I don’t know whether I’m more thankful that she has put up with my father all these years – though, Lord knows, she deserves sainthood for that one; too bad we don’t have that in the Methodist tradition. No, I suppose it’s partly because she put up with all of us kids for all these years.
My mother was born and raised in Athens. She often tells about the day she met my father. He was a student over at the University of - How Bout Them Dawgs – Georgia and had a friend who was dating a friend of hers. The two guys drove up in my father’s blue convertible and my mother was smitten. Not with Daddy – with the car.
“I didn’t think he was all that great, but I really did like the car,” she often recalls. “It was worth going out with him to get to ride in that convertible.” Must’ve been some ride - they’ve been married for, lo, unto these 68 years – positively an eternity with Haase Arnold and some of the stunts he’s been known to pull.
A few years back, Mother realized her hearing was not what it used to be. When it reached the point we couldn’t even talk about somebody at a family reunion without having to speak so loudly the subject could hear the comment, we decided it would be a good idea for her to have a hearing test. Sure enough, hearing assistance appliances were warranted.
Mother approached her new best friends with some degree of trepidation. She just wasn’t sure she could get accustomed to them, but her audiologist assured her she would adjust in time. She cautioned Mother that the world had become a very noisy place over the past decade or so while her hearing had been declining. There would be sounds she had either never heard or had not heard in quite some time. So on a cold February day, I took Mother to pick up her new hearing aids.
The doctor’s office was understandably quiet – no sudden noises there. When we stepped into the parking lot, though, the compressor for the five-story building’s heating system was cranked up full blast.
“What’s that?” Mother exclaimed. Then she heard the gas blower a gardener was using. “Have those always been that loud?” Then she dissolved into absolute wonder that she could hear so many things she had forgotten about.
We drove a few blocks to the physical therapist’s office at Joan Glancy Hospital where my father would have just finished at a doctor’s appointment. He was sitting in the waiting room when I went in to get him out to the car.
“Well, how’s your mother liking her new hearing aids,” he smiled filled with certainty that she was going to hate them.
“All I know is you are in deep kimshee,” I replied. “Now she can hear all that crap you’ve been mumbling under your breath the last fifteen years.”
He didn’t believe me. That she would suddenly have restored hearing just could not be, so he decided to test her. During the ride back to Winder, he talked with her, but wasn’t too surprised that she could hear him in the confines of the car. Once we got home,though, he thought he’d put her new independence to the acid test. He waited until she was busy looking for a video on top of the television set playing FOX News – noise plus preoccupation would equal hearing failure.
Barely above a whisper, he said, “Evelyn, can you hear me?”
She whipped around with her trademarked deadeye expression, left eyebrow cocked up into her hairline. “Yeah, I hear you, so you’d better watch yourself, Buster.” And, with that, she was off to her kitchen to make him some hemlock tea.
“Oh, man, I’m done for.” There haven’t been many times in my lifetime that C.H. has been at a loss for words. This had to be one of the better ones; my mother doesn’t put one over on him often.
As my mother celebrates her birthday this week, I am so grateful she put up with my father’s antics at least long enough for them to have a daughter after three sons. She displays increasing wisdom with the passing years and is still the most beautiful woman in Winder; the one all the boys wolf-whistled over when she came into Frances Pearson’s third grade classroom. She makes the best vegetable soup in the world and we drive each other nuts. But she’s my mother and for that I am eternally thankful.
Helen Person is a Winder resident and columnist for the Barrow Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sorry I'm just now looking at this - I don't play on the blogs very often.
My mother is Evelyn Arnold. My father is Haase Arnold who owned City Pharmacy in downtown Winder from 1945 - 1989.
Thanks for reading - and be sure to enjoy your memories if not your parents :)