Mayhem at the Shopping Mall
Working defintion of mayhem
noun - violent or damaging disorder; chaos: Complete mayhem broke out when the mother took her daughters to the shopping mall.
See also: disorder, havoc, bedlam, pandemonium, tumult, uproar, turmoil, commotion, all hell broken loose, maelstrom, trouble, disturbance, confusion, riot, anarchy, violence, insanity, madness, madhouse.
"...but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance character, and character, hope.
(Rom. 5:3,4 )
My mother had great character and the patience of Job, especially when she took us shopping. My sister Chris was born with shopping in her DNA, and she loved pretty clothes. Mom always said Chris fancied herself a fairy princess, so shopping with her was a delight. However, my younger sister Jamey and I were part of the package, and we made things difficult.
For me, I had a very poor self-image and a best friend who got all the latest fashions with no expense spared. I knew Mom and Dad could never afford white go-go boots and would not be too keen on miniskirts. I didn't really know what I wanted or liked. It took me half a day to find one blouse. It drove my mother nuts.
Dizzy in the clothing rack
As for Jamey, we always managed to lose sight of her when we shopped. Oh, that girl. One day we looked all over the store, calling her name, checking all the dressing rooms, and getting the employees to help us look. All of a sudden we saw a circular clothing rack whirling round and round with the blouses fanning out. Then my mom said, "Look, there's running feet in the middle of that rack. Aren't those Jamey's shoes?" Jamey came out so dizzy, Mom had to hold her up for a while.
An alarming shopping excursion
Then there was the time Chris and I were trying on clothes in the dressing room and we heard this ear-splitting alarm go off in the store. Chris and I ran out of our dressing rooms half undressed, wild hair, bulging eyes, and our hands plastered over our ears. "Mommy, is it a fire?"
"Stay right here, I'll see what's going on."
A few minutes later Mom came back with Jamey in tow. She was frowning angrily.
"What happened?" we asked.
"Your sister tried to exit through the emergency exit door. Put your clothes back on."
Car theft and fishies
There was one particular clothing store we frequented. When Jamey disappeared we'd always find her at the pet store next door looking at the fish. One day Mom noticed Jamey was missing. She didn't want to loose her place in line, so she looked at us and said, "Jamey's disappeared. Would you mind?"
Our eyes rolled and we trudged next door and found the little Houdini, face all aglow from the florescent lights of the fish tanks. Chris stood there with her hands on her hips. "C'mon ya little dope. Mom's says were going home."
"But look at the fiiiish-eeesss."
Chris looked at me and said, "Let's get her."
We grabbed her arms and dragged her out screaming for a goldfish. When we caught up with Mom she said, "Chris and Lori, go wait in the car while I get Jamey some fish."
When we got in the car, Chris sat at the wheel, bragging about what a good driver she was. She was turning the wheel, pushing buttons and pulling levers. All of a sudden the car started to roll backwards through the parking lot. Chris jumped back and forth over the seats in utter hysterics, screaming for Mom. I jumped up front and tried to figure out how to reach the break. We finally crashed into a fence. We were dumbstruck.
Mom, Jamey, her two new fish, Sam and Suzie, and a strange woman came running out to us. After Chris calmed down, we found out that we had been in the wrong car. It belonged the lady who had accompanied mom to the car. Fortunately, it was a chain link fence we hit and there were only a few dings and scratches. The lady was gracious and didn't charge us for any damage. My poor mom was very quiet all the way home. She must have been mortified.
A few days later I caught Chris bragging to a friend that she got to drive a car. When Mom told the tale of our day at the shopping mall to her garden club friends they declared her a saint!
Jaked as a naybird at the grocer
It wasn't just at the shopping mall that these insanities manifested. The grocery store was prime territory for terrorizing or embarrassing our mother...and once our father.
Take for instance the time my sister Chris, two years of age, woke up at four a.m and decided she wanted Daddy. Now Daddy worked about half a block away at an all night grocer. My sister was wet, as many two year old's are at that ungoldy hour, and stripped down to her birthday suit. Mommy was out of it (imagine that), so she thought, "What the heck," and toddled off down the cold, gray street to Manley's grocer, jaked as a naybird. She made the perfect dramatic entrance for Dad who was at the cash register selling beer to an intoxicated bum. When Chris' and Dad's eyes met, Chris burst into tears, "Daaaaaddyyyyy."
My dad, immediately concerned and always a sucker for tears, scooped her up in his arms, wrapped her in his sweater and carried her home, dressed her, tucked her in, and went back and finished his shift. I love this story because Dad was so kind and sweet. Maybe a wee bit embarrassed though.
Please don't hit me
One time I had mom all to myself at the Piggly Wiggly, shopping for dinner. Mom was in a hurry and pretty much ignoring me. This was upsetting to me because for once I had her all to myself, no sisters around to steal the thunder. I thought the least my mom could do for ignoring me was to buy me some candy. We got in line, and like all good grocery stores worth their salt, the candy displays were right in line for the check-out. I surveyed the bright colorful wrappings, carefully making a good selection that would make my sister's jealous. I decided on a bright red tootsie pop (I still love those things), and grabbed it. My mom turned to me, snatched it out of my hand saying "I'm not buying that. You'll spoil your dinner," and turned back to put her groceries on the conveyor belt.
I snatched it back and tossed it on the belt with the other groceries. My mom turned around and tried to annihilate me with "the look." She stared me down, and I stared right back, but deep inside my soul, I was mentally peeing my pants in fear. I was the wus in my family, but I had a momentary lapse in wusness and put on a great bravado.
Mom saw the twinkle of defiance in my eye and she snatched me by the arm with steam pouring out of her ears. Now I really was peeing my pants. "Quick, think of something," I told myself. I dug my heels into the hard floor, pulled back, trying to escape my mother's grasp and screamed "Pleeeeaaase Mommy, don't hit me! Please, please."
Well that had everyone's attention. Mom had to think quick. We went up to the front of the store near the doors where all the giant bags of dog food were and she bent down to my level. "Lori," she seethed through her teeth, so close I could smell that mornings coffee on her breath, "We're going back in that line and buy our groceries and you are going to behave. In fact, you are going to apologize to the checker and the store manager, and anyone else who's around for making so much noise. Then you will help me load up the groceries, and when we get into the house, your mine."
From then on I was the submissive little puppy. When we got home, I didn't get smacked or yelled at. Mom just made me clean the bathroom and take out the trash, then sent me to my room to think about it. And I did. I was so ashamed I apologized that night when she tucked me in.
"What got into you anyway," my mother asked. "You're the one I can usually count on to behave when we're out."
"I'm sorry Mommy, I was just mad because you weren't paying attention to me."
"Oh, silly girl. I love you always, even when I'm rushing around the grocery store. Tell you what, tomorrow we'll go back and get that tootsie pop."
"Oh, that's nice Mommy, but you don't need to do that. I'm alright. I love you Mommy."
"Nonsense, sweet pea. Tootsie pop tomorrow it is."
She kissed my forehead, said goodnight, and turned out the light.
When I was sure she was gone, I winked to no one in particular, and giggled with glee.
Definition of a saint
adjective ( -lier , -liest )
Very holy or virtuous : a truly saintly woman.• of or relating to a saint : The mother of three unruly daughters is a saint.
My sister Chris and my Mom were shopping at the grocer where my dad worked. Dad worked graveyard, so he wasn't there. Chris was about five years old. Mom was going through the check-out line, Chris being uncharacteristically angelic. Mom piled that conveyor belt high with groceries and chatted cheerily with the cashier. Chris stood there smiling sweetly, even helping Mom put the groceries on the belt (notice in these stories, and in your own life, that the check out line is where the big temptations and family drama most often occur).
This was not the Chris we all knew and loved. Angelic was not her middle name. Why Mom didn't alert to her quiet, obedience, I don't know. But it didn't last long. When they got out to the car and started loading groceries into the car, Chris was taking some gum out of its wrapper. Mom stopped and stared to be sure that what she was seeing was real.
"Where did you get that gum, young lady?"
Chris, for once in her life was nervous. "Uh...I, uh...I...I..."
"Chrissy, did you steal that gum?"
"Chrissy, stealing is bad, it's against the law. Do you understand?"
Chris nodded in utter fear. She was not feeling the victory.
"We're going back into the store, and you are going to tell the manager that you stole that gum and that you are sorry and will pay for it. Here is the money and you will work for it when you get home. Okay? You ready?"
Chris was absolutely stricken. She held Mom's hand obediently. She looked way up into the face of the tall store manager and said "I stole this gum and I'm...sniff...sniff...soooorrrryyyy."
In tears she handed the manager the money and wept into my mother's skirt. The manager was kind and gracious and said "I will not call the police, but I want you to promise me you've learned a lesson and won't ever steal again."
Chris nodded her head vigorously. Mom took her home and loved on her the rest of the day, telling her how proud she was of her to do the right thing. Chris worked off the nickel that day. Mom told her God was pleased too.
Hope, perseverance, and love
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” Psalm 73:26
I wouldn't be surprised if this was the Scripture my mother stood on in the midst of our crazy shopping excursions. In all seriousness, our mother persevered because she had hope for us; hope that her love, hard work, good example, and love for God would one day reap rewards...namely, that her girls would turn out to be happy, well adjusted, God-fearing young ladies. I can only hope she was happy with how we turned out before her passing. She deserved a crown of jewels for her persevering attitude.
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