Welcome to the Church of the Holy Cabbage. Lettuce pray. ~ Author Unknown
I always loved the sound of my mother’s voice. It was unadulterated Southern and magnolia smooth. I heard it as she was wheeled into surgery. She said not to worry, that she would be back. She was wrong.
Once while grocery shopping, I heard it again. As if she were wheeling the cart herself, she said in a loud voice, “Go to aisle six and pick up some brown sugah.” When she wanted to, Mama could smooth out the end of a word and cradle it for five minutes. Listening to her talk was like taking a summer snooze in a hammock.
Not long after the brown sugar episode, I was sweeping the porch when I heard her singing an Irish ballad. It was a sad song from my childhood that had always put me to sleep in tears. But when I heard that familiar soprano voice drifting through the house like elevator music, oddly enough, I didn’t feel sad and I didn’t cry. I felt like I had slipped my feet into some old comfortable bedroom slippers.
While I was cooking supper that same night, (chicken and cornbread dressing, butter beans, rice and sliced tomatoes), I heard her voice again.“You ought to put some more sage in that dressing. If you don’t,
it’ll taste like store-bought.”
We were having the Seasoning War again. Well, too many cooks in the kitchen, etc., etc.
The next morning while driving to Savannah, she broke through the Oldies But Goodies tunes I had been enjoying on the radio.
“Turn around right now and go back home.” Her voice was firm but not too bossy. She said it as if she had asked me to pass her a second helping of that cornbread dressing (the one she insisted needed more sage).
Up to that point, I hadn’t responded to the bizarre messages from my mother who had been dead for over twenty years. Did she seriously expect me to heed a voice that only I could hear? Not willing to admit I was crazy enough to blow a long anticipated shopping trip, I told her to bug off.
For the rest of the ride, the voice was a Xeroxed copy in my ears. Go back home! Go back home! Go back home! By the time I arrived at the Savannah Mall my head was spinning and my eardrums were pounding like Bongos blasting from high-definition speakers.
A quick glance in the car’s vanity mirror showed me that my complexion was like pistachio ice cream than Georgia peaches and cream. I didn’t like the idea of shopping with a Migraine that was bound to get even worse so I decided to go back home, wrap myself up in the cocoon of a warm blanket. Macy’s would have other sales and I would have other days without headaches or voices drumming in my ears.
Driving South on I-95, I was lost in thoughts of Extra Strength Ibuprofens washed down with a chilled glass or two of wine when Mama’s voice broke through again.
“SLOW DOWN! RIGHT NOW!”
When I looked at the speedometer it indicated over eighty mph, so I said, “Yes ma’am. Slowing down. Right now.” The car responded but my headache did not back off.
Hoping for some relief, I closed my eyes for only a split second. When I opened them again, a sixteen-wheeler full of iceberg lettuce had overturned right in front of my car. I braked quickly and was just barely able to avoid a collision.
Hundreds of small green heads tumbled off that truck and rolled down I-95, gaining momentum as they bounced up and onto unsuspecting cars. Thankful that my aching head was still attached, I gulped air (lots of it) and listened to my heart mimicking those bongos mentioned earlier.
Curled into a fetal position back at home, I reflected on the peculiar events of the day, which led to thoughts of Guardian Angels. Were they real? Was Mama my personal G.A.? Had the sound of her voice been the only thing that kept me from becoming an Interstate Tossed Salad?
That was the day I vowed to pay attention to all voices. My Guardian Angel could be trying to get through to me with winning lottery numbers as she floats over my shoulder, or wherever angels hover. It’s okay to be crazy when winning lottery tickets are involved.
The way I figure it, my Guardian Angel always looked after me so she must know that writing doesn’t pay diddly squat.
Editor's Note: Cappy Hall Rearick is a humor columnist for the Lowcountry Sun in Charleston, South Carolina. She is the author of seven published books. Visit her at www.simplysoutherncappy.com.