Always Real, Faith, Memaw, Papa George

The Good Pilot

Years ago, back in the mid-70s I think it was, my beloved Godmother had a heart attack and flat lined on the table.  She miraculously pulled through and lived many more years.  She had always been a fragile sort, not much of a fighter, and had many health issues.  Without ever saying, I always supposed that John, my robust Godfather, a Lithuanian who could hoist the world upon his shoulders, would long outlive her. But if there is one thing I know for sure, and I for sure only know one thing, it is this:  God…

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Always Real, Faith, Memaw, Papa George

On Being Ruth

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the account of Naomi and Ruth, as found in the short Book of Ruth in the Old Testament. Naomi is Ruth’s Jewish mother-in-law.  Ruth is a Moabite .  This complicates matters because Israel and Moab were long-standing enemies.  Mother-in-law relationships can be challenging in the best of circumstances, but given the cultural and national differences, there could have been a lot of tension in their relationship but none is noted. As the story goes, the two women, along with another daughter-in-law, Orpah, also a Moabite, find themselves…

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Makes Me Sigh, Memaw, Snips And Snails

The Lightning Blue Remote Control Speed Boat

Sometimes when I catch Sean being good, I reward him by letting him pick out something at the grocery store.  The only limitation I put on him is that it must be something that can fit in the palm of his hand.  And it is for this reason that I haven’t told him where Wal-Mart keeps the iPods. And so it was one day early in the summer.  When we got to the store, we headed straight back to the toy department in search of a reward. We went up the aisles and down the aisles…

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Memaw, Papa George, Reruns and Leftovers, Tuna

Therapy, Financial Advice and a Make Over. All In One Place

My mother and father-in-law have owned a cosmetics studio and clothing boutique in downtown Tuna for the past 30 years.  In addition to selling makeup and outfitting the local church ladies, they have provided a number of other services to the locals. Up until a few years ago, an older lady named Leona would come in every other week or so with her checkbook and hand it over to George.  Leona couldn’t read or write a lick so she brought her checkbook in and George would balance her statement and tell her how much money she…

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Family Stories, Memaw

The Tupperware Lady

I sat at my mother-in-law’s dining room table and looked through a box of her old photographs. Each picture, a tiny serving of frozen time.  Smiling faces peer out of a black and white world,  telling stories of the past and explaining something of the present. At the bottom of the box I find a large brown envelope. Inside is a photograph of my mother-in-law. She is young, tall and thin, pretty. She is standing on a stage with her husband and two other official looking people in some sort of ceremony. In a manner slightly…

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Always Real, Memaw

Spitting Mad

One afternoon last week, my mother-in-law Cleo was at work in her cosmetic studio/clothing boutique in downtown Tuna, just as she has been six out of the seven days of a week for the past 25 or more years. Memaw is 81-year-old and puts in six days a week. Two gals game in together and looked around. Cleo had not seen them before and welcomed them into the store and showed them around. One of the gals requested a makeover and Cleo gladly obliged. She sat her down at the makeover counter and began showing her…

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Memaw, Snips And Snails

Beware Of Boys Bearing Dandelions

We were in Tuna this weekend and went to church on Sunday morning with my mother-in-law Cleo. After services, Sean and I went outside to wait for everyone to make their way out to the car. Sean spied a dandelion growing in the church yard and bent over to pick it. He brought it to me and said, “Here Mom, hold out your hand.” He very carefully laid his golden gift in the palm of my hand. “Why thank you Sean!” I said, my heart all aglow. “Don’t moosh it,” he called over his shoulder as he…

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Memaw, Sometimes Sweet, Wivian

The Pinwheel

Last week, we drove to Illinois to visit my parents and let Sean OD on popsicles and Wivian. Knowing that in the coming week, that Wivian would be indulging Sean’s every whim and thereby be promoted to most favored grandmother status, Cleo, my mother-in-law, made a pre-emptive strike in the Grandma Wars and loaded Sean up with seven or eight presents to open along the way. When we were about a mile away from MeMaw’s house, Sean demanded to open his first present and being the spineless jelly fish of a parent bent on instant gratification…

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Family Stories, Memaw, Mildly Amusing, Tuna

Millie Conway

In our family, we celebrate Easter and our risen Lord as we do any other holy day – by racing home from church and eating entirely too much. And then complaining about how full we are as we waddle off to check out the dessert table. And after all that eating, nothing much else can be done except to sit around the table and talk trash before going back for another piece of pie. When my mother-in-law Cleo and her siblings get together, talk inevitably turns to Millie Conway. After 70 or more years, it’s still…

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Always Real, Memaw

Allergies and Love

I was sitting next to Cleo, my mother-in-law, in church on Sunday. With her head bowed, she dabbed her nose with a tissue and sniffled. I whispered to her, “Are you okay?” “Oh, I’m just all choked up,” she said as she fanned her face with her hand. I imagined that she was overcome with emotion to be surrounded by her family, to have her grandson sitting on her lap feeding her goldfish. So I nodded at her and patted her arm in a knowing and loving gesture. I understood. Then she leaned over and said,…

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