Here's the thing. I love my mother, but some things are just too weird to forget. To say Flossie was an unconventional mother is like saying, The Grand Canyon is just a hole. I have a list of "my mother never dids about a mile long." For instance, my mother never did teach me the proper way to cook potatoes, wash dishes, comb my hair, wash my feet or well, pretty much do anything when it came to just your average life. But still, my mother, for all her unusualness was one of the funniest most talented women I have ever experienced and taught me many more important things like the proper way to feed a homeless, injured baby bird or grow a peach tree from a peach pit, or graft an African Violet leaf or mix yellow and blue to make green. She was not only funny but wise in a very peculiar way. So, starting today I thought it would be fun to share some of this insight from Flossie starting with some her most memorable phrases, the most popular being, "Beats a poke in the eye." This was pretty much what she would say whenever ANYTHING happened, good or bad. "Mom, I made honor roll." She'd smile and say, "Beats a poke in the eye." Mom, I broke both my arms." "Beats a poke in the eye." You get the idea. "Mom, I just had my first book published." "Beats a poke in the eye." And there you have it.
Another favorite, albeit frustrating Flossieism is this. It's a wisdom that works equally as well for broken pinky toes and broken hearts: "Keep it 'til it gets better." No matter how horrible the sickness, how broken the bone, or deep the gash in my knee, her response was always the same. "Guess you'll just have to keep it til it gets better." Um, now that's wise. And it is quite true. It works in any situation.
Other memorable phrases include, "You'll get the Collywobbles." I was never quite sure what the Collywobbles were exactly but I lived in mortal fear of getting them from eating a raw potato, a green banana, uncooked cookie dough etc. The only thing I was certain of was that true collywobbles had something to do with the digestive track and I did not want them.
"Well thump my gums." There's an oldie but a goodie. I never quite understood this. How exactly does one go about thumping their gums or anyone else's gums for that matter? It sounds extremely painful.
"Five times." Now this phrase did little more than confuse me. I know it had something to do with her inability to believe something or other. For example. "But Mom, everyone is wearing them." To which she would reply. "Yeah, five times." And she would walk away. Case closed.
Another thing I lived in fear of was The Kybash. "You better watch it or the Kybash will come down on you." Man o man that's pretty scary. I used to lie in bed at night thinking about the Kybash and what it would do if it ever came down. Was it a big green, hairy monster? Or was it more like a boulder or a meat cleaver. This I never knew.
But they say what goes around comes around and I was at the nursing home visiting her the other day. The conversation went like this.
"Joycie, my foot hurts."
"Guess you'll just have to keep it til it gets better, Mom."
"Then eat your lunch."
"But I want a banana."
"You'll get the collywobbles."
Five minutes later the nurse comes in. "Florence. You didn't eat your lunch."
"Well, thump my gums. You don’t expect me to eat that."
"Mom, don’t talk to her like that. It's not her fault."
"You better watch out Joyce Anne or I'll bring the Kybash down on you."
Some things just never change.