Thursday, March 8, 2012
Saturdays With Mama
I’ve had Mama on my mind a lot this week. Maybe because it was forty-two years ago on March 3, 1970, that she passed away. I was a sixteen-year-old Junior at Ripley High School sitting in Mrs. Stanford’s Spanish class when Dr. Ketchum came to tell me Mama had passed away and to drive me home to be with Daddy. A sad day that was!
Yesterday I just got to thinking about Saturdays with Mama. Growing up we pretty much lived by a routine. Saturdays were no different. As far as being routine every week. But they were different from every other day and I’ll tell you why.
Because my Daddy was a barber and had his shop in Ripley, he came home for dinner at noon every day…every day except Saturday that is. Back in those days men got their hair cut at least every two weeks or so and he had his regular customers. A lot of them had to come on Saturday to get their hair cut because of their jobs during the week and so Daddy would just grab a bite to eat at a café just down from the barber shop on Saturdays as he was usually so busy. And that’s why on Saturdays Mama didn’t have to cook dinner.
But I don’t remember her ever just taking the day off! She ran a tight ship in our home (as opposed to me and how I let things slide!) and Saturday was our day to clean house. Oh, not that it ever got all that dirty….it was just our routine! Every day the house was swept and dusted, the beds made and the dishes washed, dried, and put away. On Saturdays we did all that plus clean the bathrooms and mop and wax the floors. I loved working with my Mama. She was such a pleasant person to be around! When I was approaching my ninth birthday Mama had surgery for breast cancer. I can so well remember her putting her arm around me on one Saturday soon after that and telling me that I was going to be her special helper from then on. I would be in charge of the mopping! Wow! Instead of making me feel it was a drudgery she made me feel like it was an honor! She explained to me that after her surgery she could not use her left arm like before and that mopping would not be good for her.
Most of our Saturdays went like this: Up early for breakfast. Clean up kitchen. Get dressed. Make up beds. Sweep. Dust. Clean bathrooms. Mop. We tried to get done by 11:00 a.m. or thereabouts and then we would have our little lunch. (Usually this was done while the floors were drying) Sandwiches were what we like to have. They were special because we hardly ever had them any other time. In the winter we might have a grilled cheese…cut in half diagonally…with a steaming bowl of Campbell’s cream of tomato soup. Other times it might be an egg sandwich. Or in the summer time a tomato sandwich. But I think my very favorite was the pineapple sandwich! First we slathered mayonnaise on white bread. Then we would open a can of Dole’s pineapple slices, take out a slice, shake the juice off, and put between the slices of mayonnaise covered bread. Ahhh! Heavenly!
After we ate our light lunch and cleaned the kitchen, we cleaned ourselves up and changed clothes so we could go and do our weekly grocery shopping. Mama didn’t drive until I was a teenager so earlier than that we mostly did our grocery shopping at the Big Star Grocery. It was just a short walk across a vacant lot behind our house. We carried the groceries home in big brown paper bags. Then we put them all up where they belonged and I guess Mama probably started supper about then. I really only remember that the rest of my afternoon was free. In the winter time I might watch a Tarzan or Shirley Temple movie around 3:30. In the summer I played outside on my swing set or on my bike with my neighbors Pam and Beverly.
Mama would call me in for supper after Daddy got home and we would eat around the table in the kitchen. (We never had a dining room) After supper Mama would wash the dishes and I would dry them. And then it was time to start getting ready for Sunday. Take a bath and wash my hair. Get our Sunday clothes and shoes out. Lay out my Bible and Sunday school book. Get my pajamas on and go to Mama and say my prayers and kiss her goodnight. Go get in my soft bed, pull up the covers and fall asleep…secure in the knowledge that I was loved. And that’s what a Saturday with my Mama was like!
Just recalling all of this about Mama today brings to my mind some verses about the “Proverbs 31” Woman. “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.” Proverbs 31:26-29 These verses truly describe how my Mama was. I am blessed to have been given a Mama such as this!