Now, this muddle of quizzing and questioning and wondering has long been the centerpiece of my table.
My poor Mama.
“What ‘too big for my britches’ mean, Mama?” I’d asked after my big brother took off to school. I’d go next year.
“Why, actin’ proud and better’n your neighbor,” she’d answered.
“Well then,” I’d asked after a bit, “what’s ‘proud as punch?’ Grandma Boyd says that all the time an’ she smiles and gives me a squeeze when she does.”
“Honey baby, Grandma Boyd means she’s plumb joyful when she sees your face! You know how she loves you, hon!”
“But Mama!” I recall shouting, then cloudin’ over with tears, “But Mama, Brother Baldwin down to the church, he says ‘pride goeth before a fall!’ I heard him! Mama! Mama! Is Grandma Boyd going to fall down a deep dark hole, break both her legs, for all the pride I put in her heart?”
The clouds burst and I fairly wailed.
Mama bundled me right quick into her soft squishy lap, wiped my tears with little staccatto dots of her fingers then rocked me like a big ol’ baby.
“Oh, hon, no. No. Bless your heart, no. Grandma Boyd’s real careful her pride don’t spill out and hurt nobody else. She keeps it in real tight and prays to Jesus ever’ night for forgiveness, and dogged if he don’t take it all away.”
I remember lookin’ her straight in the eye. Sounded a little suspicious to me.
Then she said, “See, that a’way, her bucket o’ pride never washes over the brim an’ if she’s real careful, she can make it ’til her nightly prayers to dump it out and start over the next day.”
Well now, that there, that made sense. If her bucket don’t spill, she can keep on bein’ proud of me ever single day, then dump her bucket an’ do it all over the next.
‘Cause she’s old, you know. I like makin’ her happy. An’ eatin’ her chocolate chip cookies. She makes giant ones!