In between my projects and blogging about them, I find myself thinking about the most cherished stories of the “old days” as told to me by my Mother. Now, I will tell you that I have said many times, that God broke the mold after creating my Mama. She is one of a kind, and she makes me laugh, soothed my aches and pains as a child, and continues soothing and healing my emotional aches and pains now that I’m an adult.
Mama was a true born Southerner and is a country bumpkin. My Mama is fun, and loves with everything she has, body, soul, spirit, and makes me laugh. My Mama is Miss Odene (pronounced O-dean)…..she will be 81 in May.
When I find it hard to be creative, stuck in a slump, feeling the “blues block”, can’t get the artistic side cranked up, I think of Miss Odene. My Mama has a knack for being one of the most creative people I’ve known. She is a fantastic mathematician, she loves the “art” of retail, one of the most self-controlled people I know, loves to dance, loves a party, and adores her children. My Mama never baked a cookie or cake that I can remember. She wasn’t a house wife, she was and still is a hard working woman, and whether she knows it or not, she is a precious Southern comedian, and so a little story, with many to follow.
Miss Odene was “next to the baby”, the second from the last in birth to Henry and Vida Brock. There were 5 girls and 2 boys. Sundays found the Brock family in church in Havana, Florida. They walked. I have never heard my Mother talked about her Daddy or Mama driving anywhere. A car was a luxury they never had. My Grandparents were married to each other, and they were married to The Depression. So, on Sundays they walked to church. Obviously from her stories, a hell fire and brimstone preaching church that would make any small child shudder to think of the consequences of “falling by the wayside”. Attending Sunday worship was not an option to her and her siblings whether her parents went with them or sent them on alone, but her parents gave what they could, and each child was given a dime, (ten cents), to put in the offering plate each week.
Now, here is one of the first signs of the “mathematician” of that small child in my opinion. After church, the family would walk back home, passing a retail establishment of some sort, famous for their ice cream, and one very special treat, the Dixie Doodle! Even at 6 or 7 years of age, Miss Odene knew the price of the enticing “Dixie Doodle”, and in order to acquire that lustful treat, it cost 5 cents, a nickel. She was too young to hold down a job, and if she did, that money would have gone into the family sugar jar for the expenses of the Brock household.
So, as the offering plate was passed around on summer Sundays, and as she pulled her dime out of her pocket and held it above the vessel of giving, the beauty of education and a small wee mathematician overwhelmed with the desire for that special treat, with no reservations as the subtraction tables whirled through her mind, that small dime was gently placed in the offering plate, and quickly a nickel snatched up, in change, and placed back in her small pocket. And as they traveled back home, barefoot and whistling, and with baffled and suspicious looks from her siblings on those hot humid summer Sundays, the nickel was proudly placed into the hand of the proprietor, payment for the Dixie Doodle, and I chuckle as I think of how many times my Mama has told me that story. The story of a child, her inner light and the genius of that little girl within, who found the where-with-all despite the threats of going to hell being shouted and reverberating throughout that clapboard church, to make change in that offering plate during those post Depression years, in order to get her beloved Dixie Doodle when walking home on those summer Sundays.
And today, I tease her each time she retells the story, and remind her that The Word, The Bible, clearly states that our offerings were to be ten percent, not TEN CENTS, much less only a nickel, and we laugh, giggle, shed a few tears for those innocent days, and once again with her tales of ole’, she made me laugh, and she healed, for it a sure thing, that laughter itself is the best medicine.