Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Part Four: Memories of Grateful Daughter: My Mother on Honesty/My Father on Rules

My Mother on Honesty

My mother perches on the edge of her bed talking on the phone. The addition of a second phone in the house has been recent. She can see herself in the mirror over her dresser. On the dresser are the pictures of her mother and father, and the jewelry box which is never closed. I am again on the other end of the line from college. She listens to what is going on and then tells me with her lovely laugh, “You will never believe what I did last week…”

It seems my mom had prepared a casserole to eat when my youngest brother, Billy, the only one at home, returned from Cross Country Practice. Having a newly remodeled kitchen with beautiful hardwood floors, she had become a more avid house keeper. After putting the casserole in the oven to bake, she got out her dust mop.

Following all of the instructions she had been given by the installers, she went to spray a light mist of Endust on the mop. In the place under the sink where she always kept the Endust, she found the Pam. A quick investigation of the pantry led her to the Endust where the Pam should have been. Unable to remember if she had sprayed Endust or Pam into the casserole pan, she found herself in a dilemma. She did not want to make a new dinner. As the dinner hour grew closer, she removed the casserole from the oven and tried to extract parts that had not touched the sides. Knowing how particular both my brother and father were about putting anything in their mouths that had even the suggestion of germs, let alone chemicals, she decided that honesty was the best policy.

They went out for Pizza!

My Father on Rules

I see my father sitting in a metal yellow weaved chair on our screened in back porch. A faint breeze made the summer heat bearable. The porch was my favorite place in our house. It was large with a single step dividing it in half. The top half had a round wooden picnic table where we would eat dinner on nice evenings. In the center of the table was a Lazy Susan which made it unique. That novelty, when it first entered our life, fascinated me and created in me a lasting affection for the table. The yellow chair and its match were on the same level in front of a pair of windows which looked into our family room. They were separated by a plastic table.

I sat in the other chair with my arms around my knees rocking gently. When my dad sat in a chair, it was not in an upright position. His back always seemed to curve into the chair giving him the appearance of slouching. We talked on this evening of the church. I was teaching high school Theology and had as my main goal to instill in my students the notion that Laws were given to us by God out of Love. My father put it this way:

The church gives us rules, not to hold us down, but so we do not become enslaved to things which prevent us from being truly free.

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