Caussey's Corner

Mother’s Scissors: Golden Memories of Childhood Days

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Spring is not my season for housecleaning. Summer is my selected choice because it brings warm winds and waterless evenings that clutch-crawl toward the nap of temperatures nearing the century mark. It’s too hot for outdoor activities, so I sit indoors and clean our closets, cupboards, and from under beds. Recently, while cleaning out the utility closet, I came across a small cardboard box labeled “Mother’s records,’” written with marker on the top.

I had not looked inside that box since I placed it there after my mom’s funeral four years ago. As I sat there among the winter clothes hanging from straggled, mothproof hangers and other larger boxes memories rushed in fluid form through my memory-scape. Opening the box, I noticed numerous old bank statements now wrapped together by a long, disintegrated red rubber band. Even though Mother had little formal education, she had always balanced her checkbook each month. Underneath the statements was a small writing tablet that had “Recipes” written on it. At the top of the first page was printed, “Durhl’s Favorites.” Below was a listing of five desserts and how each was to be made. Measurements like a “little dab, a pinch, a bunch, a handful and sip” were used to make peach cobbler, banana pudding, coconut cream pie, Dutch chocolate cake, and BTS. I’ll explain that BTS stuff later.

Mother’s Scissors: Golden Memories of Childhood Days

Photo: Pixabay

Some of the earliest memories of my mom were when she gave me a hug and prepared some of those wonderful foods for me. There was always a lot of hugging, but the food sometimes got a little scarce. Both were dispensed with only the love a caring Mother could give.

At the bottom of the box lay a pair of black scissors. They were nicked and scraped and had splashes of red paint on the thumbhole side. Picking up the scissors filled me with lost events, which helped me to recall all the important roles these scissors played in my early life. I could see myself sitting on the front porch atop an apple crate on a hot summer afternoon as Mother cut my hair using those scissors. Mother would place an old beanie cap on my head and cut off anything that escaped that cap. Sometimes this practice endangered my big ole jumbo ears.

Each Saturday, the family went to town to buy groceries. Dad bought flour, sugar, and corn meal in large 25-pound sacks. The brand we purchased was determined by the pattern on the different cloth sacks. From that cloth, Mother made my shirts and underwear. We moved to town when I was in the fifth grade. I was still wearing primrose pattern shirts and magnolia pattern underwear when we made the move. Mother had made those garments using her black scissors, sewing them by hand.

Mother’s Scissors: Golden Memories of Childhood Days

Photo: Pixabay

One summer, while fishing at a creek, I managed to hook my behind with a fishhook. I tore a 5- or 6-inch gash down my skin. After stopping the bleeding, Mother retrieved some fishing line from Dad’s tackle box, cut some of it with those black scissors, then threaded a needle and sewed up the gash. I wear that scar today. Once when I was in the Army and slightly under the weather at the Officer’s Club, I was only too proud to show any and everyone that scar. The crowd enjoyed it immensely, everyone, that is, except my battalion commander. He put me on report (and that is when I selected Dr Pepper as my drink of choice).

Examining those scissors, I couldn’t help but notice those red marks on the handle. At age six, I decided one day to paint the wood cookstove in the kitchen. Dad had bought a gallon can of red paint to cover the woodshed. I opened the can with mother’s scissors and proceeded to paint the hot cook stove. After supper, and hearing my story, Dad took me to that woodshed that was to be painted. That trip taught me that red is not a kitchen color. Those rose petal underwear offered little protection from things lying around that woodshed. My dad also convinced me that you don’t have to use red paint to make something turn red.

I placed the scissors back in the box. For a moment, I could see my mom sitting near the coal-oil light, cutting out pieces to quilt. I smiled. Then I remembered the red paint, and my scar started hurting. I put the lid on the box and placed it on a shelf next to my other family treasures and pictures. Oh yes! That BTS dessert thing stood for “Better Than Sex.” My sweet little Mom could not bear to write the word “Sex,” so she just abbreviated it.