A Random Memory

Wandering around on a cold bright afternoon with Ollie, it often surprises me what pops into my mind.

Once my Mum was in her eighties, and could hardly see, she often spilled things down her clothes as she was eating. On occasion, I would visit her to find her sitting in a top or dress that was obviously quite badly stained. I would point this out, and offer to find her something to change into from her wardrobe. But every time she was adamant that there was nothing there, that her clothing was not stained, and she was fine as she was.

She didn’t have any loss of mental faculties at that time, so I suspect her reluctance to believe me came from a mixture of embarrassment, and natural stubbornness. One evening, I was due to take her to a restaurant to celebrate some occasion. I arrived to find her wearing a rather fancy black outfit that was quite obviously spattered with stains from what she had been eating the last time she had worn it. I mentioned that she might want to change, as many other people would be there, and might wonder why her top had so many marks on it. She became unreasonably angry, and told me that if I was that bothered, she would stay at home.

I took her as she was, feeling sad that a once elegant and immaculate lady was perfectly happy to be seen in food-stained clothes by an assortment of family and friends.

Not long after this twenty year-old memory had been in my head, I saw a fellow dog walker, with her two dogs. One of them jumped up to me a few times, leaving muddy paw prints on my trousers, and then on the sleeve of my coat. She apologised, and told her dog off for jumping up. I assured her it wasn’t a problem. “They are only my dog-walking clothes, don’t worry”.

Maybe it runs in the family?

73 thoughts on “A Random Memory

  1. My mother was like that Pete and I would whisk her jackets (she always wore one every day in case there were callers) off to the dry cleaners.. They knew me well… and the young lad behind the counter would say ‘Another of Mollie’s Jackets, don’t worry we will put it through twice and have it back to you spick and span!” I must admit that without my reading glasses I miss the odd spot too, until I am in the queue at the supermarket and it seems much larger and more visible than it really is..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post πŸ™‚ Dryly witty and insightful at the same time. A wonderful combination Pete πŸ™‚ Speaking of your dog Ollie, how is he doing because it has been a long time since I commented on any of your entries about him? πŸ™‚ Anyway, keep up the great work as always πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love it!!!! Hey … priorities change, but to be honest, I do feel your pain and sadness about your Mom. Who knows what we’ll all turn into in time. The hope is that we all have someone in our lives who will just go along with us … for whatever amount of the ride is left.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is strange how random memories pop into our heads. Today on the writing workshop I talked about writing memoir and produced a box of bits and pieces from butter pats to old stone bottles, from old photos and postacrds to a bull’s nose ring worn in the show ring, from a silver spoon and pusher to an old book of hand written recipes. I let people have a rummage, pick an item and write for 15 minutes. It was astonishing the range of writing that came out of it and most of the participants were surprised about the memories they produced. I was surprised when I saw someone choose the bull’s nose ring – turned out her dad was a butcher! You should keep a file of those random memories – excellent material for more stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My mom most of the time has many left-over food on her placemat when we are eating. She always reasons out that she cannot see them properly. I guess getting old really have those moments. It is getting quite hard to get along with her these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I always have to check my clothing before I leave the house since I spill so much. I could easily turn into your mother if I stopped noticing. I sure hope my children would alert me. It was kind of you to not argue with her but just enjoy her.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We all do not wish to see the ones we love languish. Taking care of one’s appearance is commonly perceived as a form of self love. Of course you would feel sad to see the difference. I won’t say this memory is random… the incident probably did strike you hard at the time.

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  8. I seem to have spills and spots all the time lately. I attribute it to often eating while reading. I think as we age we care less about certain things. I know when I stopped wearing makeup it was a day of delightful freedom for me regardless of what others thought. Anyway, dog prints are an expression of love, right?

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  9. The same thing happend to my mom. It was very distressing for me and her family because she–like your mother–was a beautiful woman and immaculate with her person. I couldn’t bare to point out these things to her even though I cringed because of them. I was worried. I was confused. I was–I am sorry to say–embarrassed. I deal with these things now that she’s gone. But I loved her deeply and she knows that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Pam. It does seem that this comes to us all in time. Our parents, perhaps followed by ourselves. We all deal with it in the best way we can.
      Best wishes, Pete.
      (By the way, I was notified of a post on your blog today. But it wasn’t there)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. That’s what I fear. I fear it dreadfully. I guess we all do, if we are fortunate to live so long.
        (About my post: It’s there now.)
        (Another thing: If you have access, might I suggest you watch some of the Trump impeachment hearings today. It’s smoking gun time. Fingers crossed.)

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Pete, you have brought tears to my eyes with this post. It is a poignant memory and a starting revelation. Maybe, like the mistakes of our past, the stains are simply something she needed you to accept, as you accepted her aging. Maybe she no longer wanted to fight her imperfections, her aging, or her mortality, and you gave her the opportunity to live without faking it, an acknowledgement that a great change was now coming that her efforts could not prevent. Nor yours. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. That is my reality at the moment. No matter how many new clothes I buy my mother, she is wearing old, often stained clothing when I visit her. Her closet is bulging with things that no longer fit or have seen better days, yet she refuses to let me purge. Like your Mom, she was once very careful with her appearance. But she turned 93 yesterday so I think she’s earned the right to do what she likes.

    Liked by 2 people

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