Seen and Heard

Near downtown Florence, Ala., this morning — I saw newly reelected incumbent mayor Bobby Irons walking along a busy city street, in full business attire, picking up his own campaign signs. It sort of made me wish I lived in his town so I could have voted for him.

At the car dealership in Florence yesterday — I was waiting for my car to be given the OK after its oil change and other scheduled maintenance when three older (70s? 80s?) women in perfectly coifed hair and perfectly pressed pantsuits joined me in the waiting area. Apparently they were lifelong Florence residents and lifelong friends. One was the driver and the other two had come along for the car repair. Anyway, of course we all got to talking, although I mainly eavesdropped … I mean, listened. One topic of conversation was the “hobos” who would stop by their houses when they were little and ask for food. “Times were hard then, but my mama always cooked extra for the hobos,” one woman said. “She’d put extra sweet potatoes and cornbread in the stove pipe to stay warm and then when one would stop by, she’d put him at the table, get out a plate and feed him with the food she’d saved.” Another of the trio nodded in agreement. “Yes,” she said, “those stovepipes were the original microwaves!”

Recently in Birmingham, Alabama — My college-student daughter said that during conversation with a counselor who was an older woman (60s?), my daughter had to adjust her skirt as she stood up because her slip was showing. The woman asked her, “Are you wearing a slip? Nobody wears a slip anymore. I don’t even have a slip! Why are you wearing a slip?” And of course my daughter answered, “Because my mother makes me.” The more my daughter thought about this, though, the more she wondered if she was perhaps behind the times. So a day or so later she was with a couple of friends she’d grown up with who’d come to Birmingham to have lunch with her. She asked them, “Do y’all still wear slips?” The consensus: “Of course!” The reason why: “Because our mothers make us!” I am vindicated.

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