July 18, 2008

Mama's Vices

Actually, they weren't vices, Mama just had a little temptation a time or two.

For years, she told a story about slipping some of her mother's snuff as a child. When it made her sick, she slipped off to the watermelon patch and burst open a watermelon and ate some, which made her feel better. You would have thought that was a lesson she wouldn't forget.

Years later, she had another snuff story to tell. Older, living alone, she received a sample of snuff in the mail. One cold night, she was sitting by the fire and thought about how old folks used to say how much company snuff was. Mrs. Vencie, Mama's cousin who frequently visited with us for a few days, dipped snuff and always had her little black gum 'toothbrush' with her. So. Mama took out the sample of snuff, which would have been better dropped in the trash with the junk mail, and placed a bit between her lip and gum. Shortly, she was out on the back porch, sicker than a dog, lying on the floor. She said, "At first I was afraid I would freeze to death, and then I hoped I would, and soon."

Even funnier were her experiments with alcohol. She and Daddy went to eat supper with his daughter Frances and her husband, Lyle. Lyle opened a beer for himself and Daddy Mack, and being funny, opened one for her. Mama would never let anybody get the best of her or embarrass her. She took the offered beer and drank the whole bottle. It was never mentioned in my hearing about how funny the supper may have turned out.

Years later, she and Mrs. Ethel Morgan went to a really fancy wedding over at Athens. Mrs. Ethel was Mama's Sunday School teacher.

Champagne was served at the reception. I have to tell this in Mama's voice:
"Mrs. Ethel and I talked it over. We realized that at our age, we might never again have the opportunity to taste champagne. So we decided that just this one time, it would be all right if we each had one glass."
"Well, Mama, what did you think?" I asked.
"Oh, it was so good, we each had another glass."


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