Ain’t no cobras round here…

My mother called me twice on Tuesday during the workday and called Julie once.  I was in meetings.  I was fearful when I saw the alerts on my iPhone.  I called back quickly.

“Mom, is everything ok?”

This Fayetteville, NC, native (well she’s lived there sixty years anyway) informed me that there was tough news:  “A Zebra Cobra has escaped his owner’s house in Northwest Raleigh.  Are your doors closed?”

Big news indeed.  Especially for a woman who would rather have a lobotomy than run into a garter snake in the yard.

I pondered how a snake might make his way from NW Raleigh to my house in Central Raleigh.  I imagined crossing the I-440 Beltline might be a challenge.  But in her defense, my mom has no sense of direction.  If she was standing on the North Pole she would be pressed to point south.  She once headed from Fayetteville to her parents’ house in Florence, SC, a direct 1.5 hour drive south on I-95.  A trip she had taken hundreds of times before.  Half-way to her destination, she got off at an exit to use the restroom, got back in the car and headed north on I-95 back to Fayetteville.  She realized her mistake AFTER she had passed her hometown.

My mother then gave me every detail she could remember from the news report, and I suspect a little added commentary based on her imagination.  She shared that the cobra would spit poison in my eyes if I ran across him (i.e. keep googles on at all times until capture is announced).  She informed me that the nutcase who owned the cobra also had other venomous snakes that he kept in cardboard boxes about his home.  She told me he had been bitten by his pet Black Mamba but survived. 

Her call did implore me to pull up the news story and watch the squirrely creature slither across my “neighbor’s” deck.  It was disturbing.  And I agree with her that the man must be a nutcase.  I guess we all collect odd things – stamps, old notes, we have an affinity for decorative pigs – but venomous reptiles is a bit extreme. 

On Wednesday after work I rang my mom.  I told her I heard on the news that the Cobra was spotted in Benson, NC, headed south toward Fayetteville.

She hesitated… “I hadn’t heard that.  I’ll have to ask Wayne (my dad) if he’s seen it on the news.”

She was on speaker phone and my soon to be wife, Julie, yelled out to my mom, “He’s a liar!  The snake is NOT headed your way.”  She then told me I should be nice to my mom.

I am, usually, nice to my mom.  But sometimes, I just can’t resist to poke at her a bit.  And sometimes it is very well deserved.

Sixty Years Strong

I can’t believe they have been married for sixty years.  I can’t imagine doing ANYTHING consistently for sixty years, except maybe eating.

That’s 21,900 nights together!  10, 950 Jeopardy shows they’ve watched through the years.

I wonder what makes them still like each other.  I asked my mom, what is the secret sauce?  She told me that she wants my dad to be as happy and full as he possibly can be, and he wants the same for her.  Maybe a lesson on selflessness, putting others’ needs before your own.

My dad’s advice?  Never go to bed angry.  I don’t think that’s a problem for them because they hardly ever argue.  Oh, they have differing opinions about things.  My dad makes a mess in the kitchen and cleans it all up when he’s done.  If my mom uses a spoon, she washes it before another utensil comes out of the drawer.  There is no mess in the kitchen – ever.  They had to replace their counter tops because she wiped the marble off.

I think, after sixty years, they’ve just come to accept each other’s flaws.  I probably have more than dad – that may not be so easy for my wife.

All of us likely develop our first impressions on what a marriage should be based on what we see at home.  What I saw as a kid was parents who showed affection for each other – yes, it was gross, but they kissed and hugged and flirted on a regular basis my whole life.  They worked as a team – cooking together, cleaning up together, teaching Sunday School together, hosting parties.  Mom and Dad LOVE to host a party!

They still scheme over what they get each other for Christmas, always trying to surprise the other with some little something special.

They laugh and laugh about the simplest things, like calling out my name as loudly as possible in the middle of K-Mart when I was a very embarrassable teenage boy.  They thought that was hilarious.  It actually wasn’t.

They studied the bible together, teaching Sunday School class at our church.  They read devotional books and prayed with us.  They showed me that a strong marriage is rooted in faith.

They have known each other since before high school.  In fact, my grandparents always told me they were in the same baby room at First Baptist Church in Florence, SC.  They were friends in high school, but never dated.  And then one Christmas, must have been about 1958, when dad was home from college, he randomly called mom to go out to catch up.  The rest is history.

I love their story.  I love them.  I am so thankful they are my parents and am so thankful that they showed me what a really, really good relationship looks like.

Hand Cream?

glove compartment

Over the Fourth of July weekend, my mom and dad were riding with me in my car.  We were having a very nice conversation when my mother asked me a peculiar question:

“Do you have any hand cream in your car?”

“Hand cream?  Like lotion?”

“Yes.”

“No.  Surprisingly I don’t.”

“Well my car has hand cream.”

“I also don’t have shampoo, conditioner or baby powder in here.  Because this is the car, not the bathroom linen closet.”

“Do you have an umbrella?”

“Yes.  I have three.  And a bible – a kid’s bible, but it is there if you need inspiration.  We leave it here because Mrs. Shuman gets very mad if Michelle shows up for Sunday School without her bible, and although I believe us to be good people, it is not something I am prone to remembering on my way out the door on a Sunday morning.  So we just leave it in the car.”

My dad is a preacher.  He’s probably wondering why we aren’t using that well animated epistle on a Tuesday.

“I send her to get it when we have weekday bible emergencies.”

The next day, we took my dad’s minivan to the lake to see my brother.  I got curious, so I opened one of two large glove compartments on the passenger side of the car.

“That’s your mother’s,” my father explained.

And there before me was a mini Rite Aid.

Three pairs of reading glasses, Gas X, a baggie full of toilet seat covers (would she really come back to the car after going into a restroom and pulling down her pants to get one of those?), a miniature umbrella (in case she needed to sneak one into the White House on a rainy day tour perhaps), several packages of Lance Nabs (their half-life is decades), salt, pepper, creamer (with stirrer, because McDonald’s is cutting back), a hair pick (for maximum teasing), a rain jacket (that was my dad’s), a small, black clutch with rhinestones on it (you never know when you’re gonna get that unexpected call to attend a formal event), a fanny pack, pliers, M & Ms, pens, pencils, a typewriter (exaggerating!), and of course… hand cream.

That is not all, that’s just all I can remember.

I have never seen so much stuff crammed into one little 12” x 6” pocket.

She really ought to pack the next rocket going to the space station.  They would never want for anything.

  • Tanner Tweets

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 11,934 other followers

  • Past Posts

  • Contact Us