Saturday, January 14, 2006

Mama and The Fish Camp

Before Christmas D. and I went to our hometown to celebrate the holidays with his family. Since their family fiesta was on a Saturday, we went to dinner that Friday night with my mama and daddy. My aunt and uncle were along for the ride, too.

For some reason, when we were trying to decide where to go, it became very clear that we had to have fried catfish, and that means, at least in parts of Mississippi, that you head to "the fish camp."

But the fish camp isn't really the story here. Yes, it took forever to get there, and yes, the fish was delicious, and yes, they served us sweet tea in glasses that held AT LEAST 48 oz. of liquid. There were a few too many cats on the premises for my comfort, because I think the only reason a restaurant would have so many cats around would be to CATCH ALL THE RATS, but other than that, a fine time was had by all on hand.

We had a fairly uneventful ride home; it was mostly filled with updates on people in Meridian. But when we got back to my aunt's house - oh, did the fun ever start then.

I will stop here to offer some critical background information.

My mama is a Terribly Southern woman. She does not go to the grocery store without having her hair fixed, her make-up done, and a well-coordinated ensemble on her back. I was nineteen before I saw her sit down for any extended period of time. For most of my life, she has been on her feet, cooking and cleaning and basically creating a lovely home for her husband and children. If she heard that your third cousin's nephew had a death in his wife's family, she would bake them a pound cake.

But as she's gotten into her seventh decade, she's loosened up a bit, as well she should. She naps - sometimes for hours - in her chair, she'll stay in her (matching) pajamas for an entire day, and she's way more relaxed than she used to be. I think you're going to be really, exceedingly grateful for that last change when you read the rest of the story.

Okay. Back to it.

My aunt (C.) has an SUV with a third seat in the back, and that's where she and Mama were sitting. When we got back to C.'s house, we all filed out of the SUV, and D. stayed nearby so he could help with the unloading process.

So Mama and C. were getting out of the truck, which required squeezing between seats and then ducking down low enough to step out. Mama was first, and C. was right behind her.

Mama got tickled because she sort of got wedged in between the seat and the door with her behind way up in the air, and while D. was grabbing her hand, he laughingly said, "Are you gonna make it? Don't toot!" and Mama got so tickled and D. was tickled and C. was tickled and I was tickled, but D. continued to pull on her arm to help her out of the truck.

And y'all, my mama tooted. She did. Right in her sister's face.

Not like a little "polite" one. It was something akin to the sound of a freight train, warning you to Please Get Out Of The Way before it comes barrelling through your home.

It was almost like David called it into being.

I literally wet my pants. David had to sit down on C.'s retaining wall, and I thought he was going to quit breathing altogether - that's how hard he was gasping for air. C. understandably scooted away from Mama and found a perch at the end of the seat, holding her side while she tried to catch her breath.

Mama fell back on her end of the car seat and said, "WHEW! Oh, David, I've been holding that in the whole ride home!"

Even as I type this, I am crying from laughing so hard.

About ten minutes later, when we finally composed ourselves, D. and I were driving about a block over to pick up Alex from my mother-in-law's house. D. could hardly drive - he was still CONVULSING with laughter.

And when I could pick up the words that were muffled beneath the laughter, here is what I heard:

"Thank you, God, for that. Oh, Lord, I needed that. Oh, God, thank you." He wasn't just being funny - it was completely sincere thanks and gratitude to his Lord and Savior for blessing him with such a Special Gift during such a Special Season.

You should know that before I posted this entry, I called Mama to get her permission. I mean, Lord knows we all have gas skeletons in our closets, and I really don't want to embarrass my mama.

When I asked her if she minded me sharing the story, she died laughing and said, "No, I don't mind - I mean, I was just in such an awkward position trying to get out of that truck and I had been holding it and I just needed some RELIEF! That should tell you how comfortable I am around David. But oh, I think about that night all the time. All the time!"

So do I, Mama. So do I.


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