Old Nutsrok post
Daddy loved home remedies and dosed his kids and livestock readily. Mother did run interference for us on cow chip tea and coal oil and sugar, but did let him load us with sulphur and molasses for summer sores. We never got summer sores, probably because we reeked so much we didn’t tempt mosquitoes. I do appreciate Mother for putting her foot down when his ideas got too toxic. No telling what kind of chromosome damage she saved us.
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Sweet potato pies were a staple on our Thanksgiving table. When I was about fifteen, Mother was running way behind with the many demands of the day and coerced me into making the pies the day before Thanksgiving. I had better things to do; anything would have been better than being stuck in the house making pies. Mother didn’t play around that day. I wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything till those pies got made. I was not happy. All the other kids in the world got to do what they wanted to. I had to work all the time. It wasn’t my company coming tomorrow. I didn’t even like stupid potato pie. The only reason Mother had kids was so they could do her work.
I was experienced enough in the ways of the world to keep my smart mouth shut, but I fumed as I worked. Mother even had the nerve to jump on me about pouting. “You’d better stop that pouting and get in a better mood or I’m going to give you something to pout about.”
How in the heck do you fake a good mood? Like a true smartass, I burst loudly into “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” and got a swift kick in the butt for my efforts. It was always embarrassing when I pushed Mother far enough to get her in action. She’s about four feet ten inches tall and squeaks when she talks. It’s like getting swatted my Minnie Mouse. It just made me feel stupid!
Back to the pies, I cooked and peeled sweet potatoes till my eyes crossed, whipped eggs, mixed the batter, and finally got those pies in the oven. Just as I was getting ready to slip out the back door to slip out to catch my horse and ride, Mother caught me.
“Where do you think you are going? Get back here and clean up this kitchen……and quit trying to run off. I’m not through with you, yet. You can forget about that horse until all the cooking is done, the kitchen is cleaned up, and the floors are swept.” She was a slave driver.
Finally, after I muddled through the God-Awful mess I’d added to the breakfast dishes that were still piled in the sink, I got around to cleaning up my pie mess. I was putting spices back in the cabinet when I happened to notice the label on the can of what I’d thought was pumpkin-pie spice. FISH FOOD! I’d just put fish food in the pies instead of pumpkin-pie spice. I read the ingredients on the can…..insect and vegetable flakes! In view of the situation, I reasoned it would be far healthier to keep my mouth shut than worry Mother about a little thing like fish food in the pies. I put that fish food right back on the shelf and saved myself some trouble. I didn’t like sweet potato pies, anyway.
The pies were good. Everybody gobbled them up like they’d been craving fish food. It was years before I felt like anybody really needed to know.
November 23, 2015
Dear Auntie Linda, Robert and I divorced when our kids were two and three and he left me for a doctor in his medical practice. We shared joint custody till two years ago, when I went out of town on vacation. He moved across the country to his old home town where his father is a judge and his brother a family practice lawyer. Filing for custody there on grounds of abuse since the three-year-old sustained a broken arm while in my care. Joey had fallen off the swing at daycare. They called me and I took him to the ER. The move and custody action were a done deal by the time I found out. I ended up with only supervised visitation. I’ve been able to meet them at the park twice and his grandmother invited me to visit them at her house the last two visits, since she genuinely loves the children and feels they need a relationship with me. She holds the family purse strings and Robert dares not oppose her.
Since this happened, I worry about losing my relationship with the children, since I can’t afford the travel expense more than twice a year. The expense is a challenge for me on a teacher’s salary. Joey still remembers me, but Susie doesn’t remember living with me, since she was so little. I am just the Mommy who visits at Grandma’s house and brings presents. I applied for a teaching position there, thinking I could see the children more often, but Robert got word of it and blocked me through friends at the schoolboard.
I feel hopeless, but Robert’s grandmother does allow me to send the children gifts and cards to her home. She allows me to visit with them by phone and video. What can I do to unravel this mess when I am buffaloed by a powerful family? Cut Out of Children’s Lives
Dear Cut Out, In view of this situation, there may not be a lot you can do. Thank goodness, Grandma wants to children to have a relationship with you. Hang in there. Keep visiting as often as possible. Children want and need both parents. One day, the situation will turn around, especially if the children ask after you. Hopefully, their father will bow to their requests when they can express themselves. Good luck. Auntie Linda
Dear Auntie Linda, My son teenage son died three years ago. In addition to the grieving, I have become isolated. People seem to think death is contagious. Many of my friends change the subject if I bring his name up in conversation. It’s not like I dwell on my loss when I am in a group, but if friends are touching on a topic that relates to him, I would like to be able to mention him in passing, such as passing on a funny story. Just because he died, doesn’t mean he never existed. Please pass on to your readers that they shouldn’t avoid people who have suffered a loss. You don’t have to duck around to keep from saying the wrong thing. You don’t have to say anything. A kind look or a warm hug means the world. I know you are sorry for my loss. Just don’t cut me out because your are uncomfortable. If you want to talk about their lost family, just ask if it makes them uncomfortable. They might be grateful. Let them drive the conversation and just listen. Miss My Boy
Dear Miss, You have given some good advice that could help a lot of people. I’ll bet your boy was something special. Auntie Linda
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