I have often written about my mother. I could go on and on about her many enduring qualities. She was incredibly wise, unbelievably supportive, and the most loving creature you’d ever meet. However, of all the positive traits that I saw in Momma over and over again, there is one attribute that constantly comes to mind. Momma was a good sport. I’d like to think that she was that way all of her life. It’s quite possible that she was. However, by the time I met her she was already 25 years old (I’ll have to go into the day we met some other time). The truth is she most likely HAD to be a good sport just to endure the average day in the McAfee home.
My father is a man who, like me, has a very warped sense of humor. My father uses this trait to do many things. We have all fallen prey to Poppy’s practical jokes, southern sarcasm, and zingers that became a staple in our house. This sometimes meant that my Dad would exercise his humor at my mother’s expense. Momma took this all in stride. She usually gave Poppy a dirty look or sometimes laughed as much as he did. The downside of this is that my parents saw fit to reproduce. This meant that while my brother, sister, and I inherited our mother’s diplomacy, we inherited our father’s warped sense of humor. We all took playful verbal jabs at each other. We also would occasionally set out sites on Momma. So, along with tolerating my father’s antics, she would bear the behavior of her three darling children (who were just like their father). Like I said, Momma was a good sport.
Momma was a little over a year older than Poppy. In addition, her hair greyed prematurely. Momma got her first grey streak at 12 years old (it’s not ALL my fault). This meant that Momma was subjected to a lot of jokes about her age. Most of these jokes were at the hands of her loving husband and offspring. For example, my sister, a high school senior at the time, was making decorations for the homecoming senior float. She asked Momma to help with the decorations. My mother replied: “I’m not a senior.” My sister quipped: “Yes, you are. You’re a senior citizen.” I was beet red with laughter. Mind you, it was my sister that made the snide remark. It was me, however, that got the dirty look (for laughing so hard). I once asked my mother if Methuselah was her prom date (read the book of Genesis if you don’t get that joke). My Dad would get his jabs in once in a while as well. My mom knew that, one day, she would get to see all of us have our comeuppance. Once, in a restaurant, Poppy was teasing the waiter. The waiter playfully (but unexpectedly) returned the fire. My mother not only laughed at the waiter’s response; she applauded.
These days, the tables have turned. I am 44 years old as of this writing. I am older than my mother was when SHE was getting jokes about HER age. I work in a technical support environment. Most of my nearest co-workers are at least 15 years younger than I (some are more than 20). Needless to say, the old people jokes fly left and right at my expense. I get jokes about enjoying movies with sound. I get jokes about not being able to use my mobile phone because it has no crank. I even get jokes that it’s OK to tell these jokes because I’ll just forget them 5 minutes later. Today, however, my comedic colleagues hurled this greatest jab of them all. It went like this: “Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Neither, SHANE did”. I couldn’t help but hear Momma laughing and applauding.