MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER
Mom was born in November and I was born in May, so there were some differences in our personalities, but I have been told many times, "Mais, cher, you are just like your mama!" And I like to think that it's true. Most of the time Mom was very calm and matter-of-fact.
To her a thing was either black or white. She didn't have much use for "gray." In that way, my sister "Dee" (also November-born) was the most like Mom. But one of my children once told a friend, "You should meet my mother. She's one laid-back lady!" so I think I have a lot of my mother's qualities, too.
I remember seeing my mother really mad only once. Dee had married her big tall Texan named Graydon Plummer in February, and the following October he brought her home to Perry so she could be with our mother when she had their baby.
Their daughter was born exactly nine months to the day from their wedding date. An old neighbor, Mrs. Baudoin ("Ping" Baudoin's mother) came to visit the new baby, bringing a silver dime, the traditional gift for a new baby. She was barely seated when she began counting on her fingers, saying "Let's see - February, March, April, May . . . ." and that's as far as she got. Mom interrupted her, saying, "Mrs. Baudoin, here is your dime, you know what you can do with it. You are never to come into my house again!" And Mrs. Baudoin never did! Can't say I blame her, because Mom was a regular she-bear when it came to protecting her children.
Good things seem to balance out the bad, though. Mr. Elie LeBlanc lived across the bayou from us on a beautiful farm. The land sloped gently down from the levee from the house to the bayou. It was so pretty! Neither Mr. Elie or his two sisters who lived with him in the old family home were married. Mr. Elie used to invite the neighborhood children over to see his red, white and blue horse, a red and white paint pony. What Mr. Elie called "blue" was a faint border around the red spots that really looked blue. The old sisters served us cold lemonade and homemade cookies. They were really friendly neighbors.
In addition to calves, sheep and fowl of all sorts, Mr. Elie raised pigeons One day soon after Dee's baby was born, he called out to me to come over in my pirogue. He had a gift for the "novelle 'tite mere." He had dressed about eight squabs and wanted to give them to Dee. Mom pot roasted those birds, and there was enough to feed the whole family.
Mr. Elie also let us go into the woods on his property to pick muscadines from which Mom made wine for the family to enjoy during the winter holidays. You can be sure he got his jug of wine, too.
Copyright © 2001 Aline T. Meaux, Abbeville, LA
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