When I first moved to Dallas, I really did not know many people. Truth be told I only knew my family. I was moving on faith. Faith I would find a job. Faith I would find a place to live. Faith that I was not leaving all that I had known for more than 10 years to go to a place I really did not know at all.
Early in my new life in Dallas, I was invited to a social event. A party or house warming, I don’t exactly remember, but I do remember meeting a vibrant older lady. She came in with a flurry of energy. Sat down at the table, and instantly became the center of attention. She was laughing, smiling, and joking. She was having a ball, and so were all those around her. I immediately found myself feeling comfortable with her. She was telling stories, laughing at her past life decisions and handing out wisdom to whoever would listen. It was a great time. I later discovered that she was Momma Dee, the mother of one of my sister’s friends. Now really, who wants to hang out with the mother of one of your friends? Well, obviously you have never had the pleasure of meeting Momma Dee. She would have been known as the “cool” mom in the neighborhood, though you probably needed to be over 30 to really appreciate the coolness. Momma Dee was one of those women who had Mother Wit. She had a way of saying things that made you go, duh, I knew that, I just needed a Momma to tell me.
I am more than convinced that Momma Dee was sent to me by my own Mom in heaven. I believe that Mommy was sitting up there, looking down on us and said, my girls are in Dallas, Texas, and there will come a time when they will just need the comfort of a Momma. Lord, can you please have their paths cross with Dee’s and I know she will do the rest. I did not see Dee often, but whenever I did, it was like a hug from heaven. I could feel the comfort of her words. I would envelop myself in the presence of her peace. I could bask in the glow of her compassion. I embraced her lust for life and could accept her passion for it too. She made you rest in the arms of her loving kindness. It was just good to be around Momma Dee.
I guess the lesson is that we all should want to be like Momma Dee. It should be our goal as we get older to become the wonderful woman Momma Dee was. We all need to gather up some “Chickens” and tend to them. People should want to be around us. We should bring joy to the lives of the people that we cross, even if it is for only a moment. We need to share stories, and learn to dance. We should lift our skirts up, kick up our heels, and do the twist. We should be the center of attention, and for all the right reasons…and maybe a couple of wrong ones too.
There is nothing worse than an old bitter lady that is just plain ole mean. We have all seen them and we don’t want to be around them. The lady that refuses to smile, and has to sit in the same pew that she has sat in since the original last supper. She is called a “church mother” but she hasn’t “mothered” anyone in years. They walk bent over, as if their last step is their final one. Their skin has gotten darker, full of wrinkles and feels rubbery. That old wig on her head is cocked to the side, and the lipstick, which is ruby red, a color she should not be wearing, is bleeding into the cracks around her lips. She has a righteousness about here that is all wrong, because she is all right all the time.
What is really sad is that these mean ole ladies were not always this way, they just don’t seem to remember the joy they once had. It is as if they have forgotten that trouble don’t last always. And because they can’t or won’t remember, they can’t share the wisdom they have on how to really get over through times of trouble and struggle. They can’t show us how to the world did not end when he left them with the kids and no money. They can’t share how they made $5.00 stretch to feed the not only their family but also their friends in between checks. They can’t give us the gift of making homemade yeast rolls, pound cakes from scratch, good fried chicken, and real sweet tea so we don’t have to go to the store and buy them. They have forgotten how a evening out was getting together to play Bid Whist or Dominos with friends around the dining room table with a little nip to keep things a bit lively. Because they have forgotten their journey, they can’t give us the vision of hope that we need to make it through.
These woman have forgotten the power that they still had, but not Momma Dee. She could do the Wobble with the best of them, and then sit at the table and enlighten us on where we were going wrong, and what we needed to do to fix it, then hug us, kiss our cheek, pat our head and send us on our way. And when she sent you, you knew that it would be ok, even if it was for just a little while. She was the queen, and when she held court, everyone listened.
I was deeply saddened to hear that Momma Dee has passed the other day. It was like a part of my family has left us. And even the comfort of knowing that she is watching over us all, does not really take our pain away. I would like to imagine that she and my Mom are sitting around a table, drinking tea, and talking about their kids – just talking like they were old friends. And my Mom is thanking Dee for watching over her girls for just a little bit.
Everyone needa a Momma Dee in their lives, no matter how old we get, but more importantly, everyone should be a Momma Dee to someone. Giving a greeting of a soft “Hey Baby…how you doing”, and really meaning it. Sharing our life stories and telling how we made it through the tough times. Letting people know that life was not always perfect, and truth be told, we were not always perfect either. What made Momma Dee special is that she did what we all should be doing every day, loving each other. What made Momma Dee my secret treasure was that she did that for me.