Rushville Republican

Columns

July 3, 2014

Mum Mum

If my grandmother were alive today, she would be 125, and she would still, no doubt, be walking around in her six-inch-high heels, the ones she asked to be buried in—and she’d have a Marlboro in her fingers. She demanded to be called Mum Mum because the term “grandma” suggested an older woman. That wasn’t going to work.

She smoked two packs a day, had a few shots of Johnnie Walker Black before noon and then would ask her doctor if she could put cream in her coffee, “or would that be too much cholesterol for a women of my age?” Not that she ever told anyone her age, but my previous estimate is in the ballpark.

Which reminds me: She loved baseball. She never missed a Mets game on TV. She knew the number of each player and their batting averages, but she really didn’t fully understand the sport. I once took her to Shea Stadium, but due to traffic we were almost an hour late. The scoreboard showed it was a scoreless game. “Oh good,” she said, “we didn’t miss anything.”

Mum Mum was hard of hearing due to a childhood illness, and she was always adamant that her disability was not due to age. During meals at our house she spent a lot of time saying: “Speak more clearly!” “Don’t Shout.” “Enunciate.” During the inevitable family spat, my father would sometimes whisper under his breath: “She can be such a pain in the butt.”

“You’re a pain in the butt, too,” she’d shout back. Yes, Mum heard exactly what she wanted to hear and nothing more.

She and my mother were always fighting on the phone. And, it was even harder for Mum Mum to hear when she couldn’t see the person talking. My irritated Mom could not successfully make a point without having to repeat herself several times. Once when I was a teenager, my mother slammed the receiver down in frustration. Half an hour later when I tried to call a friend, Mum Mum was still on the line, ranting, unaware she had been talking to no one.

Text Only
Columns
  • Spying ways to have vacation fun I have a neighbor named John Campbell, and I am suddenly EXTREMELY suspicious of him.It all started with our summer vacation to Maryland. We made several excursions into Washington, D.C. from our “base camp” in Annapolis. In fact, of the five days we

    July 29, 2014

  • I expect them to do nothing Which crisis is at the top of the list this week? Is it the IRS scandal, the VA scandal, the fighting in Gaza, the emergence of ISIS as a deadly power in the Middle East, the intentional shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 which killed nearl

    July 29, 2014

  • Word of advice So, what’s the word? Really, what is the word? With over 250,000 words in the English language, you’d think there would be a word for just about everything. Not so. Therefore, I am on a crusade to find a term for some everyday occurrences for which t

    July 29, 2014

  • There's something about Maryland My family unit has just returned from a death march – oops, make that, “vacation” – in Annapolis, Maryland. In spite of constant 96-degree temps (though it dropped as low as 95.7 at night), and the stifling humidity, we had lots of dolgurn fun. Mainl

    July 22, 2014

  • Learning to say goodbye From as far back as I can remember, saying hello has been a part of nearly each day.During my youth, it was used when I met new people my parents introduced me to and was frequently followed by a handshake. I couldn’t count the number of times I used

    July 18, 2014

  • Lessons from the largely forgotten war As we approach the official date on which the First World War started, July 28, 1914, when the first shots were fired by the Austro-Hungarians who invaded Serbia, it’s appropriate to think about the lessons that catastrophic event has taught us one h

    July 15, 2014

  • Please go away My wife is planning our summer vacation, which we will take in the fall. We took our spring vacation this summer. We got behind in 1984 and still haven’t caught up. I don’t have much input into the planning of these trips, but Mary Ellen did assign m

    July 15, 2014

  • Soothing '60's Surf Sounds I’m sitting in my home office enjoying a serenade of rhythmic pulsations emanating from the outside wall. It’s coming from our water spigot. No. 5 son (age 13) and his buddies are using it to fill water balloons. 1,500 water balloons to be exact. 1,5

    July 15, 2014

  • Soccer-stopping Storm a Lousy Treat What a great way to spend a Saturday morning in July: I’m sitting in my car with rain cascading on the roof, lightning skittering all over the sky, and thunder sockin’ it to the atmosphere with such force that I feel a rumbling in my bum.I’m staring

    July 8, 2014

  • Only in America - Top 10 As we move into the glorious months of summer, I thought you might be amused by reading the Top Ten List of what Canadians supposedly think of how things are going in this country. It’s a lot like David Letterman’s “top ten list.”Number 10: Only in A

    July 8, 2014