If you know me in real life, you know I love to tell stories. I get that from Mom. She was always telling stories. Maybe it was her Cajun French heritage. Maybe it was because she was born on April Fools Day; that fact itself can lead to unique personality characteristics, right?
Some of her best and most surprising ones were told around two years before she died. Her short-term memory was slowly deteriorating but her memory of younger days was crystal clear.
The most surprising story I heard was related to how she and Dad met. I knew it was at work, but during one of my visits in 2003 she told me how she got the job there. Short version: she met a friend on the street while shopping and the friend gave her the job lead.
She had stories about her youth on a farm near the Mississippi River, south of Baton Rouge. She and her sisters used to play in the cow dung. Her Dad owned a grocery store and he was the life of the social scene in their rural area. A book was even written about the extended family and there is a chapter on him.
Mom had stories about “the War”, the Depression, building the house we grew up in, her friends, her tennis dates with Dad. She told and retold family stories and sprinkled them with her opinions. She told the tale of a road trip to Mexico with her parents and some of the siblings in the 1940s; six people on a three-week Louisiana/Texas/Mexico vacation in a car with no air conditioning on the pre-Interstate road system.
I often think about Mom when I’m telling or writing a story. And of course I think about her on her birthday. April 1st is a hard date to forget. It may be April Fool’s Day but she was no fool.