It's been a long, cold winter. I've had plenty of time for thoughts and memories to roam free in mind although I've also had plenty of time for absolutely nothing to roam free in my mind as well.
I have been thinking about my mother quite a lot this winter. It has been just over a year since her passing and this February 20th will be her second birthday since her arrival in heaven.
Most days I feel as though I'm alright with the fact that she isn't here with us anymore but in reality I know better. Her passing is still affecting me in ways that I feel I am not quite aware of.
Last night while I was remembering things about my mother, I remembered a trait, for lack of a better word, of hers that I inherited.
That trait being her hysterical fits of laughter.
If you've read my blog long enough you may remember me telling of these fits. They come at the drop of a hat, over something meaningless or not so meaningless. They can emerge anywhere at anytime of day. And I have yet to meet anyone who shares this trait more strongly than my mother and I did.
I am speaking of uncontrollable laughter. Rolling on the floor trying not to wet yourself laughter. Tears streaming down your face, sore stomach muscle laughter.
This was something that my mother and I had to keep in check. Especially when together and when in public as all it would take is one word, a glance at each other and we knew.
We knew that we were risking ridicule and stares from strangers.
This could be especially dangerous for us during church services.
No offense Pastor. Mom loved your sermons.
I'm going back to 1994. We lived in a different house back then, just a few miles from the one we would end up buying. Our present home.
I was pregnant with my Katie who is now 16.
My oldest, my son Frank was 16 at the time and a bit of a quite person he was. And still is. Frank will only speak if he has something he feels is important to say. He is also very good at one liners.
My oldest daughter, Ginny, was 13 that year and academically brilliant. A vivacious, intelligent girl who went on in life to receive her Bachelors and Masters degrees in journalism.
Here's where my story begins. Ginny had been competing in several spelling bee's and ended up qualifying for the county spelling bee.
An exciting event for our family as you might imagine.
The following photo was taken that very year, it may have even been that very day as my mother was coming along with us to one of the local churches for the spelling bee.
My son Frank (16) now 31. My mother, just a few years older than I am now, 57 years. My daughter Ginny, (13) now 29.
My husband was home at the time and was luckily able to attend this event. Being an over-the-road truck driver he wasn't always able to see milestones in our childrens lives, so this day was a good one.
The spelling bee took place at a church in town that we had never been to. I remember Jake trying to find it and when he did there were so many cars from all of the attending families.
Once inside it was crowded and hot. I was very uncomfortable being pregnant with Katie. None the less we managed to find seating.
I remember Jake sitting on my left. My mother on my right and Frank next to my mom on her right. I was happy that we all were able to sit together, nervous and excited for Ginny who had to take her place on stage with the other contestants.
Now this is the part that I have trouble remembering. I asked Ginny about it but it seems she has trouble remembering too as she was so nervous at the time.
We can't seem to remember how many words that she spelled correctly before being disqualified. But that doesn't really matter now, what matters is what happened when it came time for her to spell her word.
She came up to the podium. The entire church was silent. Silence is a key factor during a spelling bee. Our family was sitting there nervously awaiting the word to be given to her.
I'm sorry that I don't remember the word as what happened next was just so horribly embarrassing to me and most likely my husband as well.
The word was read.
My son Frank, the quite one that is good with one liners,
whispers so that only my mother and I could hear him....
"Could you spell that please?".
My mother looked at me and I at her. And that's all that it took.
We did everything in our power to hide the fact that we had burst into an hysterical fit of laughter.
We covered our mouths with our hands. Tried not to look at each other which was quite difficult to do once one of these fits came over us. Tears were streaming down our faces. Our shoulders were jerking up and down so fearsly that I am sure the people that sat behind us in the audience must have thought us totally rude or crazy.
I do believe that my husband shook is head at us as he was used to these outbursts.
We tried calming ourselves by not looking at each other and taking deep breaths.
And Frank. Yes Frank.
He just sat there with a self righteous grin on his face.
Ginny didn't go home that day with a trophy but we were all so proud of her none the less. When I asked her about this incident this morning she said that she didn't remember noticing it happen but remembered us talking about for years after the fact.
Today I am the only one in the family that these "Incidents" still happen to as mom is gone now.
I can be on the phone with Jake or Frank or Ginny and it only takes a word, no particular word, said in a certain way to set me off.
The really funny thing about this when it happens is that on the other end of the line while I am just shrieking with laughter,
All I hear is silence and the occasional "sigh" as if to say
"There she goes again".
Still it's not nearly as fun as when mom and I would have a fit together.
But at least my family doesn't hang up on me!
|Mom with Katie the day she was born. Just a few months after the spelling bee incident!|