Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
A Visit With Mom
Mom’s house is a cluttered arrangement of mementos. Every gift
that everyone ever gave her is appropriately displayed, along
with pictures of the children, grandchildren, and every high
school graduation or wedding that has ever taken place in the
family. One look around the room and your entire life flashes
before your eyes.
Mom is always cold so the house is always hot. As beads of sweat
pop out, you dare not inquire as to what the temperature might
be. “It seems a bit drafty in here,” mom says, “Maybe I
better turn up the thermostat - it’s only 78 degrees.” Even
the houseplants have wilted.
Meals at mom’s house are always a smorgasbord. Mom has been
cooking for at least a week prior to your visit in spite of the
fact that you are overweight and trying to diet. Of course, you
have to eat so her work doesn’t go to waste. And when you feel
as if another bite will make you explode, she says, “I made
your favorite dessert, coconut cream pie.”
Sleeping at mom’s house is a real challenge. Mom still has the
same mattress on the extra bed in the spare room that has always
been there. It must be at least 50 years old by now. Even the
lumps have mellowed. When you lay down, you sink about 8 inches
into the mattress, like a waterbed without water.
Of course, just finding the bed is a formidable task. First you
must dig through layers of cushions and ruffled bedspreads
without tripping over a footstool or knocking over an antique
lamp. Chances are that mom has already turned the bed back for
Mom is very neat. In the morning she makes up the bed while you
are in the shower. When you leave a room, she turns out the
light. She puts anything you left out of place beside your
suitcase, “So you will be sure not to forget it.” She pours
your coffee and puts a coaster under your cup. You are not allowed to help with dishes as she can do it faster
herself, without a dishwasher.
The principle item in mom’s living room is the television set,
and everything focuses on the tube, like leaves turning toward
the sun. There are only four channels as cable costs extra. Dad
holds the remote control. Just as you begin to get interested in
a program, he changes the channel. If there is nothing he wants
to watch, he turns it off.
Mom is happier when the TV is turned off because it makes too
much noise anyhow and she cannot talk. Mom tells the same
stories over and over. Sometimes they vary a bit from telling to
telling, but mostly they are always the same. She talks from the
moment you walk in the door until you leave. You know every doctor she has, every pill she takes,
every operation and illness, and every friend that has died and
who came to the funeral.
If you go somewhere, mom points out all the interesting sites
along the way: the local nursing home, her lawyer’s office,
the school where your sister used to teach, the church that her
brother helped to build, the street where houses used to be
before the mill tore them down, and other local sites of interest.
So, you eat till you ache, you listen till your ears hurt, and
you are glad that mom is still able to tell her stories. You
love her in spite of it all, and you secretly wonder if you will
ever become just like her?
You are already beginning to tell stories.
Copyright 2004 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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