August 29 – Thinking back to when I was a child, I remember that Ma spent just as much of her time as she could just being with us kids, sharing in our play. On the weekends she and Pa devoted many hours playing ball in the summer and dominoes in the winter.
Ma was a pretty fair batter and could slam the ball out into the outfield if given half a chance with a good pitch. Of course, one of our favorite parts of the ball game was to get ready an old green window shade that we threw across in front of her just as the ball came sizzling down over the plate. She would swing at the ball with all her might, only to connect with the window shade!
One of the things we enjoyed the most was singing around the old piano with Ma playing all of the old songs of the time. All of us kids would gather around when Ma sat down to play by ear any song we would suggest if we could just hum a line or two. Having inherited a great musical talent from her father, she could improvise anything. For the first half hour we would sing at our best, being serious and sober, but after that we would giggle, call for silly songs, and sing off key or in a raucous voice, anything for fun. Then Ma’s fingers would put in all sorts of extra chords and silly melodies, just to make the fun greater for us. Family togetherness was never more exemplified than in those hours around the old upright piano in the bedroom.
And those domino games! So what if she had been in school only six years, she could keep score and figure out all the winning combinations at the same time. It seems to me as I remember it now, that we vied to be on Ma’s side because that side always won. It couldn’t be all luck.
Once in awhile we would get brand new shiny linoleum for the living room, and after it was laid with all the ceremony a queen sees her most expensive rug put down, all of us would lie on our tummies on the floor with the lights turned out, our faces shining in the warm orange glow of the fire in the heater. I would savor the smell of the new linoleum, see the firelight glowing on the loved faces around me and be thankful for the love and security we had. For days afterward all our games would be played on the floor instead of the table, for we wanted to enjoy the newness of the linoleum for as long as possible until the tread of many feet would wear it out. – CHRIS