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 Topics
 
Related Articles
 
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
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions