles and eccentricities of human nature, the ironies, the jokes on us all.

She taught me well.

Find out more by reading Chapter 24 in my book: Shopping with Mama: Write ’Til the End, out in early December 2018. And, if you would, please help me get Mama’s story out to the world, by going to the FB page of the same name, liking and sharing to help me spread the word. That’s the way the hard work of book marketing is helped these days. Thanks!

https://www.facebook.com/shoppingwithmama/