This post is about my various adventures and experiences when I “went home” for my mother’s eightieth birthday soiree.
My flight leaving to go home was uneventful. My connecting flight in Atlanta was delayed leaving (go figure). The plane was kind of on the smallish side. There were only two rows on each side. I had the window seat and some well dressed guy about six feet tall had the seat next to me on the aisle.
Our flight was only a little over an hour. I’m not sure what was going through my seat mates mind. I mean he looked like he may be sleeping but I’m not at all sure. He started pulling that Senator Larry Craig routine on me. Letting his right leg drift over into my no fly zone. I scootched over. He drifted more. I scootched more. He drifted more. Until, finally I felt like I was becoming one with the bulk head of the plane’s fuselage! I mean I felt like doing my own Senator Larry Craig impersonation by elbowing him in his ribbs and stating in a rather loud and unconvincing voice, “I AM NOT GAY! I HAVE NEVER BEEN GAY!… I WILL NOT PLAY” Okay, so I went off script with that last part but you get my point.
My brother was the one picking me up at the airport and since my flight had been delayed (twice) leaving Atlanta that meant he would have to take t he whole dang day off from work. Shewt!
I have four sisters as well as the brother and my brother (with the help of our youngest sister) is historically the one who ends up putting stuff like this together. Although, I want to give my sister-in-law huge kudos here. She is quite the trooper, in that despite all of the dysfunctiionality of our family she has been stead fast in her committment and love to both my brother and my mom! I will say however…. she does function much better with a plan. Spontenaity is not her strong suit. But she rolls with the punches when necessary and keeps a good attitude.
So anyway my brother and I spent most of the afternoon running to Sam’s Wholesale and too the resteraunt supply store to pick up party supplys.
I have never flown home before and in addition to the birthday party being a surprise mom was not aware that I was comming in either.
After we finished the things we needed to get done we swung by mom’s place. The look on her face was priceless. “What are you doing here?” I told her I had just stopped by to use the bathroom and promptly went down the hall to do just that. As we were visiting, mom looks over at my brother and asks him if he knew I was coming in. Duh! He picked me up at the airport mom.
After visiting for a bit, it was time to go pick up my nephew and niece from day care. Ryan is four and if there is a more well mannered human being in the world I haven’t met them. He kindind of made me feel bad about being so slack with our “new kids'” manners! I mean the boy even asks permission to be excused from the table when he is finished eating!! I think if he has a fault in this are it is that he is probably too honest for his own good. The next day when my older sister was at the house Ryan gave her his goodie bag full of candy. “Aunt ‘Shell, will you please put this up there where I can’t reach it? I’m not supposed to have this.” C’mon Ryan, grab a piece of candy and sneek into your room for once!
My neice (Kathryn) is only nine months old and at the stage where she wants to walk sooooo bad (see). She is such a beautiful and precious little girl. Well… except for Friday night. I think she must have had gas or something. She was up crying and fussing most of the night. SIL got her back down in her crib (which by the was down the hall about fifteen feet from the room I was staying in. About three-thirty I heard her again so I got up and got her. It smelled like her diaper needed to be changed so, relying on my vast years of experience in this area I quickly dispatched the offending garmet). Must have been gas ’cause there were no surprises. She did settle down for almost an hour (see) before she started again. Then SIL came in and got her.
Mom had asked me on Thursday if I wanted to ride with her the next day to deliver Meals on Wheels (something she has done since 1979!). Sure I would. Later that evening my youngest sister tells me of the grueling question and answer period mom had to go through in order for the State of Mississippi to renew her drivers license at the age of eighty. “Mrs. C. would you like to use the same photo?” Yes. “Fine, here’s your new license.” Wow.
Since dad died nearly ten years ago and mom is getting up there in age she is trying to clear out some of the clutter. A lot of it is stuff we kids have given her over the years. So, while I was over there that day she points to a ceramic piece my Mrs. had made and given her “back in the day” and tells me to take that with me. You mean you want me to tke Red Jesus? Yes and I have a “white bust” in my bedroom. Yeh, that was my first thought too. Honestly, I did my best not to laugh. But sure enough the next day she brings the “white bust” over to brothers house and hands it to me. Me and the sibs joked about the “white bust” in mom’s bedroom that night.
The Meals on Wheels route wasn’t too bad. We had twenty-two deliveries. Things were going pretty well. Until… we were at a green light fixing to make a right turn when an elderly lady, coming from the opposite direction, decides to meander through the intersection to make a left turn in front of us. So mom stops and waives the lady through. We hear this car honking and as we are making our right turn (thankfully) the elderly lady who had just turned left in front of us stopped. I say “thankfully” because the honking horn was that of my youngest sister. Stupid me says, “Oh look, there’s sister!” Mom stops and physically turns her head/body around to lo0k over her left shoulder. “Oh, is that her in the blue car? She must have a work car.” Turn around mom. Now she notices the elderly lady stopped in the road in front of us. She says (honest) “Look at that old lady. She must be eighty years old!” Yeh mom, you’re eighty too. lol
Back at brother and SIL’s house we all got up Saturday morning relatively early. I think it was around seven forty-five when everyone was up. Me and Ryan were up first. Now the boy is a bit peculiure when it comes to his breakfast eating habits. He actually likes a forzen breakfast. Seriously. My brother is the kind of guy who likes to cook bulk then freeze. SIL told me that Ryan actually likes to eat frozen sausage patties! However, this Saturday morning he had me peal the last banna and put in the freezer for him. Once that was frozen he ate it. Additionally, my brother got out the large bag of frozen assorted fruit and asked Ryan if he wanted to pick out his own fruit. “Yes sir.”
Friday we began making more stock for the gumbo for the birthday soiree. I think there were three smoked turkeys and three smoked chickens (we would later add six pounds of sausage). Our youngest sister came over and was helping debone the birds.
Things were going pretty well until about eleven thirty that night. My brother has this large (3gl I think) thick glass container we had been straining the stock into. After removing as much of the meat from the carcuses as we could we boiled down the remainder and ran it through a strainer into the glass mega jar.
Now picture this; we’v just spent (literally) several hours deboneing the birds and boiling down the carcuses for stock. We’ve got this huge glass container in the sink nearly full of stock for the gumbo. We were so proud of our progress. I left my brother alone with the fruites of our labor for just a minute to go into the family room to visit with my other sisters and brother-in-laws (2 of them). After just a couple of minutes brother comes in with this pretty “unusual” look on his face. I said, “What?!” “Umm, well, I was cooling down the stock… you know everything I’ve read about stock says that you need to cool it down as quickly as possible.” (his hand gestures spoke more than his words did) OMG! I go into the kitchen, the glass container is in the sink. However, it only has about half as much stock in it as when we finished. In his valient effort to make the best stock ever known to man, he was (apparently) a little zelous in the cooling process. Now in his defense, I would have figured that big ole glass container was tempered glass too. But nooooooo. When he sprayed the cold water on the outside of the mega jar the dang thing cracked in almost a perfect circle about an inch up from the bottom! Now what?!
Well we figured that since glass doesn’t float we could just ladle out most of the stock and be none the worse for ware. So I got up (earliest) Saturday morning to make the remainder of the stock. Schew, finally finished that part.
I’m not sure just how many g allons of gumbo we made but the pot’s measurements are fifteen inches tall and eighteen inches in diameter. It’s the biggest pot of gumbo I’ve ever seen. What do you think? (gumbo)
I think there was between one hundred and one hundred twenty-five people at the big ole birthday soiree that night. Mom had a wonderful time as the birthday girl. Many of the grandchildren came. ALL six of her children came and I think that spoke to her heart more than anything.
So my time down home was quite an interesting time. It isn’t often that I am home to be part of “The Gang” and even less often that I get to see oldest sis hubby. I snapped this pic of my four sisters, my brother, my sister-in-law and one brother in law. (the gang)
I have to hand it to my brother. He does most things for mom that the rest of us siblings just talk about.
GREAT JOB BRO!!
I would also like to thank my brother for letting me drive their Subaru while I was there. If the TSA goons employees would have done my strip search sooner I would have known I still had the keys in my pocket and given them to you then! I’ll stick them in the mail this week. Sorry, you’ll have to drive the Altima or the truck.
One final update…
Man am I glad mom was born on the 5th of December and not the 11th. National forcast is calling for 3-5 inches of snow there today! I hate frozen water all over the ground and everything else too!