Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cork Sniffer

My mother wasn't a 'funny' woman. That isn't to say that she didn't have a sense of humour. She could throw a pun up the flagpole and watch it fly with the best of them and understood clean jokes but wasn't known for telling them herself. She was a homemaker, nurse, gardener, golfer, awesome cook and excellent grandparent but no . . . she wasn't funny.

She was a stickler for manners which is probably why I judge people by their behaviour at the table. Whether they hold a knife and fork properly, shovel their food or bite tiny morsels.  Whether they reach across or say "Excuse me" or take the last of anything without asking. Whether they offer to clear the table or push in their chair after a meal. Yeh, I'm shallow like that. I blame my mother.

She was prim, proper and blissfully unaware of the colloquialisms of youth when it came to the language of her teenagers. Even upon meeting the parent of a kid my brother used to hang with she declared, "Oh hello, you must be Wanker's mum." Unaware that the kid had been awarded a rather unfortunate nick-name by his peers. And one to which his own parents were not privy.  Yeh, we had to explain to her what a wanker actually was to the point that she definitely felt like one! Naive? A little.

Yes, my mum was a sober and pragmatic type, until she had a drink. I don't mean getting sauced or roll around drunk. I mean 1 drink. One single nip. The woman was a cork sniffer and whilst well below the driving limit got smashed on one whisky and dry. Her eyes glazed over and her complexion flushed and this stupid closed grin would fix permanently on a normally stern face. I blame her for that as well, I definitely inherited the 'abrupt' look.

Anyway, it's Christmas Eve right. We've had a lovely meal and are replete and digesting quietly in easy chairs in the lounge room, when someone pipes, "Let's play Charades". Each has their turn analysing the gesticulations of the other to determine the book, song or movie being depicted with wild gestures and stupid postures and there's laughter and criticism all round. Then it's my mother's turn.

She stands square at the front. Extends an arm in a camera rolling motion, her other hand against her eye, notifying all that she's about to 'act out' a movie title.

Then .  . . .  nothing. Minutes go by and she just stands there, We're all like "What the?" Then it happens, she lifts a leg ever so slightly, lets one audibly rip and dashes into the kitchen like a frightened rabbit. We all piss ourselves laughing at this rare alcohol induced moment and at the clear embarrassment that has driven her out of the room so quickly.

Until, after doing the runner she pops back through the door and says, "Well? Did you get it?"

Silence. Nothing. Just blank stares between the five of us.

"Gone with the Wind"

And God's honest truth . . that's the only time I ever heard my mother fart!

Bless you Pam Dunn .  not funny , , hilarious
Posted for the Tenth Daughter of Memory "Mother Dearest"

Just to prove I can be light on The Tenth Daughter of Memory "Mother Dearest"


  1. I'm gonna use that the next time I'm playing movie title charades.

  2. har! lovely woman that. i can see where you get your grace, wit and beauty. Thanks for the story, Baino!

  3. That made me smile ... the entire way through. -j

  4. What're you talking about? You're mom was a woman who really knew how to create a comedic moment. Maybe she was just too subtle for you...

    I loved the story.

  5. Now, that just redeemed you for the icky B. Great setup. Great story. Perfect ending.

  6. Just coming back for the voting...
    I really think our mother's may have had the same soul. I remember when my mom would have a drink of wine she would then sit completely still and with her eyes wide open go into a trance for exactly 40 minutes. Thanks for that memory. -J

  7. I wonder whose mother this is about. Not yours? This couldn't be her. Right? Good story, though.

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  9. Delete Comment From: Creative Infanticide

    Blogger She Writes said...

    DUH. I thought I was on Jeff's blog :). Duh. Too tired. My adoptive mother was stickler for manners. I have them, consequently. I work hard to NOT judge those who don't, but it's been deeply set inside of me. I loved this story, realizing it is real! And your mom was a very pretty woman.