Oct 1, 2012

Quoting Mom

  Most people, when recalling memories of their mothers will remember those tender moments that they had with them. You recall the sacrifices she made, the times she cared for you and nursed your injuries; the times when the most comfortable spot on earth was having your head resting on her lap. Sure, I think of those things too, but most of all I remember Mom's often unique way of expressing herself. That's why I had to post this article once more.

Happy Mother's Day Mom. I miss you.


Take heart parents! Or possibly,” be cautious” might be a better way to phrase it. Your children are listening to what you say. We all hope that our words of wisdom will be heeded by our little ones, and eventually most of our advice will take effect. Just be careful of all the other things coming out of your mouth in the mean time.

Many of us can recall the favorite sayings of our parents while growing up. We often remember the helpful advice, the words of encouragement, the inspiring expressions of wisdom that have helped you become the person you are. My parents also have imparted such sayings to me over the years, and when those moments arise in my life when they are most needed, those wise words are there to challenge and inspire me. However, the most prominent phrases and sayings I recall during casual reflections of the past are the somewhat unusual comments that my mother has used during my formative years.

It is probably due to the fact that I was with Mom the most that I can’t seem to remember any unusual quotes coming from Dad. From Dad came the sound advice on car care, money and how to fix a lawn mower. He spoke simply and to the point. “Leave that alone before you break it.” “Don’t you talk to your Momma like that.” “No wonder I can never find my tools when I need them because you don’t put them back where they belong.” Since my Mom was a “stay at home mom”, I had more opportunities to hear and remember her somewhat unusual responses to things.

First of all, my mom never cursed. Maybe it was the era in which she grew up, or her Baptist upbringing, but I don’t recall any expletives ever coming from her mouth. True, that with a son like me she had ample opportunity spew a few out, but she never did. Mom always used strange substitutes in place of swearing or taking the Lord’s name in vain. Phrases like “Well, I swunney!”, or “Well, lawzee!” were quite common. To this day I am still scratching my head as to the origin of these words. Did she learn them from her parents? Did she just make them up on her own? Regardless, her words were quite colorful without being offensive.

Some of her other expressions, however, were a bit more “off the wall” to my young ears. One such expression my brother and I heard early on was “Stop acting like a bunch of Yayhoos!” To this day, I still haven’t defined what a Yayhoo actually is, but they apparently are a disruptive and noisy lot. Perhaps if Mom had explained to us more fully what Yayhoos actually were and why they came to be so out of control, we may have tried harder to find the underlying cause of our own unruliness and corrected our behavior. Then again, we probably wouldn’t have.

I’m sure there are many mothers out there who have used the term “driving me up the wall” from time to time. Mom went a step further in that she picked a particular place to which she was being driven. Her cry of desperation was “You are going to drive me to Lakeland!” The place name subsequently changed to Our Lady of Peace, and later to Central State Hospital in order to keep up with the actual names of the facilities, but it still had the same effect on my elementary school age mind. “How could I drive her anywhere? I’m not old enough to drive a car yet.”

Another exasperated comment Mom would make to me as boy was “I ought to give you back to the Indians!” Can you imagine the thoughts that such an exclamation would provoke in the mind of a six year old boy? “Wow! Did I really come from a Native American tribe? Perhaps my parents traded something for me. That’s what the white men did in the old Westerns. Cool! Mom and Dad must have traded some trinkets and beads for little old me! Funny, I don’t look Native American. Maybe they rescued my brother and me from that mysterious “Yayhoo” tribe she’s always talking about.

Though I was never inclined to introduce these and other of her odd phrases and words into my own vocabulary, they are forever etched in to my psyche. They are what the words of my past, words that will forever be linked to my siblings’ formative years ……..and to my Mom alone.







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