Well, me Mam be moved in and she seems as settled as she can be with three kiddos finding her a novelty. The poor woman has no time to herself, no none but she's been very good and patient with the three whirlwinds that ambush her as soon as she appears anywhere in the house.
She also has managed to pick up three suitors in a very short period of time. The first one at the grocery store. She was all about going to an American supermarket so I took her. She got a cart and I got a cart. She insisted she needed a cart of her own, thus two instead of the one we really needed. I went to put mine back but she told me not to, because I had Tonya's shopping list I should go take care of that and she'd pretend shop for herself. I didn't ask, I just did as bidden.
We'd meet occasionally and in one aisle she had a bag of Dove white chocolate bits and that was it. I smiled and went on me way and she smiled and went on hers. At one point I caught up to her in the drink aisle. She had in her cart (besides the chocolate bits) two large packages of chicken wings, a six pack of some beer I'd never heard of, two cartons of Coke A Cola and a 12 pack of Snapple Iced Tea. As I came up to her an old man about her age also came upon her and he looked in her cart and said, "So you having a party?"
Looking rather stunned, she stammered, "Yes, yes I am."
"So looks like you have all the fixings. Chicken wings, beer, that's going to be a GOOD party."
"Oh, oh I hoop so," says she in her Irish accent, flustered and looking in her cart.
"Your husband's a lucky man," he grins.
"Oh, noo, noo, noo hoosband," she says shaking her head in adamant denial.
"So whens the party?" Asks himself.
"Oh . . . Oh . . . Wednesday," she finally says brightly, thinking Americans are a friendly lot.
"Can I come?" Asks himself.
That's when I stepped in.
"Mam's what's this then?" I said pointing to the items in her cart.
"Oh I taught I'd make ye soom of me special chicken and I bought soom beer fer ya sonny." Says she.
I looked at the old geezer and raised me baseball hat in greeting and he continued on his way getting me subtle message to move on. I tell ya!
We had a short 'discussion' on me paying for the goods in her basket but she wouldn't hear of it she wanted the 'full American supermarket experience'. So we pulled over to a checkout and I let her go first. The man doing the bagging looked like a leprechaun with dark brown hair. His eyebrows were arched in the most mischievous demonic way I'd ever seen. He shouts (because I be thinking he might be hard of hearing) at me Mam, "HELLO THERE! HOW ARE YOU TODAY? DO YOU WANT THE BEER IN A BAG OR OUT?"
Well, me Mam be used to answering one question at a time and I heard her mutter under her breath, "Oh dear me."
She smiled and looked at the checkout girl who was busy ringing up her items then back at the loud little man. She heaved a sigh and quickly said to him in a rather loud voice to match his own, "HELLO YERSEL, I BE FINE TODAY, NO LEAVE DA BEER OOT."
"OH IRISH ARE YE?" Says he with a huge smile, "ME TOO! PEOPLE FROM COUNTY CORK!"
"OH HOW NICE FER YERSEL." Says she nodding and I knew she was thinking, ugh County Cork!
He asks her about bagging this and bagging that, or keeping it out, and he's busy putting bright orange stickers on everything to indicate they've been paid and all the time he is keeping a loud and running conversation with herself and she was trying to keep up until he too asked if she were having a party but he wanted to know if she was eating all that chicken herself because if she was, he'd love to join her.
At this she turns to me and whispers, "Are dey all like dis? Or, is it da chicken?"
I smiled and shrugged for in reality I've never been accosted in the supermarket but one time and it wasn't even comparable. I had been at the checkout with heavy items, like soft drinks, fruit drinks for the kiddos and some beer for meself when I noticed the bagger was an old woman who looked like she was in her 70s. She was slowing putting the crisps and Cheetos in a bag and so I thought to help her along by putting the heavy drinks on the bottom of me cart. She stopped what she was doing, put her hands on her hips and informed me she was "very capable of doing THAT!" Oh yeah shopping in America be a whole different adventure to bringing your own bags to market and bagging yourself.
But back to me grey haired apple cheeked Irish Mam. She pulls on me sleeve and whispers up, "Do ye tip dese people fer putting da food stuffs in da baggies?"
"Oh no, no, no, no." I said quickly.
"Are ye sure?"
"Oh yes, very." I replied.
With that she returned her attention to the man ignoring that he had left a question about eating chicken lingering in the air. She paid the bill, and he asks her if she needs help getting her market items to the car. Oh no she informs him and points at me and says, "Dat's me strapping big sonny boy, he can do it." And with that she goes off with her cart leaving him looking after her, or I should say leering after her until he turned to look at me and start bagging me items.
"FINE WOMAN THAT!" He says to me, "YOU VISITING FROM THE OLD SOD OR LIVE NEARBY?"
Well, I wasn't telling him where we lived, so I said SHE was visiting and I lived in Vermont. Thought to do some shopping on this side of the border. Like he believed THAT.
I got out of there and got to the car. Me Mam had finished putting all her wares in the boot as I came up. She wanted to know if she could drive the car as she wanted to experience the great American highway. I took pause.
"You do know they don't drive on the right side of the road here, they drive on the other?"
"Of course I knoo dat, so give over the keys and I will be careful." She said.
I reluctantly handed over the keys as I finished putting me items in the boot and she went to familiarise herself with the dashboard. I did all this packing up food items slowly trying to think of a way to get the keys back and get her in the passenger seat. But I could think of nothing she couldn't argue me out of. Oi!
Well, after many seat and mirror adjustments she got herself situated and carefully she backed out and got to the service road and she was fine, then to the highway and she got into the slow lane and she was fine with that too. She informed me we needed petrol and should she stop at the petrol station she could see up ahead. I said yes and that the gas tank was on me side and to just pull in. The station was one of the few that was not self service so I stayed in the car as the attendant came around and he looked in and smiled at me Mam. He was a little younger than her, but he didn't seem to notice an age difference as he said, "Hello lovely lady what can I get for you?"
Not expecting THAT she giggled the silly woman, and then looked at me and asked, "Regular?"
I nodded and she said "regular" and the attendant went to put the gas nozzle in. But then he came back to chat and the smile was one of infrequent teeth, but me Mam made not to notice and they were talking about the weather when he suddenly asks, "Did you say you cut hair?"
"Uh . . . noo, I did not." She answered a wee bit flustered.
"Oh I thought the last time you were in you said you were a hairdresser."
"Dis be me first time here." She informed him.
"Oh? I could have sworn . . . anyway the gal cut my hair cut it too short," says he running a greasy hand through very short cropped hair. "You can see my bald spot." He shook his head in disapproval.
I won't bore you with the give and take that went back and forth on the haircut that was got so he'd look good when he went to a gun show. Did she like guns, oh she supposed so. I sat there thinking I didn't just hear that, but I did. Was she new to the neighbourhood, well yes, yes she was she was still moving in. OH was she now? Well, if she needed help he'd be glad to run over and help her unpack. Yeah I bet he would. I tell ya!
Well, we laughed about the three pickup artists and I looked at her and thought, you know she doesn't look her age and she's kinda of a cutie even if she is me Mam.
"So which one of those guys is the new man in your life?" I asked half jokingly.
"Och! Notta one. I be done wit men, never again, I be strictly me own woman and I don't need a man!" She protested with I will say a lot of Irish vigour. "Besides I be livin' in a hoose wit tree young boyos and den dere be yer grown self. Dat be quite enough."
I had to chuckle to meself, she be a strong woman and a wilful one. I don't think I have to worry about her with all these "friendly" American men. She'll get the hang of it soon enough. But how is it these guys can sense a single woman without having ever seen her before?
Like she said there are a lot of old geezers in the world, oversexed, overrated, and more ready for the undertaker than they know. Trying to capture their youth she says, while she'd rather enjoy her family and grow old gracefully. I think she's on to something there.
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