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A Story - Mommy's Visit - After she was gone...

"Where did you get all those roosters on the top of your cabinets? I recognize the small set. It came from that little white house we bought up in Cass, there right along the main road into town. We bought it just after the train went in. Remember? One bedroom upstairs was ceiling to floor with jigsaw puzzles. Lordy! That house was something else. You still have the Bible I gave you from the little old lady who lived there?”

 “You know we kept the little one room cement block camp Bob, your step dad, had your cousin Dencil to build over on Jack Wiseman’s property, there where the little Dairy Queen was. The campsite was behind it. WE loved that little place. WE had an out house. I didn’t mind it at all. Why should I? I grew up with one. We had a fireplace in that little house and we’d pack for a week to go up there. Always stopped in Marlington to get groceries. We were on our way up there one time and at the store Bob had one of those mini strokes. I was afraid we’d never get home. But he pulled through enough to get us back on the road. Bob and Uncle Hank would go up there for a week at a time to hunt. Bob couldn’t really hit anything but they loved going. Uncle Hank got something every now and then.”

"By the way, you don't burn all those candles you got sitting around, do you? I hope not. They're dangerous as a cocked gun.”

"Where'd you get all those cookbooks lined on the shelf? They look too clean to ever have been used.”

"Who are the three little ones licking ice cream cones in that photo there? NO! Jill has triplets and a new baby. Whew. Miss Hoity Toity, who wanted no kids. Said her sister's children were too mean for her taste. Now what happened to Miss Career Girl? Got her college education and all. Well, she will have something to fall back on. That's what I always say. Have something to fall back on, something else you can do. Having babies don’t always last.”

"That a new stove? It don't even look used. Candles on it too. I don't smell food cooking either. I could go for a pot of beans and an iron skillet of good corn bread. Maybe, even a pot of potato soup. Can you make any of that? I know your older sisters can. They can even garden and can. But you being the baby, I think maybe I spoiled you. Especially since daddy died and you only two years old at the time. He had that coal dust in his lungs. He worked those mines in Beaver too long. But that was before your time. He's buried out there by the baby at Walker Chapel Church out past Grandview. We lost the baby, Cecil Junior, named for daddy, at nine months of a hole in his heart. Imagine. It would be easy to fix now. But it wasn’t then. But you know all that. Do you make it out to the cemetery every year, like you promised? I wonder.”

"Why does that husband of yours have so many auction papers here on the counter? Does he like auctions? I declare. Thinks have changed. Both of you retired and living the good life.

"Pretty little kitchen curtains. That's a big back yard you got out there. Never thought I'd see you in the country. Two acres. A lot of grass to cut. But then you don't cut grass, do you? If memory serves me right, your man does all the cutting. You're lucky in that, Bobbie Ann. Now, don't wince. I know you don't like your nickname. But, Daddy called you that from the time you were born. I think he wanted another boy. I named you for Barbara Jackson that ran Jackson's store over on the highway at the edge of Hometown, where you were born. Barb Jackson and Paul was good me over the years after daddy died, letting me run up a store bill and all. Dr. Bland delivered you in the back bedroom. Of course, you don't remember that. HE came so often one of the girls I think Sue maybe kept asking what he had in the black bag and he kept saying a baby. One day when he came he brought a black doll for her to play with. He was a good man.”

"That dishwasher looks like it's getting a run for its money. Never did use mine in the new house. Oh, once a year at Christmas maybe. And only then because everyone fussed at me for not using it. The house was something back then with all you grown kids coming home with your families. Maxine always wanted to run things. That red hair of hers. I can see her now zipping through the house. Ella, Sue, and you all there with your families. Good thing your mother in law put up your husband and the three girls. Of course LIsa and Jill used to like to come to my house. We never had enough room when we had company, even in the new house. You always had to stay with me and I loved having you. Remember the bed I made Jill in that closet when she was little. She loved that old comforter I made. Crawled right in and slept like a log.

"You girls always stayed up too late talking. I'd be in bed clearing my throat and coughing but it never moved you to bed. Next morning when I had biscuits ready at six I could never get you up. Staying up too late never done anybody any good.

"I do like this house, the way the kitchen opens into the dining room and the living room. Fancy French doors, though. Pretty. Yes, pretty.

"What are those red pillows in the living room made out of. Never heard tell of micro suede. I made my own throw pillows. Heavy material and batting. Just like we used for quilts. Never did much quilting - always making a living working. Mommy did some quilting and your aunts, Wandy and Lucy and Gae did some. You ever quilt? I guess not. I know you pieced a little helping me when you were little. You thought you were piecing anyway.

"Why do you keep that TV on? It gets on my nerves plenty. I never did play ours much. Some in the evenings. Bob always listened to the six o clock news. Like clock work. You might as well not have anything else to do at that time of day. He was in his recliner with the channel turned to the news. Bob never learned to read but he always got the news. Mostly bad news too.

"You've done well for yourself, Bobbie Ann. I know it's been hard, losing daddy and all. And having Bob for a step father wasn’t easy, he had plenty of faults. He did the best he could. But it still wasn't enough. Maybe it never is enough. What we do for each other.

"I don't regret a thing I did in this world and I hope you don't either. I'd done all I come here to do when I went home to meet the Lord. And it was time. Yes. It was time.

My time was then. Yours is now.

the end
Comments welcome!


  1. This is sweet. It feels, in a way, like Bobbie Ann's missing her mother, the way she's seeing her in everything around her. Some people we'll hear ever and always, their memory brought on by life around us.

  2. I often wonder what my Dad would say if he could come and see his home today..see our homes and his Grandkiddos...see Mom and all she's accomplished. I know he'd be proud. I think it's comforting to think that those we love and miss can be nearer to us than we know. Sweet story...made me smile!

  3. It really wasn't in my mother's voice but one I made up. Still, I've heard her say some of those things - I too have wondered what she would think of our eight grandchildren. We had one when she died in 1992 and he was a baby. He's in college now.
    She was so proud of all of us. I wrote an essay about her and the PD bought it and printed it in the newspaper. She said when she read it it made her cry. I told her I didn't want to make her sad. She said she wasn't sad. She cried to think I thought that much of her. Yes, Bobbie Ann is missing her mom. Bless you for reading. Love the comments.

  4. Loved reading this mom... I'm missing her too, and wondering what things she would have to say about these 4 kids here. Plenty, I'm sure! Love you!

  5. What a wonderful way to tell a story. I may take this as a prompt sometime and try to write one about my Grandma. I love the way you told backstory by each thing she found in the house. That's the way we visit each other when we know backstory. Each thing holds memories. Maybe that's why we keep things.

    And maybe that's also why we relinquish things sometimes, to let some memories move on.

    I really liked this.

  6. Loved the story, Barbara. It kinda sounds like the way my grandma would talk if she came back for a visit. She always spoke her mind and told it like it was.

  7. My mom too, Janet. But it was hard to capture her tone. She was kind before anything else. I believe this person in my post would not be kind if someone crossed her!

    That's why I write fiction, it's so freeing.

  8. I love this and the way you wrote it. I can hear the voice in my ear. It reminded me of both of my grandmas. That's exactly the way they would sound.. You have got a lot of creativity..

  9. What a wonderful and powerful story. The voice is so compelling, and I could really see and hear and feel your mom throughout. I hope you found some comfort writing this, that her voice reached your heart. I don't think we ever stop missing our moms.


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