Tag Archives: mama

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

Howdy, y'all. I'm down here in Georgia again, doing my weekend with the 'rents. I've been taking copious notes about the Scrabble games Mama and I have been playing, hoping to give a good long report. That will, however, have to be at a later date. I've let the day get away from me, and now need to go watch Band of Brothers with the folks (for the third or fourth time). So I will entertain you with two tidbits from Mama.

I always get a big charge out of making Mama laugh. So I was extremely pleased to coax a big ol' chuckle out of her when I commented on her Scrabble word "coma." "Isn't that what goes along with a period and a question mark?" I asked. She knew exactly what I was talking about and grinned like a possum up a gum stump, to borrow a bluegrass expression (so I will have at least mentioned the word "bluegrass" in this blog!)

Later on the afternoon help came in, bearing gifts in the form of candy. She had three packages, one each of Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, Almond Joys, and Snickers, each with 10 or 12 small personal size candy bars in them. She said to Mama and me, "Pick which ever one is your favorite." Mama picked Snickers. Rhonda gave her THE WHOLE PACK. That was what I was going to pick, so I said, "That's my favorite too." So Rhonda said we could share that package and walked back to the TV room to let Daddy pick. As soon as she was out of sight Mama said, matter of factly, "You did us out of a whole line of candy." And I thought, "Durned if I didn't! I should have picked one of the others whether I wanted it or not!" Clever girl, our Mama.

And that's all you get for a nickel. Gotta go watch TV. I'll be sitting on the couch right between Mama and Daddy. And I'm guessing Mama and I will be munching on a Snickers!

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

(See Blog of September 6 for disclaimer re grammar.)

I just got back from seeing my folks on my monthly trip to Georgia. I’ve mentioned before that both my parents, who are 84 and 84, have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Thanks to some wonderful new meds, Aricept and Namenda, they are both still hanging in there.

Mama, especially, was having a very good weekend and before I left today for the 9 hour drive back we played a game of Scrabble. She beat me! By a substantial margin! I can’t say I was trying my hardest, but I wasn’t slacking off much, either. Early on, I was reading out the score and I said, with some surprise, “You’re ahead of me!”

She says, “The lead is where I like to be.”

I will try to describe for you her most excellent play because I am so happy she thought of it. (Get out your pencils and paper...and that’s the only time you’ll hear me say that!)

She had, early on, put down the word “filth,” which was played vertically. Then I had crossed “filth” at the “h” with “white.” Later, I’d used the “w” of “white” to make “wring,” also vertically. (Got that written down?) So, here comes Mama, armed with an “f” and a “y”. She puts the “f” in front of the “r” in “wring.” She then adds the “y” on the other side  to make “fry.” And by doing that she also ends up with “filthy” for a nice fat score! I said, “Mama, you’re killing me!”

“Good,” she says. “Good, good, good.”

Then there was this. She is thinking really hard about her next play. I’m over there reading the Scrabble dictionary and I hear her say something, but I couldn’t understand what it was and didn’t think much of it.

She looks up and says, “Did I just say damn?”

I say, “I don’t know.” (I’ve never heard my mother cuss in my life.)

She says, “If I did, I take it back.”

I say, “If you really want to take it back, you’d have to say it backwards.”

She says, “That would be ‘mad’.” (Which is pretty impressive, I think.)

However, I am a stickler, so I say, “Actually that would be ‘n-mad’.” But by then she has moved on and I wish I hadn’t made that slight correction. Who cares?

For all practical purposes the game was over when she used the “q” on the triple word score to make “que” and racked up 36 points. (Yes, I know “que” is not a word and that the real word is “queue” but our family has been using “que” for “queue” ever since I conned my younger sisters into believing it was spelled that way.)

On her final turn, Mama used up all her letters and went out. When I totaled up the final score it was 310 to 214. I said, “Mama, you beat me!”

She replied, “Too bad. I’m so sorry.”

But I knew she wasn’t! And I wasn’t either. It was a wonderful game, and I have a wonderful Mama! You go, Mama Pajama!

Murphy Henry(Note: Nothing about banjo today. And it is only by the sheerest luck that the word “bluegrass” appears at all!)

Thanks to Red for blogging for me yesterday. I got back from my Georgia weekend with the folks around 9 p.m., and it was either blog or watch True Blood on HBO. So.....

Wynk Hicks, aka Mama, aka Grandmother

Wynk Hicks, aka Mama, aka Grandmother

I think I’ve mentioned before that both of my parents have Alzheimer’s disease. We’ve been lucky to be able to keep them at home, and late last year we moved to round-the-clock help. One of the five daughters (or Casey) spends every weekend with them, so the help gets a break and we get to visit with our parents. On Sunday, as I was helping Mama get dressed (while singing “Put your little foot, put your little foot, put your little foot right in...”, and thereby proving, once again, that there is a bluegrass song for every occasion) I told her, “This is my day to wait on you hand and foot.” She immediately replied, “I wish I could think of something strenuous for you to do.” At 84, she’s still got an occasional snappy comeback.

After she got dressed, she was feeling so perky that we decided to play a game of Scrabble. She was playing well until the end, when she put down the word (and I use the term loosely) “goasth.” “What’s that?” I asked. “I don’t know,” she said. “I just put it down ‘cause I had those letters.” At with that I figured it was quitting time!

Earlier, she’d tickled me with her definition of “cardiac arrest.” (We’d been talking about the death of Michael Jackson.) Trying to get my doctor dad involved in the conversation, I asked him what cardiac arrest was. He declined to answer so Mama piped up, “It’s when a policeman comes in and arrests your heart!” I thought that was so funny I wrote it down.

I’m always writing down things she says now and when I was asking her if any of us had been fussy babies, she replied, “No, you were all quiet.” She then added, with deadpan humor, “It was all my fault. I affected you beautifully.” And she must have. We love her dearly.

Murphy HenryToday as I write this, January 21, is my mama’s birthday. She is 84 years old and just as cute as she can be with her snow white hair and her still beautiful complexion. She’s not as tall as she used to be (who is?), but she can still play a mean game of Scrabble and Chinese checkers, neither of which demands a great deal of height!

Mama was my introduction to music, as many mothers are, rocking and singing me to sleep when I was a baby. Of course, I don’t actually remember that, but I saw her do the same thing with my four younger sisters, and I figured she’d had to learn it somewhere, which was by practicing on me!

What did she sing? Songs that were popular in her youth: “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “K-A-L-A-M-A-Z-O-O,” “Missouri Waltz,” “Three Little Fishes” (with that wonderful line “boop, boop, didem, dahdem, whatem, choo!), “Shine On Harvest Moon,” and our all time favorite, one that started out, “There’s a little cabin where the honeysuckle twines....” (Casey recorded that as a banjo instrumental on her CD Real Women Drive Trucks.)

She also sang kids songs like “Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch,” “Billy Boy,” “Bye O Baby Bunting,” “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain,” “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad,” and “Rock-a-By Baby” (which I never liked, what with the bow breaking and the cradle falling). And since we were raised Baptist, “Jesus Loves Me” was also hot on the charts, and was the first song I learned to sing.

Singing has always been a big part of my life and I attribute that to Mama. She didn’t play an instrument but she sure seemed to know a lot of songs. When she was sick just before Christmas, my sisters and I all gathered at the house to be with her, and we entertained her (and ourselves) by singing for her. We were trying to pull out all the old songs and in addition to the ones I’ve already mentioned we sang tunes like “My Gal’s a Corker, She’s a New Yorker,” “K-K-K Katy,” “Down By the Old Mill Stream,” “Jesus Loves The Little Children,” “Reuben, Reuben, I’ve Been Thinking,” and “My Tall Silk Hat.” And all the Christmas carols we could think of.

So, I guess there’s no real point to this, other than to say thank you, Mama, for inadvertently pointing me in a musical direction. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY, OLD PIE!