Monday, September 10, 2007

Mom's tall tales

My mom has a genius for telling stories about horrible accidents that cause the death of a friend of a friend. I thought my mom was the only one who told these stories, but the more I talk to friends about their mothers, the more I realize it seems to be a mom trait.

One friend told me how her mother, or was it her mother-in-law, told her to never knit in the car because someone she knew was knitting while riding in the car and died when they were in a crash and the knitting needle stabbed her. She also told my friend never to carry a punch bowl in her lap because she heard about this bride who was riding in the car on the way to her wedding/reception holding a punch bowl. Of course, she was in a crash and died, on her wedding day, because a shard of glass from the punch bowl pierced her heart.

Heidi's mom tells tales, too. But Heidi named my mom the winner after two recent stories. A few weeks ago Ella and I were riding on the inner tube up at the lake when B whipped us across the wake. Ella and I both went flying. When I told mom, she got pretty upset at B for driving the boat recklessly. A few days later, she called to tell me about a friend of a friend who was at the beach and leaned over to pick up a shell. While he was bent over, he got hit by a rogue wave that knocked him over and broke his neck. He died. It is tragic, really. I feel awful for his family and friends, I really do. But I had to laugh at mom for telling the story as an illustration of why B shouldn't have sent me and Ella flying off the tube.

Today I took mom and dad to Ella's school so we could join her for lunch. As we were leaving, mom commented on the signs about how the school is doing things for the environment. Then she told me about a friend of a friend who went out to turn her compost heap, which had some rare spores in it that got released and she inhaled them. And she died. I groaned. Dad asked if she had been returned to the compost heap to join the decomposition cycle.

There have been other stories - kids who climbed into dishwashers and poked their eyes out on the things that stick up (she has told me that story with each kid), kids who swallow refrigerator magnets and get horribly sick, kids who poke their eyes out with knitting needles and get horrible infections and have to wear eye patches for the rest of their lives. Or was that last one just her fear of what will happen to Campbell if Lily leaves her knitting needles out? I can't remember.

I'm putting out a call for stories - has your mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, etc. told you a cautionary tale that ended with someone's death? I'd love to hear one that beats mom's two stories.

Sorry mom, I just can't help myself on this one.


Anonymous said...

Not exactly the same tone, but my mother always told me that if anyone ate tuna fish and drank milk that they would die.

OH, my mother did tell me (or I mistakenly remembered) that she was at a dinner party and a teenage girl was taking a shower, slipped, hit her head and drowned...WHILE THEY WERE AT THE PARTY. Years later she denies she told me this. Maybe I misunderstood....think?

The Kretzings said...

My mom never told cautionary tales like those - thankfully so or else there would've been a lot more eye-rolling (than there already was) on my part during my teenage years.

I love your dad's comment on the compost heap tragedy.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I tell those tales in the spirit of the story "Cyclops" by David Sedaris. The eye-rolling and groans are mandatory responses!

Mrstx said...

I totally know what you mean! My mother in law is always telling me that kind of garbage, but honestly at this moment in time, I can't think of any specific stories. I think I have learned to tune out her voice when she begins to speak as a survival tool.