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!