Remembering Mom

During this time of the year my mind reflects on my mom, Evelyn Robinson, who passed away four years ago on November 10, 2005.  My ears still ring of the songs performed by Elvis Presley from his Christmas album.  One in particular that stands out is Blue Christmas.  Any time you would visit with Mom during this time of the year, you'd hear "I'll...uh... have....uh...a blue Christmas without you."  She'd turn the stereo up real loud, throw her head back, and die a-laughin!  I find myself playing those same songs every year, which is a very happy memory of Mom.  She l-o-v-e-d Christmas!

Mom had so many wonderful stories she shared with us down through the years.  I don't care how many times she told them, they were just as funny the last time you heard them as the first.  She could hardly get the story told from laughing.  By the time she had finished, you were cracking up!  I'm going to share just a few of them with you now.

She told one about a neighbor family who lived just over the hill from Mom and her family when she was young.  They were what we would call a "blended family" today.  She said there were so many young'uns in that house that when they all got to fussin' and fightin', Maw would holler at Paw and say, "Paw, come in here.  Your young'uns and my young'uns are a-kill' our young'uns!"  Sound familiar to anyone?!  Another story was about a neighbor of theirs who would wash and hang their clothes out on the clothes line, like everyone did in those days.  She said you could go by their house on a wash day and see some sheets hanging on the clothes line.  The only problem was, the sheets were as black when they came out of the wash as they were when they went in.  You see, the family heated their house with coal.  In case you don't know what I'm talking about, coal is a real dirty source of heat.  Once coal soot gets on anything, it's there to stay.  She said they were slick black!  No getting those things clean ever again!

Another story she told about was when her brother, Pearl Deaton, was plowing with the mules one day.  She said she had been dying to plow with them mules all day, but she knew Pearl would never agree to it...neither would her dad.  The garden was up on a steep bank on the side of the hill behind their house.  She said she sat there and watched him all day.  Pearl decided he needed a break, stopped the mules in their tracks, and walked down to the house.  She said to herself, now's my time to plow.  She let Pearl get inside the house and ran up the hill as fast as she could.  She said again to herself, there can't be nothing to this.  She picked up the reins and gave them a CRACK!  It startled the mules so bad, they started running, and there was no holding them back!  They were off!  Just like being at the starting gate of the Kentucky Derby.  She said there was no way she could hold them big mules back, and they took off in a flash.  There was nothing she could do, but let 'em go.  Them mules ran all over that hillside, and you talk about tearin' up patch!  She said they tore that garden all to pieces.  All of Pearl's hard work had just been destroyed in a few short seconds.  Needless to say, that was the end of Mom's plowing days.  She had so much fun telling that story, no doubt it was worth every bit of the trouble she got in from it!

Mom's sister, Reffie Fields, told us a few stories about Mom, too.  She said Mom would take these big night crawler worms they'd dug up, and Mom would wrap them around each finger, like a ring.  She'd  then start chasing her other sisters like she was going to put 'em on them.  They'd run and scream like crazy!

Mom told another story about her brother, Pearl, that happened when he was just a teenager.  She said Pearl was very shy, especially when it came to girls.  She and Reffie, her partner in crime, decided to play a joke on him.  One day, they told Pearl his girl problems were over, because they had ordered him a mail order bride.  They told him to keep an eye out every day for the mail man, that she should arrive in a couple of weeks.  They never told him anything different.  Mom and Reffie let a couple of weeks pass by, reminding Pearl every so often that his new bride would be arriving just any day now.  One day they decided to go in for the kill.  They let the mail run that day, and then Reffie commenced to hollerin', "hey, Pearl.  Your new bride is here!  The mail man just dropped her off!"  Pearl, not believing his ears nor his eyes, peeked around to see what he thought was a beautiful young lady standing at the mail box.  He couldn't believe they had really did it!  They had really ordered him a mail order bride, because there she stood!  What he couldn't believe is what happened next.  That beautiful young woman standing next to that mail box with one hand on her hip and the other elbow propped up in the mail box was none other than Mom.  She wore a big flowing hat, and when she saw Pearl, she fell over dyin' a-laughin'!  She said Pearl got so mad at them that he ran off into the woods and didn't return till dark! 

Mom had so many wonderful little sayings that I'll always remember, too.  She'd say, "a whistlin' woman and a crowin' hen always comes to some bad end!"  She had some real good words of wisdom that she got from her mother, Ella Deaton, like, when children are little they step on your toes, but when they're grown they step on your heart.  She also said, "I could've had a dozen young'uns if it hadn't been for raisin' them!"  She had a good memory, too.  She memorized a poem from her "primer" days in school.  It went something like this.  "The golden rods are blooming.  They grass is turning brown.  The peach and apple orchards with fruit are bending down."  She had a real good alto harmony and could play a guitar, too.  She definitely could entertain you, and always left you in  a good mood.

She played a few pranks on people, too.  She worked at the Village Hut on Island Creek when the owners, Buster and Dana Hornsby, first moved to Manchester in the 70's.  It was not out of the ordinary to find a foreign object on your hamburger if you were a repeat customer.  One day, she placed a rubber band on poor ol' George Wolfe's hamburger!  When he bit into it, out stretched that rubber band.  It's a wonder he didn't about kill her!  She just fell over a-laughin' when that thing popped out!  Let me tell you, he played a few jokes of his own after that caper!  Today if that happened, a person would surely be sued in court!  Those really were the good ol' days.

Mom loved everyone, especially her family.  She had eight brothers and sisters who were, and are, just as fun loving as her.  There's only two of them still living now.  There were six Deaton girls who were all very beautiful, and I'm sure that Granny and Grandpa (Ella a/k/a Dee, and Willie) Deaton had their hands full with them.  I'll never forget a one of them.  They've been a blessing to me and my family.  I'm so proud to be a part of them.  That's a special gift Mom left me.

Well, I'll stop for now.  There's plenty more to tell, but the pages won't hold them all.  Mom's in Heaven now.  No doubt dancing, and laughing, and shouting for joy...just like she did down here.  I know Heaven is a far better place since she arrived.  The best part is, Mom left us so many wonderful memories, but some day, I'll get to see her again.  I'm sure she'll have some new stories to tell! 

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