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Jennifer forcefully invited me to go to Townville with her yesterday afternoon, and so I went with my face set into an expression of just plain grumpiness. She’s on a mission to start cleaning out the house room by room, drawer by drawer, with as little input from Daddy as possible. I think we’re both feeling that our time of free access to the house is limited (I mean, if YOU were Daddy’s new woman, would YOU want his girls coming in and ransacking the place? Yup, didn’t think so.)… and since we have no idea when he’s going to get a wild hair to remarry, now is the time that we should take advantage.

So off we went… Daddy was working a 12-hr shift so it was a prime opportunity. Yesterday’s project was going through a chest in the living room, a huge mahogany piece of furniture that Mama & Daddy inherited from his grandmother. For as long as I can remember, those drawers have been stuffed with the unknown — pictures, cards, checkbook registers, even a few table linens thrown in for good measure. I’ve never even dug below the first layer, much less to the bottom… so we put Maggie down for a nap, settled ourselves in the floor, and began.

We unearthed an insane number of pictures, mostly of Daddy as a little boy. And one of the drawers was crammed chock-full of art projects from our childhood… Mama had written the artist and the year on the back so we were able to easily sort it into my, Jen, & Sue’s respective piles.

(**Note to all mothers & mothers-to-be: writing the name & date on the back of mementos is an EXCELLENT thing.)

There were home-made Mother’s Day cards, handwritten weekly letters from our grandmother to our mother, and even a folder full of congratulatory cards from when I was born. There were baby books filled out to varying degrees… mine was almost complete, Jennifer’s was halfway done, and Sue… well, Sue didn’t have one. I guess Mama must have been overwhelmed by the time her 3rd little girl came along. There were little random scraps of paper where Mama had written little anecdotes and just stuffed them in the drawer… it was like a drawer-size scrapbook.

And I thought I would share my favorite thing. Now for those of you who don’t get my mom’s sense of humor, this may seem more irreverent than funny… but trust me, Jennifer and I almost peed on ourselves when we found it. It’s written in Mama’s neat little handwriting, and we calculated the year — she wrote this in 1985, so she would have been 28-yrs-old, Daddy was 31, and they would have been married for 9 wonderful (HA!) years.

John Martin [lastname], 31, husband of Denise B. [lastname], died Thursday of a long sickness (sick of everything — wife, kids, etc).

Born in Orange.burg, SC, he was the son of Lawrence M. and Frances L. [lastname]. He was an employee of the Mich.elin Tire Corporation and attended Grace Tabernacle, where he was Hitman #1 and substitute offering taker.

Surviving are his wife; parents; inlaws; daughters Sarah and Jennifer of the home; sister Gin [lastname] of Los Angeles; brothers Hugh [lastname] and Landy [lastname] of [lastname] Farms Inc; grandmother, Mrs. Gladys S. [lastname]; dog/niece, Peg [lastname]; and his Murray riding mower.

Funeral services at 3pm Friday at Bow.man South.ern Metho.dist Church. Burial to follow in the family plot. Farewell dinner for Denise at 6pm. Donations may be made to the wife in lieu of flowers.

I’m still chortling…  what a sassy lady my mama was!