Up next in my series of “women of the family” interviews is my mother, who is being interviewed on my blog/website for the fourth time. Mom and Dad are about to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary on Dec. 20, and celebrated with a trip to the deep south. Let’s see what else Ma has cookin’ these days…
1. For the first time, you and Dad took a long trip all on your own. Spill the dirt, Mom, we’re all dying to know… how was it? Details!
It was a lot of fun, but like everything else, expensive, so it was good to get home again. Some highlights:
(1) All the good eating down south (for those who weren’t aware, we went to Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA) We ate at most of the recommended spots including Hyman’s Seafood, Sticky Fingers and Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub in Charleston, and in Savannah we dined at Paula Deen’s restaurant “The Lady and Sons” and Vinnie Van Go Gos which is a pizza joint. On Folly Beach we had only one meal, that being at the Crab Shack.
(2) Lots of history, like Fort Sumter which was the site of the first shot of the civil war… Magnolia Plantation, the home of many generations of the Drayton family where we saw beautiful gardens, alligators in the swamps, slave homes, etc… River Street in Savannah, the home of Johnny Mercer which won’t mean much to you unless you read “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, and much more.
(3) A really sweet hotel (thanks travel agent Nancy Kleve!) called Avia in Savannah…if you’re ever there, book a room there. Gorgeous!
Lowlights: The aquarium in Charleston (basically a waste of money, you can see the same thing for free at Cabella’s) The so-called “Dolphin Tour” in Savannah…$30 each for a 2 hour spin on the SS Minnow… the “captain” of the boat crashed into another boat before even getting away from the dock, nearly crushing a passenger’s hand. Then sitting on narrow, wooden benches looking for the elusive dolphins for 2 hours, nearly causing me to miss my reservation at Paula Deen’s. We finally saw 1 dolphin shortly before docking.
2. You recently welcomed a new member into the family. Tell us about this new bundle of joy.
This new bundle of joy, as you refer to him, is a young, male Sheltie. Alex was the one who adopted him from the Humane Society, then discovered that the dog was very fearful, hated riding in the car and was no fun. He was planning to return the dog, but we stepped in and volunteered to give him a home. Buddy, as Dick named him, is a very skittish dog. He doesn’t play, doesn’t act happy to see us, and prefers to be left alone, but I’m guessing he was terrified while locked away in a cage. I also think he is missing his family (he was found as a stray), so we are going to be patient and try to coax him out of his shell. Other than that, he’s a beautiful dog…already neutered and housebroken for the most part. He doesn’t ever bark and walks nicely on a leash, so I guess we’ve got a new baby in the family!
3. How many different jobs have you had, and what were the best and worst?
Let’s see… as a jr. in high school, my dad hired me to be part of a crew to set up grain bins. This is normally a job for men, but our crew started out as all female. Three dropped out shortly after starting, but Mary McMillan and I stuck it out for the entire summer. No better way to get a good tan…the hot sun reflecting off of the tin made for some real cancer causing rays! After high school I worked in Huron at the nursing home as an aide, I cleaned motel rooms at the Super 8 and worked for a short time at the Carmel Corn Shop. After Dick and I got married (at the ripe old age of 19) I worked at the Chef Reddy potato plant in Clark doing the midnight to 8 shift. That was by far the worst job ever…the entire place reeked of rotten potatoes 24/7. I was asleep standing up most nights. We had to wear aprons to keep the slime off our clothes, hairnets and earplugs and to add insult to injury, I began throwing up every night at work. That can be blamed on you, Ryan as I discovered I was expecting you and called it quits. After that I started delivering mail in 1989 and 21 years later, I’m still doing the same old thing. I would probably say it’s the best job because the hours are good, I like the people I work with and I can take off as many days as I want as long as I have someone to sub for me. The only downside would be the crappy roads during the winter and rainy days.
4. Do you ever get creative cooking dinner for just you and Dad, or is it pretty much same-old, same-old?
It’s the same crap over and over. I don’t like to cook so I don’t get too creative. I do like to bake, so will try new desserts now and then, but it’s pretty much the basics for poor, old Dad.
5. What are you dreading most about the upcoming winter months? Are there any positives about winter?
I am dreading ice the most…snow is bad, but you can get some traction in snow. Also getting up in the morning wondering whether the roads are blocked, which ones can I get through, stuff like that. It’s stressful. Any positives???? Hmmmm…no flies. That’s the only positive thing about winter. I HATE WINTER!
6. What is the biggest day-to-day concern you have right now?
I think about my weight constantly (usually as I’m eating something unhealthy). I love everything that’s bad for me. I never get on a scale because I don’t like bad news. I am always planning to lose some weight, but it’s easier said than done.
7. You have managed to stay very healthy over the years, toes and dental troubles aside. What is your key to staying out of injuries and illness? (Knock on wood…)
I just don’t go to the doctor. They always seem to find something wrong, so I just don’t go. Simple! Also, I think I have pretty good genetics. My mom is 81 and in good health other than being super skinny (I hope that’s hereditary) and my paternal grandpa lived to his mid 90s. I don’t smoke, rarely drink and walk alot, so maybe that’s helping. Yeah, the dental end of things isn’t so rosy, sorry for that genetic trait! And you know that I err on the side of caution when driving…remember the song I made up for you kids: “Slow and steady wins the race, that’s why _______ goes at a slower pace!”
8. What is your favorite cure for boredom?
Books…I could read all day everyday. I go into the library and books begin calling my name…I go out with a stack, half of which I’ll have to return before reading. I constantly listen to audiobooks in the car…no better way to pass the time than with a good book!
9. What is your all-time worst Halloween memory?
I recall a Halloween night when I was about 6. My brother Stuart and I were all excited to go Trick-or-Treating and my mom got out the costumes. Now, this was years ago when costumes weren’t such a big deal. We didn’t even know what she had picked up at the store, so when she pulled out a sack we both grabbed for the same costume. If I recall correctly, one was Fred Flintstone, the other was Barney Rubble. Now, I ask you…who would want to be Barney when everyone knows that Fred is the star of that show? These costumes were not fancy either, they were those hot, plastic masks with elastic and a vinyl outfit. Stuart, being a year older and able to punch harder, was fighting for his right to be Fred, but I wasn’t going down without a fist or two thrown myself. My mom finally offered a reward of money (probably a dime) to whoever would be the bigger person and go as Barney. I gave in and as it turned out, nobody could see us in the dark anyway. I imagine that Stuart stole some of my candy, too.
10. Has anyone tried to prank you recently? If so, did it work?
Not lately, but the last time that I can remember was when I was mowing the yard a year or so ago, cautiously maneuvering on a ditch, doing my best not to tip over yet getting each blade of grass cut to perfection, so I was really concentrating. Our neighbor from down the road, Terry Wicks, came up behind me in his pickup very quietly and then laid on the horn. I about crapped my pants! He laughed and laughed, really yucking it up. One of these days it will be my turn and I’ll get him back. Payback is hell, Terry.
Thanks for joining us today, Mom. Any closing remarks?
I’ll thank you and Lauren for picking us up at the airport yesterday and for buying a car from us. I enjoy reading your blog, but am sorry that it has come down to an interview from me to fill space!
A note about the hat I’m wearing…it’s not my usual look, but the humidity down there did not mix with my hair. It stood out like a clown regardless of how much conditioner or straightening I did. My only option was to cover it, hence, the hat.