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Monday, January 13, 2014

A Henway? Oh, About Four Pounds or So...

Seems that my parents and Mary have done some sneaky bonding recently...

“When are you picking her up?”

“Who?”

“Mary!” I can hear my mother moving around her kitchen. Putting away the silverware, from the sounds of it, would be my guess. I move the phone from one ear to the other.  “Aren’t you bringing Mary with you for lunch tomorrow?”

“What? When did this happen?”

“Oh, you know,” my mother says vaguely. “We chat. I said you were coming up for lunch and she said she wished she was coming up for lunch and, well, you’ve seen her, haven’t you. All big eyes and – Paul! Close that door! For cryin’ out loud!” She sighs. “Your father enjoys aggravating me.”

And so I pick Mary up for the two hours’ ride north to my parent’s.

She climbs into the passenger seat.

“You look nice,” I say.

She pulls down the sun visor. “I’ll have you know,” she says, smiling at the image she finds in the mirror there, “that I am wearing lipstick just for your mom.”

“Not for me?”

Mary, a woman notoriously good at taking care of everyone but herself, has had chapped lips since we met.

She shakes her head, flips the visor up. “I used to wear it for you, but now I wear it for your mom.”

“Well whoever you’re wearing it for, it looks nice.”

It’s quiet as we let this sink in.

Mary speaks.  “You’re lucky, you know.”

I know what she’s talking about. Mary lost her mother when she was quite young, her father a number of years ago.

“You can –“

“Can I –“

We stop.

I keep my eyes on the road, hands at 10 and 2. “You can use them, if you like.”

Mary stares out the passenger window. “They know stuff, you know,” she says. “Parents and older people. Like how many cups to a quart.” She looks at me. “Do you think your mom knows that?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll bet she makes the best desserts.”

I don’t say anything.

But she does.

“Does she know how many feet to a mile?”

“Maybe not, but I’m pretty sure my dad does.”

This seems to satisfy her. “Seems like a Dad question, doesn’t it,” she murmurs.

I smile. “Hey, and if you’re going to ask my dad questions, be sure to ask him about his collection of literature, in particular his henways.”

Mary frowns. “What’s a henway?”

I smile. My father, the king of the clean joke, is going to love this.

“Oh, Mary,” I say. “Just be sure to ask, and just like that. My dad loves questions.”

32 comments:

Indigo Roth said...

Gagh, I'm smiling, and it's not even 4pm. Charming as ever, Minnesota x

Daisy said...

My Dad loved corny jokes too. Older people do know things--it's true. :-) Thanks for the smile today, Pearl.

Michele Eigler said...

She was right Pearl; we do know lotsa stuff. Of course our kids never want to know that we do-- Ewwwwww....mommmmmm

Daisy said...

I am soooo embarrassed! I don't get the joke!

Daisy said...

Oh WAIT! I just got it!!
:-) More coffee needed!

Marion Bulmer said...

I am 56. My daughter is 33. She still rings up or comments on FB occasionally asking me how exactly I cook such-and-such. So I am not entirely redundant.

My mother died suddenly when I was 25. I have borrowed lots of people's mothers, not necessarily after asking, and also made great friends with much older ladies who were childless and therefore had time and space in their hearts to be interested in me and my doings.

It seems the most natural thing in the word, to me, friendship across the generations. I am trying to pass it on down whenever it seems wanted and appropriate

Delores said...

It's always nice to have someone to share your parents with.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
this is so warming, Pearl! My own best friend, "Aitch", lost her father early in life and my own dad played surrogate there. So this pulled chords... and brought a smile. Luv ya gal. YAM xx

Shelly said...

This squeezed my heart. Hugs to you, and Mary, and your mom, and your dad. And I had a flashback to a 7th grade teacher getting very mad at me for popping the henway question on her during class...

vanilla said...

Whatever a henway, my heart is always lighter after Pearl's wisdom has been shared another day. Pearls of wisdom.

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

Mary is right, you know. So is your dad. Love me some Henway.

Joanne Noragon said...

Mothers don't quit until the last Henway is back on the shelf.

jenny_o said...

Pearl, you are a big person, to be able to share your folks, even with a bestie. That is not easy.

Jackie said...

Love the way you write.
Such a gift....

fishducky said...

Parents--& grandparents--LOVE to be shared!!

Leenie B said...

Yeah, moms are full of useful knowledge about quarts and such, and dads are great for answering questions about measurements. Now I'm going to make some chicken soup for lunch. I'll need that left over chicken, some noodles, celery, onions and a potfor.

Geo. said...

I remember all those measure conversions were printed inside the back cover of my 4th grade arithmetic book. Did later editions --and generations-- miss this?

Bossy Betty said...

Somebody's got a Mom Crush and I totally understand!

Elephant's Child said...

Awww.

Silliyak said...

This has got me wondering what does a Steinway?

Sioux's Page said...

Pearl--Make your mom and dad a time-sharing property. It sounds like Mary would love to have a parent now and then...

And your dad would have some "fresh meat" (a new student) when it comes to music..

Suldog said...

Wonderful piece. I wish I was your agent. I could sit back, have you write, see you get published in a hundred or so newspapers a day, and collect 10%.

Gigi said...

Oh Pearl! What a kind person you are to share your parents. I have a friend who shared hers with me...you have no idea how much it means.

Lin said...

Yeah...if you wanna borrow them, you get ALL of them. Even the wacky parts.

Nobody ever seems to want to borrow my mom. hmmmmm....

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Those family jokes are the best kind.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Mary is right, you are lucky.

River said...

I loved reading this. It's...delightful is the word that comes to mind.

Pat Tillett said...

I didn't want anyone to borrow my mom. I wanted them to take her full time.

I must have used the henway joke a hundred times in my life. I still love it.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I don't like sharing my mum with anyone, even my sisters.....I could say my brother but he is a mummy's boy so it is him who has to share mum with us

Mitchell is Moving said...

You have a way of sharing the simplest story and making my heart fill with warmth. It's so wonderful when friends are willing to share their families with friends less blessed. (My university roommate's grandfather loved to be asked about a "henway," too -- every time we saw him!)

Diane Tolley said...

Hey! That's my dad's favourite joke too!!! Yep. It's a dad thing . . .

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Your dad and my dad would have gotten along very well. My dad always talked about "putting an egg in his shoe" before he would leave. Then he would wait to be sure you got the joke. If not, he'd say with a smile, "I'm going to beat it now". He had a bunch of those. My siblings and I would have gladly shared his jokes with others, but he was all ours.