“Mom?” It was the time at
the approaching 93rd year that made me alert to Mother's condition on a
daily basis and I did this with questioning her about something or another
as she was beginning her day.
“Mom? How do you say Daughter in Ponca?”
“We-hay!” She was quick in her response. Early day rules at
military-like boarding school training made her like this. We understood,
so it was okay. The testy thing was when she expected the same response
from us. Living one's whole life with a drill sergeant could get to be a
bit trying. But as Mother's days dwindled down, I rather enjoyed the spunk
she still had. These days I often smile when I see movies with the
regiment calling cadence after their military leader. The thing about that
was the audience all knew this would be a short period of time for the
soldiers and then it would end. OUR time in detail never ended.
I changed the subject, “Do you ever remember when the natural gas for
heating doubled in price?”
“Oh yes! I think it was around 1950. We lived at Tonkawa. The gas
bill came and those who had paid $18.00 a month were paying $36.00. Those
folks were as mad as an old wet hen. Before you could say, 'squat', they
had a caravan of cars lined up to go to the Commissioners' office at the
Capitol in Oklahoma city.
“We were all standing before him like ducks in a row.”
“Did it help?” I was interested.
“Yes Mam, it did.”
This morning the phone started it daily jingling but this time Mother
was here to answer. She is a people person and loves the ping pong
“She should have been an executive,” I'm thinking to myself.
“This is Jim. Is Rodney around?” The speaker phone announced the man's
voice all about our family room.
“He just stepped out. I'll have him call you when he comes home.”
Mothers' voice was young but decidedly authority bearing.
“Oh! Okay!” The man who had bullied me for years with demanding a
quick reply was, all at once, meek and himself on the receiving end of the
command. I couldn't help but chuckle to myself. Why had I not thought of
hiring her years before?