Friday, August 1, 2008

The Golden Years

My mother agreed to write something for me, and below is the first of a couple essays she produced.
“I just finished trying to polish the furniture with air freshener. When that didn’t work well, I used furniture polish and was quite pleased with the result. Yesterday, Husband put cat litter in the refrigerator TWICE.* It does kind of look like a milk bottle, but really. I fear we are living in our twilight years, or maybe we were just experiencing the fog of confusion that surrounds sixty-something parents who never know a moment when some one of our children is not: getting married, getting divorced, getting sick and having no health insurance, changing jobs, moving to yet another apartment, etc. I balance the constant out-of-control bad feeling in the pit of my stomach by adopting needy animals.** Somehow that works for me."
CBW must interrupt this lovely essay written by her mother to make the following public service announcement on behalf of herself and her siblings: Pardon me, Mother? You didn't say you were gonna write stuff like this. We now return to my mother's attack, already in progress.
"I have a herd of 19 cats, 2 dogs, 2 ducks and a goose. I know, you’re thinking…and a partridge in a pear tree…very funny. I also police the yard for downed baby birds and stray baby opossums, raccoons and once a fledgling eagle. (That wasn’t my doing; the thing was on my duck trying to kill it and I shooed it away but had to call the game warden to take it to wildlife rehabilitation for help.) Evidently this assignment came from on high because I feel compelled to render aid.

We don’t want to think about the money all this costs us; and so, we don’t.

Aside from being an enabler, my husband does illegal alien jobs – the jobs Americans won’t do – like drive a truck in the middle of the night and weed-whack. As a hobby, he repairs old Volkswagens, including the collection he has sitting around our yard. His other hobby is tractors. He mostly enjoys buying them. Using them is less of a thrill I guess, but we have them if we need them. His third obsession is the spring of holy water on our property, or as I call it, the Lesser River of Jordan. He and his buddy swear it is the purest water going. I don’t know; until I see it cure a leper I’m a skeptic.

People ask me what I do all day and I am embarrassed to tell them; so I lie. Instead of “I rescued a baby raccoon by placing it in a basket and climbing up a ladder to the pump house windmill tower (where his mother was) and securing the basket on the roof—in the middle of a storm—and climbing up in the same storm on the same ladder to see if his mother got him that night,” I say, “Slaving away getting ready for company” or some such untruth.

We are alright and I believe there are good things in store for us. My next project will be to dam up the Lesser River Jordan and construct a cold tub to sit in when we have a smelting-hot day; and then if we don’t break out in lesions, we’ll know the water is safe to drink!”
-Chesapeake Bay Woman’s Mother

*Now do y’all understand why I do the things I do? Can you imagine an entire family that acts like this on a regular, routine, daily basis? Cat litter in the ice box? (By the way, I call a refrigerator an ice box because my grandmother always did and I can't break the habit.)
** Do ya see how she blames us kids for her animal obsession? She is worried about 3 daughters and so that justifies adopting 24 animals? Did you read the part about teetering on a ladder in a storm with a baby raccoon in a bucket so she could hang it from the water tower? What do we have to do with that?

Please, somebody give me a vacation. Oh! That’s right I am getting one next week. With my entire family! Can't wait!



Mental P Mama said...

Well she must be doing something right. I read of no infestations over yonder....

Grandma J said...

The Clampetts have nothing on the Chesapeake Bay family...nothing at all. Who needs oil when you have the Lesser River Jordan. Once your mom has that river shored up and her cold tub established, I'm coming over to soak my head and get rid of my mental illness.

cats said...

I just was catching up on all of your posts from all week. I love them all.
Speaking of eccentric families, lets not forget we are connected. I have one brother married twice, divorced twice. He has 2 sons by 2 different wives. His oldest son has a child whom he never sees and never married the mother. My oldest brother has 3 children. The girl has been married twice. She is pregnant now at the age of 30. Her oldest brother has never been married and lives away. The middle brother lives in Portsmouth, has a good job and sees a woman with 2 children who is divorced.
My father was an alcoholic for many many years and lived N.C. He now is in anursing home. He left my mother when I was 7. My mother visits him at the nursing home occasionally. His second wife died of cancer 4 years ago. My mother's mother didn't like children that much, when I was growing up. She was married 3 times, and outlived all 3 husbands. She had a boyfriend when she was in her eighties. Her first husband, who was my mother's father, was from Sicily, Italy. He was killed in a coal mine. It caved in on all of the workers inside. He was only 22 years old. MY grandmother was a widow with my 3-year-old mother. This was 1936. My grandmother also loved dogs. She had about 7 dogs when I was a child. My grand mother brought my mother back to Va., after her husband was killed and left her with her mother. The homeplace at Dutton. She was living in Pennsylvania when the coalmine caved in. She then went back to live in Pa and Ohio and married again. She came back for my mother when my mother was 15. She took her to Richmond with her to live. That is where my mother met my father.
My Father's mother died when he was 7. She died in a field giving birth. His dad was an alcoholic. The older children had to rear the younger children. His father was married 2 or 3 times.
I could write a book aout my crazy family. I won't even get into my husband's family now. CBW you are not alone. WE are definitely the family circus. Otherwise known as the Disfunctional family.

Bear Naked said...

An open letter to Chesapeake Bay Woman's Mother:

I think---no---I know I love you!
Do you have a computer?
Do you have the internet?

You MUST start writing a blog.
Chesapeake Bay Woman will show you how to do it.

A fan

Bear((( )))

foolery said...

I can see it'll take a lot more wine than I thought when I come live with your family for a -- forever. I'll also bring air freshener and furniture polish.

And a spare raccoon.

Encourage your mother to write more, CBW. You're both wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Oh, can I say I am dying laughing, right here in the public library. I use the library for the computer because I am:changing jobs, don't have health insurance, probably moving again, but I HAVE NOT gotten married or divorced, YET...
I'm laughing at the litter thing because JUST THIS MORNING ,and I swear I am not lying, the following incident happened.
Dino woke to my cats meowing repeatedly and staring at us like we had to get up ASAP so he decided to feed them, since that's why they were BELLOWING. Moments later they appeared, staring and meowing as if they hadn't eaten. So I did what I always do, I rolled over and went back to sleep. When I awoke, I went to the laundry room and much to my surprise I saw a bowl FILLED with food. They hadn't touched it and they were starving. So I rubbed my eyes and looked back and realized that Dino had put CAT LITTER in their bowl. Yes, that's right. FELINE PINE NATURAL CAT LITTER it says on the side of the bag. I fell to my knees in pain because it hurts to laugh, but I did it anyway. And, last night Dino found the Advil in the refrigerator so he calls it even.
Love, Little Sis

cats said...

Love this comment, lil sis. I too have cats. My cat that sleeps in the bedroom with us, will knock my clock off the nightstand when he wants me to feed him. I put lunchmeat in the cabinet one time. I looked for it everywhere, when I found it it was spoiled. I think we have all done funny things like that. Love your story. Good thing there were no spiders or crickets in your laundry room, HA

Anonymous said...

A long, long time ago I knew a family just like this one.


(...forgive the posting as anonymous, but I'm too technoigno to figure out how to stamp a label on my post...)