The Original

One of a kind

Larger than life


Recurring descriptions on sympathy cards covered in flowery words

Kindnesses and thoughts from those left behind

She was an original

She wasn’t allowed to drive due to seizures

But she bought a tiny yellow Smart Car đźš— for me to drive her around in and named it Buttercup

Her numerous doctors appointments were filled with her bragging about her Buttercup. She would get doctors and techs to come outside to see her Buttercup. The eyelashes my uncle put on drew all manner of attention. She, who otherwise was a more solitary being, loved and delighted in the attention Buttercup drew. People waved, stared, smiled and honked. People waved us over to ask about Buttercup. At the gas station, without fail, everyone wanted to know gas mileage and factoids.

She loved Buttercup and was always praising her for her looks and charm while I was cursing the horrible engineering that jarred my kidneys over every small bump. Not to mention the railroad tracks, bridge transitions, and potholes. French people should stick to making wine and cheese I would tell her. She would defend that Buttercup like a mother cub and hated my insults. Last month she made me get a license plate that said “BTTRKUP”- I had just installed it on our last scenic.

Her hair was a huge disappointment to her. As it thinned from over-processing and with age she was in constant distress over her “bald spot”. Every outing started with coaxing those remaining strands of hair into an illusion of lusciousness. Only my sister, a hairdresser, could pull off that magic trick. Then I would have to spray VO5 until I was gasping for air. It is the smell of my childhood – hairspray and Coty Wild Musk.

She loved loved loved bling and coordinated outfits. The collection of earrings we gathered from around the world was astounding. Funky. Dangling. Shiny. Butterflies. Ladybugs. Feathers. Tacky. Holiday themes. Nothing was too snazzy for her.

She had shoes in every color to match her outfits and loved to put little tiny clippies all over in her perfectly coiffed hairdo.

Rhinestones and ripped jeans. V-neck T-shirt’s in every color – Plus tie dye.

No one was their own name. We were all interchangeable in our real names but nicknames were all our own. Melissa. Pete. Oodie. Bunny. Gina. Booboo.

Shopaholic in those catalogs in the mail. Collections. Oriental trading. Piles and piles of amazing things that everyone needs and apparently didn’t even know you wanted– the possibility of owning a gun shaped toilet plunger should delight any redneck in the family. And if she knew you liked a certain thing it became her mission to purchase any possible item in that category. I like strawberries and have had that theme in mind for my kitchen since I was 12. She bought fairy strawberries. Twice. She bought a knife holder strawberry. Salt and pepper strawberries. Everything strawberries. She collected chickens. 25 years ago she worked in a hatchery and thus began the quest to own any item with a chicken motif. Years and years friend and relations poured their hearts into chickens. My aunt has a horse. My mom was set on the idea that this translates to wanting anything with a horse design. My aunt would disagree and this befuddled my mom’s way of thinking. She bought Superman socks for one of my coworkers because he was so sweet and he kinda looked like Superman. And Batman socks with capes on them for another who runs marathons because she thought that would inspire him to run better. Not.

She was humiliating – telling all her doctors that I was so smart and then arguing if I tried to interpret her rants and round about stories filled with all her nonsense words for them. She called out to strangers thinking they were someone she knew. So many times. It was embarrassing. She loved sayings that were inappropriate or off the wall. “Colder than a witches hoohoo” – bring just the tip of an iceberg. Saying words incorrectly on purpose brought her great joy. Brefkast. Really?

She could peel a ten pound bag of potatoes in minutes and was in a constant search for the ultimate spud peeling knife. Absolutely refused a vegetable peeler. And she diced those spuds into perfect cubes and fried them up for everyone.

Potato salad and baked beans. Pasta salad and macaroni and cheese. The staples of every bbq or feast. Cookies cakes and pies. Yum!

She got into certain “kicks” with food. I was in charge of groceries and she would go for weeks at a time wanting specific cereal or bread or whatever. The most recent was Raisin Bran with bananas. Before that it was frosted mini wheats tiny bites Only!! Groceries were a subject of contention with us. I celebrate instacart and click list as if they were nobel prize material. She despised that she couldn’t go pick out her own groceries. Constantly complaining about the size -flavor -color -quality -brand of everything.

She suffered with pain, seizures, arthritis, uncontrolled hypertension and poor nutrition choices. She fought the doctors and nurses. She adored the receptionist at the nephrologist. She could be rude or take them in like family. No matter what she was in charge.

One of a kind original. Gooie. My mom.


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