Friday, February 5, 2010


Lucy Ethel

Every year when February is finally over, I swear that the next time it rolls around that I will crawl into bed, cover my head and stay there until March 1st.  But I don’t.  As the rest of the year rolls on, the memory of February’s pain and general stinkiness wanes and when it does arrive the next year………I am taken by surprise and caught in its clutches again.  It just kinda sneaks up on me.  February is a very sneaky month.

Tomorrow marks the sixth anniversary of the day my mother, Lucy, died.  It doesn’t seem possible.  She is still, and I guess always will be, a very real presence in my life.  As much as I loved her, I never imagined that I could miss her this much.  It’s the little things that find me in a puddle.  And it’s the little things that make me smile and remember with warm, wet tears streaming down my face that my family was blessed with an extraordinary gift from God.  She taught us well, kept us in check, and straightened us out when we found ourselves on a crooked path.

Thanks, Lucy!  You were the BEST!

To help me wipe away the moisture leaking from my eyes as I write this, I thought I would bring you another Lucy story.  My previous Lucy stories showed you her wit but Lucy was smart too.  Clever, clever, clever.  Allow me to demonstrate:

The following story was told to me by my mother’s dear friend on the day of Lucy’s memorial service in Indiana. 

When my parents first retired, they bought a place in Florida and would spend the winters in the land of the sunshine and their summers in Indiana.  The best of both worlds, right?  Turns out…..not so much.  You see, when you neglect a property for six months of the year, it takes the next six months  to get it back up to par.  Retirement was hard work and they realized they were “doing it wrong”.   And so they decided to take the leap.  They would sell the house in Indiana and make their permanent residence in the sunshine state.
This created a whole new problem.  Even with two households, storage was a problem for my packrat mother.  My father put his foot down and insisted that she downsize their “stuff”.  Everyone accumulates stuff over the years but my mother was a master in this field.  The woman had STUFF.
Knowing that the task at hand was larger than herself, she gathered her friends together to help her.  As she sorted things, she would tell this one to “put this in that pile.”  She would tell another friend “to put this in that pile.”  And so it went.  She threw out a lot. She gave away a lot.  But slowly her friends realized that she was still keeping way more than what my father was allowing.  “Lucy, he’s never going to let you take all this stuff to Florida.”  She told them, “Never mind about that, just box up that pile over there.” 

And so it continued.  For days, my mother and her friends would sort through her belongings.  Each time someone would gently remind her that she was supposed to be downsizing, she would wave them away saying, “Don’t worry about that.  Just box up that pile over there for me.” 

When the very last box was sealed, she piled the ones that would go to Florida in one corner and then she looked at her friend, who I will call Hellen……because that is her name, and said, “Hellen, you take the rest of the boxes to your house and put them in your barn.  I have a plan.”

Now when you’re from Indiana and you move to Florida, people will come.  “People will come, Ray.  People will most certainly come.”  (Movie, anyone???)  And people did come.  Among the friends and family members who came to visit every year was Hellen and her family. 


Each time my mother heard that Hellen and her family were coming to Florida, she would instruct Hellen which box to collect from her barn and bring to Florida.  One by one, visit by visit, my mother had every single one of those boxes delivered to her and Daddy never knew a thing.  That is until the day of the memorial service when Hellen shared the story with us.  I love this story.  I love it for so many reasons.  I love how it shows just how truly clever Lucy was.  I love the covertness of it all.  And I really love Hellen for giving it to us when we needed it the most.  It gave a smile and a warm memory to comfort me when I’m feeling blue like I am today.

Thanks, Hellen. 

I love you, Mom.  I miss you more everyday.

Dear readers, if you are still here, thank you for sharing this memory with me as I work through my feelings and therapize myself.  And I do feel better now, thank you very much.

If you would like to read more Lucy stories, just type Lucy in that little search widget in the top left corner of this page.  I’m too lazy to link them all.

Patrick has a new update on the Hope for Haiti blog.  Click here to read.

Smart Mouth Broad


Snappy Di said...

What a character she was. Where there's a will there's a way to outsmart a man. LOL

The Blue Ridge Gal

Tresa said...

Oh my, this post made me cry. Thank you for sharing. I'll be thinking about you and wishing you peace of heart.

Jan said...

Oh, I am still here. And I am smiling as well as weeping a little over this post.

It's been twelve years since my mother died on December 29; we had her memorial service and cremation on New Years Day. The first couple of years after she left us, the holidays were very hard for us because of that. Then I realized Mom would have HATED that, and I could hear her chiding me, "Don't you do that. Don't you DO that." So I no longer grieve at that time of year; I just remember and love.

only a movie said...

I hope you feel better and more therapized. I understand how the little things can be the triggers. Love this story.


Brian Miller said...

a wonderful memory and tribute...mothers are so special. thoughts and prayers...

Homesick Cajun said...

Aww honey I'm so sorry! I lost my Mom too...that ache to have her still here with me hasn't gone away! I miss her every single day! I wish I could just pick up the phone...

Your Mom sounds like she was feisty but a hell of a lot of fun to be around!

Hugs boo!

Life in the mom lane said...

Great post- your mom sounds like she was awesome! *hugs*

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

I love your Lucy stories; she was quite the character. I'll have to keep this one in the back of my mind in case I need to use her tactic one day. I'm sorry this is such a sad time. We never really get over some losses, do we? We just learn to live with them.
Sending good thoughts and hugs.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

How lucky you were to have Lucy as your mother. To be raised by someone who has such a sparkling and unforgetable personality is a precious gift. Not everyone is so fortunate. Thanks for sharing Lucy with all of us. She lives on in the stories you tell of her and in you.

Cristin said...

ack. that's what i say when something is too sweet for words.


otin said...

They will most definitely come Ray! Through it all it has always been baseball! One of my all time favorites! Just like you! I hope that no one bailed out on your recollection, and I am pretty sure that they would not. It is stories like these that make me glad that you came back to this. If Lucy was anything like her daughter, then she was a pretty wonderful woman. It is good to be sad sometimes, it means that we remember people, it is when the sadness ends that we should worry. Hang in there friend, March is coming!

Duchess said...

I always love your Lucy stories. And it is such a pretty, old fashioned name.

I guess February will always be a hard month for you. I am so lucky to have my mother still.

GregoryJ said...

I'll be back to read more about Lucy. I'm sure I'll love her.

Thank you for sharing this story.
Goes to show that we men don't have a clue; not when a woman is involved no matter how long we've been married to them. 28 years for me and I'm still a duh.

The Lone Star Queen said...

So that's where you get your wit and brains. What a remarkable woman she must have been. I hope February won't be too hard for you this year. Thank you for sharing such a heart warming story...Hugs

suzicate said...

Awesome story...every great woman knows how to outsmart her man without him ever being the wiser!

midlifeslices said...

My good friend calls me Lucy and therefore she is Ethel and I never fail to think of your Lucy at those times.

The nut sure didn't fall far from THAT tree, my dear. It's such a tribute to your mom that you miss her so much. Me, I didn't have one from age 6 so I never really had anything to miss but when my dad goes......oh dear. How will I ever survive? Oh yeah, it will be because I have a friend such as yourself. HUGS.

Pastor Sharon said...

Oh dearest, what a sweet way to remember your clever mother!

She sounds very much like my mother-in-law in Brazil, South America. One by one, a trunk is brought to the jungle for the past 10 years with all her "favorite" things.

I just keep wondering what are they doing with all those trunks? Do they store them somewhere for when they return to the states? YIKES!

Arkansas Patti said...

Wonderful story SMB and I am looking forward to other "Lucy" stories. DNA cannot be denied.
Our parents never really leave us do they?
Let February be a time to think lovely, fun thoughts like these.

Tessa said...

Lucy will never be gone while you're still around to recreate her memory so vividly. She sounds like a sweet, clever Mom and you were both lucky to have each other. xo

Leasa said...

Lucy lives through you. You are Lucy. Peace and love to you.

Barbara said...

Lovely post. It made me smile and wish I had known your mom.

Heather said...

Awesome, she was a very clever woman.

Hope you are feeling better.

Fragrant Liar said...

Aw, I love that story. Big hugs to you, SMB. I know how hard it must be.


Oz Girl said...

I love the stories about your mom... what a smart lady! And a very special one too. I'm so sorry that February sucks for you... sending all my hugs along with everyone else. Maybe we can lift you up just a lil bit. :)

Jason, as himself said...

Yes! Very clever, very covert. Which is how one must be at times when one is married, right?

Great story.

Sandy said...

A beautiful tribute to what sounds like a very special lady. I'm sure she would be thrilled that you are sharing her stories with so many.

croneandbearit said...

I wish that I had been given the blessing of having a Lucy in my life but sadly I lost my mom while I was a tender age and grew up with a stepMom who tried but it just wasn't the same. I am so happy for you that you had Lucy in your life and have these wonderful, loving memories you can bring out and visit whenever you like. She truly was one of a kind. Thanks for sharing - it certainly gave me a warm feeling in my own heart! MUAH!

Tony Letts said...

our memories keep our loved ones alive after they go

Yvette said...

What a great story!

It put a smile on my face and a tear to my eye. She sounds like she was a hoot.