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Days of Happy Talk
Days of Happy Talk

“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 game-like maneuvering.
    “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?

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