Mama’s on probation

Ronda Rich's picture

In case you haven’t noticed, Mama has been banished from this column for several weeks.

Have you missed her?

It all started when she, for the first time ever, took exception to a piece I wrote on her crankiness following heart surgery. If I thought she was cranky before the piece, it was nothing compared to what came after that one ran.

To make a long argument short, we exchanged quarrelsome words about it. To repeat what happened would not speak well for either of us. So, we’ll keep that information locked in the big family vault of secrets.

But to my credit, before we had the argument, back when she was merely pouting about the cranky column, I did try to buy peace. I took her shopping and bought her a new outfit. I tried to smooth it over. She took the new clothes but in a few days was back to complaining. That’s when it blew up.

I ended the argument by saying, “Okay, that’s it. You’re out of the column. I’m not writing about you anymore.” Then, just as I have ended quarrels with Mama since I was 6, I stormed out the door.

After many weeks, Mama is tired of being sidelined. She’s ready to return to the starting lineup and rejoin Claudette, Debbie, Karen, Louise, Miss Virgie, Dixie Dew, Merri Grace and the other beloved ones that often appear in my stories.

She’s quite a player, that mama of mine. The world powers have nothing on her when it comes to strategy.

“Ronda, people are very displeased that I’m not in your column,” she said. “You wouldn’t believe all the upset folks. Someone told me the other day that if you quit writing about me, you’re gonna lose a lot of readers.”

I rolled my eyes. I know when I’m being played. Still, once Mama starts, she doesn’t stop until she’s won. For two weeks, I received daily updates from her on all the folks who want her back in print. The cashier at the grocery store, the receptionist at the doctor’s office, the beautician and the list goes on. She claims that the preacher is in prayer about it. Every day, the stories become more elaborate.

“This woman – I don’t know her name, I just know her when I see her – she said, ‘You’re the best thing she writes about! We just love Mama stories.’ She couldn’t believe you weren’t writing about me anymore.” Mama shook her head in despair.

“You’re making that up,” I replied flatly.

“No, I ain’t. It’s the truth.”

Then she decided to draw up a petition and pass it around for signatures, asking for her reinstatement.

“How many names do I need to win a reprieve?” she asked.

Enough already. I’ve decided to pull Mama off the sidelines and put her back in the column. On probation. So, we’ll see how this goes.

“Okay, you’re back. But only on probation,” I warned. “If you get outta hand again, it’ll be goodbye time.”

She grinned jubilantly and clapped her hands together joyfully. “Oh, good! Everyone will be so happy.”

Problem about that is that she’s right. She and Dixie Dew are overwhelmingly more popular than me.

But, honestly, it’s not good for Mama to have so much popularity. What if she dies? Then what?

My brother-in-law cares for his mother who has battled Alzheimer’s for many years. The other day, he was dressing her and she said, “Rodney, I love you so much. You’re so good to me.” She smiled sweetly. “I hope I die before you do.”

Rodney chuckled good-naturedly. “Mama, that makes two of us.”

I’m starting to think that just the opposite would be best in my case.

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