My mom, a genteel Southern lady — who never uttered a single curse word (that I ever heard) until I was well into my 30s, and even then, it was a pretty weak profanity — had an annoying habit of dropping family secret bombshells in the midst of a casual family dinner and then walking away while my brothers and sisters and I sat open-mouthed in stunned silence.
Mom: “Would anyone like more scalloped potatoes or ham?”
Bob: “Are those the potatoes from my garden?”
Margaret: “Did I give everyone copies of the kids’ school pictures?”
Janet: “Is that my kid eating the mashed potatoes out of the pan with a spatula?”
Darrell: “No, pretty sure it’s mine. Jesse! Leave some for the rest of us!”
Paul: “Why don’t you have cable TV, mom? You need cable. You get four channels, Mom. Four.”
Me: “What’s that smell? Smells kinda like dirty feet.”
John: “I think that’s your organic, gluten-free, vegan casserole, Viv.”
Mom: “You know (we certainly did not), your grandfather ordered a mail-order bride after your grandma died in 1946 when I was 14. She was from St. Louis (implying city whore), wore seamed stockings (definitely a city whore) and we (she and her four siblings) sent her packing.”
Us, in unison: “What?! Grandpa ordered a bride?! What did she look like? Did Grandpa just bring her home or did she show up on the doorstep?! What the …?! How come you never … Mom! What was her name? Did you ever see her again? What did you do to send her packing? Light her on fire? Was she an evil stepmother? Do any cousins know? Tell us more!”
Every time she did this — yes, she did it more than once and more frequently as she grew older — she would then wave her hand dismissively, change the subject and say, “Never mind, it’s not important, pass the pie. Yes Bob, those potatoes are from your garden.”
To this day, we all continue to use this phrase as a mantra for ignoring important news that we’d rather avoid altogether.
“I know I’m 40, but I’m pregnant, again. Pass the pie.”
“It was only two nights in jail and a $1,200 bond. Could you pass the pie?”
“By the way, I filed for divorce yesterday. Is that pumpkin pie? Pass it, please.”
“OK, I’m not exactly sure how old I’ll be when I finish paying off the $189,000 in student loans. Look, just pass the pie, OK?”
2 thoughts on “Never Mind, Pass the Pie”
Your mom was such a warm loving lady. How she lived with all of you puts her up for sainthood in my mind!
I agree! I think we all took after Dad. Ha!