The Suitcase Lady


February 1, 2011, 8:56 pm

My mother-in-law was a world class worrier. Her worst case scenario was: “What if a nuclear bomb is dropped which destroys the zoos and the venomous snakes all escape.”

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate the bomb a 10 and the snakes a 2. She obviously did not agree.

Another worry involved the collapse of the earth.

“We are just digging too much out of the earth,” she would warn. Perhaps living in Arizona, a big mining state, gave her some inside information on this topic. Anyone attending the huge Tucson Gem and Mineral Show might be inclined to agree with her that the guts of the earth are all being scooped out .

And then there was the terror of the left hand turn. According to her, left hand turns ranked right up with the snakes on the menace meter. She did, however, have a remedy for this threat: she never made left hand turns.

Tables in restaurants also presented a major threat.

“There is NO PLACEMAT,” she would rail. “You don’t want to think about the last time that rag the busboy is using was washed.”

I might actually rate this one a 7 myself. I offered to buy her a ream of place mats from a restaurant supply store.

A fish dinner presented a serious crisis. A fish bone might lodge in someone’s throat, and only bread could dislodge it. Since I came from a family that ate fish with gay abandon, I was dumbfounded when my husband didn’t eat the first fish dinner I served.

“But why isn’t there bread on the table?” he inquired as if I were contemplating homicide.

The above accounts are all true, but one critical fact has to be added. In a real crisis, my mother-in-law was one of the strongest and bravest women I’ve ever known. She could make any steel magnolia look like a shrinking violet.

3 Comments for this entry

  • Jen

    Alan always wonders about that earth collapsing stuff too. He thinks drilling for oil and all the empty pockets left behind is particularly troublesome. I didn’t know Grandma worried about that. She and I worry(ed) in the same way. The actual stuff that was really happening, that stuff you just take care of and work through. But when a little mind space opens up, well then it’s time to fret about the certainty of locust plague.

  • tiara

    I always wonder about that earth collapsing.

  • Mary

    Don’t worry about that, T, the earth’s crust is as thin as a stamp on a billiard ball, and there are lots of rocks left in the mantle and core.