Mama and the Neighbors

When I was in my early 20s, I lived in a duplex owned by my father. My mother lived on the other side. A green thumb was one of her attributes, evidenced by the variety of roses that covered one side of our backyard fence. Mama tended those roses every evening, wearing her usual attire of a thin nylon moo-moo type house-dress. That may seem a little odd, but mama wore that thing constantly, without benefit of underwear, even to the grocery store — but that is another story.

The next door neighbors on my side of the duplex were a family of three — an older couple and their teenage grandson. Many evenings, they sat out in their backyard sipping refreshments and enjoying the night air. One such evening, I was relaxing on my couch reading a book. I had my back door open for fresh air. Suddenly I heard a shrill scream followed by an explosion of uncontrolled laughter. I jumped up to look out the door. I saw one of the neighbors’ three lawn chairs tipped over in the grass and the older man and his grandson on the ground gasping for breath and laughing so hard they could not get up. The lady was nowhere in sight.

I wondered what in the world could have been so funny and went back to my book. The hysterical laughing continued, punctuated with “I can’t believe it” and “she is crazy.” In a very few minutes, my mother appeared at my backdoor. “You won’t believe what I did” she said. I was suddenly filled with that “oh no you didn’t” feeling that I often had with my mother. “What did you do?” I asked, with dread. Her reply, in her words, was:”Well, I was out there minding my own business tending my roses. The neighbors were sitting out in their yard but I could hear that old biddy whispering and giggling and I thought she was probably talking about me. I bent down to trim some dead buds and she sang out ‘That’s a nice view SWEETIE, do you have another one?’ That just flew all over me so I turned around, bent over, upped my gown and mooned the heck out of em. Then I said back ‘how do you like that one, SWEETIE?’ She let out a war-hoop, grabbed her rolled up hair, and tumped her chair over gettin’ up and gettin’ in the house.” I looked at her with resignation. “Really mother, you mooned the neighbors?” “I guess I did” she laughed, “that could make a good Ray Stevens country song – The Day My Mother Mooned the Neighbors.”

For weeks after, if the man or his grandson saw me or my mother, they pointed, laughed hysterically, and said “that was a good one.” They had no idea. And that, my friends, gives a small window into life with my mother and some insight as to why I may seem a little offbeat. However, I can assure you that I have never mooned anyone.

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