It’s rare when something that’s getting a lot of hype lives up to the billing.
Remember New Coke and Crystal Pepsi? What about the McDLT: Keeps the hot side hot and the cool side cool? Anyone remember the XFL or the USFL for that matter?
But those rare moments when something DOES live up to the hype are amazing.
My first trip down to Mississippi with Tammy and my step-kids, Ashlee and Jake, was one of those moments that did not disappoint.
I moved to the Chicagoland area back in late-1999 and it was a couple of years after that before we all made the trip back to Tupelo. But during that time I told them plenty about my Mom.
I told them about how she used to keep a wooden paddle on top of the refrigerator that she’d whip me with when I was bad. I told them about how she’d give me “The Look” from her spot in the church choir and how I knew I was in trouble when I saw it.
Not long after we arrived, we were all hanging out in the kitchen when I decided to show the kids I wasn’t kidding about the paddle. I reached the top of the fridge and quickly found my old pal in the same spot Mom kept it when I was a kid.
I watched their eyes get bigger as I held it in front of them. I laughed as Mom tried to explain to them that they weren’t in any danger of having it used on them and that it was only used on me because I was so much trouble.
Later during our visit we got my nephews — there were only two at the time — together and loaded everyone up for a trip to Memphis. Tammy was in the front with me as I drove, Mom and my step-sister were in the middle two seats, and the four kids shared the backseat.
For most of the 90-mile drive there weren’t any problems. The kids laughed in the back while the adults talked about various topics. But once we got a little closer the mood in the car changed with one simple question.
Jake: What are we going to do when we get there?
Seems simple enough, right? How could a question like that cause the once-happy family road trip turn into something else?
The response, that’s what.
Parker — my youngest nephew at the time — was around four years old and instantly chimed in.
Parker: Doo-doo out our butts…
He barely got the “s” on butts before Mom, who for some reason was holding a rolled up newspaper, turned around started smacking Parker about the legs.
Whap… Whap… Whap… Whap…
Despite not having much room left on that backseat, Ashlee, Jake and Peyton moved away from Parker as if he had just farted. They didn’t want to get hit with any friendly fire.
I couldn’t see Mom’s face as she laid into Parker, but I’ve often imagined how it must have looked to Jake and Ashlee. I’m thinking it was prolly something like this…
But what I do know is that at that moment, my Mom had unknowingly lived up to the hype and did not disappoint.
So Mom, thank you for NOT disappointing me then or ever.