United States: Thursdays with Mama (Shorts On Long Term Care March 2017)

Last Updated: March 6 2017
Article by Kenneth L. Burgess

Life has a rhythm, a symmetry, a meter, a metric. It's rarely smooth or perfect. It's knots and knuckles, bumps and bruises. It's rough and tumble. It sings its own song in its own time.

As a kid growing up in a small southern town in North Carolina, I lived for Saturdays. Saturdays, after we kids helped clean the house, and the grass was cut, and whatever other chore our over-worked Mama and Daddy could think up was done, it was play time. No homework, no obligations. Just play.

But as much as I lived for Saturdays, my favorite day was Thursday. On Thursdays, I'd get home from school and do my homework right away. On any given Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, I'd find any excuse to do homework later. I was a straight "A" student but, like with any kid, homework was an interruption in my after-school, weekday joys. But on Thursday, I raced home, did my homework, and waited.

About 5:30, Mama would come in from her long day's work in Rocky Mount, eight miles away, as a bookkeeper for an office supply company. She'd drive that long eight miles, bone tired, quickly change clothes, and then just she and me would drive back to town to buy our family's groceries for the week. Just me, Mama and the Big Star grocery store. I pushed the buggy and Mama shopped. It took me years to question why Mama drove eight miles home, to fetch me, just to drive back to town, a half-mile from where she worked all day, to get groceries. That must have added another two hours to her already long day.

Back then, that never crossed my mind. All I remember is waiting for Mama to get home on Thursday to pick me up and heading straight to the Big Star. We'd search for whatever was on sale. One day, we saw an old man wearing a tan raincoat – it wasn't raining. Then, we heard a commotion. Turns out that old fella tried to steal a batch of collards, hiding them under his raincoat. He got caught. Even at nine, I realized those collards couldn't have cost more than a buck, less than I made cutting the neighbor's grass.

But we had shopping to do. Our family of five depended on me and Mama to come home with food for a whole week. Every shopping day, there were certain things we had to have, unless the prices got too high. Chicken, a pot roast, carrots, potatoes, green beans, and Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup.

When I turned 16, I got a work permit which allowed me to leave my job at the fast-food restaurant and get a job where they sold beer and wine. I got a job at the Big Star. On Thursdays I'd look up from the end of the long silver sloping checkout counter where I bagged groceries from 5 until 10 p.m. and I'd see Mama coming in. She looked awful lonely without me there to help her shop. I used to wonder if she'd forget the Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup without me there to remind her. When she'd check out, she'd always get in my line. I could check her haul and make sure everything was there for Sunday lunch.

On Sundays for as long as I can remember, Mama got up early, really early, even before breakfast and started Sunday lunch before church. I'd see all the things we bought at the Big Star spread out on the kitchen counter, all waiting to become something else. Our Sunday meal was just plain scrumptious. Usually we'd have two meats — fried chicken, pork roast with potatoes and carrots, hamburger with onions, beef stew and vegetables — mashed potatoes, butter beans, field peas or, on bad Sundays, stewed tomatoes or collards. I hated those and still do. We always had Mama's biscuits and there'd be gravy to go on something.

And then dessert. If we only had two desserts, it was a slow Sunday. Chocolate pie, butterscotch pie, coconut cake, or pineapple upside down cake. At Sunday lunch, the table was quiet. The only sound you'd ever hear was the smacking of hungry mouths and our Daddy, pointing at a plate of fried chicken or mashed potatoes, saying "hmph" which we all knew meant, "pass me some more of that."

After lunch, we kids did the dishes. Daddy turned on the TV and Mama disappeared somewhere to iron or fold clothes. She was never a fan of TV.

About four o'clock on Sundays, Mama would finally join us in the big living room. She'd say, "I'm feeling hungry." That was our cue to start hitting the Sunday lunch leftovers, all neatly arranged and covered on the kitchen counter.

We'd eat and eat, snack and nibble until there was that one chicken leg or piece of roast and potato left. 'Round about 9 p.m., the snacking was over, it was getting time for bed and Monday morning school and work for Mama and Daddy. The final round of dish-washing was done and Sunday was over. I'd start thinking on Sunday nights about next Thursday when me and Mama would go to the Big Star.

To this day, as a 59-year old man, I hate Sundays after 9 p.m. I want it to be 4:00, when Mama comes into the living room and says, "I'm feelin' hungry" and we line up for seconds of chocolate pie, or coconut cake, or cold fried chicken, and watch reruns of Gunsmoke or Amos and Andy on our old black-and-white TV.

I left the old home place in 1975, headed to college, law school, then on to my career in Raleigh, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and then back to Raleigh. Over the years, I've traveled all over the world, met all kinds of people and done all kinds of things I dreamed I'd do. I reckon I did what most kids do – ran as far from home as I could get, thinking it must be better somewhere out there.

Then, I came home. Daddy's gone now. He passed in 2002. The old house has long since been sold. The old Big Star grocery store is also long gone, replaced by something else. Three years ago, I moved back to Rocky Mount and built a new house out in the county. In it lives me, two dogs, a cat, an uncle and guess who — my Mama. She has just turned 80, is going strong and still cooks the best fried chicken and gravy on earth.

I wrote this story five years ago, stuck it in a folder and forgot about it. I recently found it, dusted it off, read it and shed a few nostalgic tears. Then, I laughed. Somehow, after all my years and jobs and travels, that little kid who waited for Mama every Thursday at 5:30 to head to the Big Star, that kid who ran as far away as he could, has ended up less than 10 miles from where he started and living with Mama.

Life has a rhythm, a symmetry, a meter, a metric. It's rarely smooth or perfect. It's knots and knuckles, bumps and bruises. It's rough and tumble. It sings its own song in its own time.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Kenneth L. Burgess
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.