I Remember

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I remember you used to pick me up from pre-school, teased blonde hair topping a cat sweater and blue eye shadow. You took me to the KFC drive through, because my mother wouldn’t have been caught dead there, and we basked in grease and sunshine, eating biscuits and chicken while your Jesus-centric music played over the car stereo.
When we got back, you let me ride on the vacuum cleaner as you multi-tasked—always a thousand things at once: laundry, ironing, polishing the silver, babysitting, singing, yelling at the boys. You are my sunshine, Wash your hands! my only sunshine, Apologize! No person, no disease, no obstacle could stop you, the unremitting force that governed our childhoods.

I remember sleepovers at your house. I would play with your birds and eat orange flavored Flintstone push-ups, after a prayer of course. I loved your house; clean but cluttered with animals, dolls, and products “As Seen on TV”. I have never known anyone else to furnish a home in incremental payments of $14.99. But then again, I have never known anyone to buy movies for her cats, plant her garden according to the wooly worms, or give a bird mouth-to-beak resuscitation. Unique is not a strong enough word.

I remember you always bragged you were there when I was born and you pretended to enjoy those hideously long dance recitals where we looked like dancing maggots. I remember you were raised fundamentalist Christian. You were the sweetest old lady with the most vulgar mouth I’ve ever heard. I remember your choice of words always shocked and amused, especially your malapropisms. Your mouth could stop a train dead in its tracks. Twiced. You were raised by the KKK but overcame your upbringing and learned to love. You gave and gave and gave to others, regardless of whether they had more or less than you.

I remember you were unlike any of the other adults I knew. You weren’t a doctor or a lawyer, you never talked about politics or the stock market, and you never went to college. I remember thinking that was a bad thing because I invest so much time and money on my education. I can graph the derivatives of polynomials and calculate stoichiometric values. But you can fix a toilet and fold fitted sheets. Which is more useful? I remember that you could get out any stain. You were great with numbers, not like a mathematician, but you could do everyday math in an instant. I remember you made your own cleaning supplies because the stuff at the store wasn’t good enough. Windex streaks. Our windows didn’t. You took great pride in your work and always left everything perfect: no dish was left in the sink, no tissue in the trash. I know that society may sometimes look down upon people like you, but that’s only because they don’t remember you like I do.





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