Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Matter of Respect

If my mother had it, it was never diagnosed by a doctor. Yet, she did seem to have a slight problem with some of the English language.
My mother was not stupid! She was educated, well-read and well-spoken except for a few words that, for some reason, gave her trouble.
The first time she told me she'd made 116 moffets, I thought perhaps she’d made some little cakes similar to petit fours. Then she showed me the afghan she’d been crocheting. I crocheted, too, but had never made any moffets that I knew of; perhaps it was something I needed to learn.
But after a bit of pondering, it occurred to me that “me dear old Mum” was making motifs, not moffets.
Since I was taught from a very young age that I should never correct her, I didn’t, even though I was grown at the time.
“Even when I’m wrong, I’m right!” she once told me emphatically.
“I’m your mother and you will not correct me! It’s a matter of respect. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Mother,” I said, knowing nothing else would work.
As I grew up, her botching of the language became a source of fun for me and the rest of the family. Secretly, we used her words in jest and everyone enjoyed making a little good humored fun of her. Her grandchildren adored her, but couldn’t resist joining in the fun occasionally.
We had one of our best laughs when she once took off her coat and hat and placed them on my bed. Later, when it was time to go home, we discovered that my Yorkie had chosen to take a nap on them. She picked up her hat, shook it around a bit and said mournfully, “Oh, no! Now it’s all mis-happen!” Of course, the word is misshapen, meaning distorted, warped, or deformed.
Ever since this incident, things have been “mis-happen” in our family.
My mother was a sweetheart in so many ways; we loved her dearly. Little did she know that her peculiar words were a source of laughter over the years and we wouldn’t have hurt her feelings for anything by telling her.
But these things have a way of coming back to bite you. I felt a little nip yesterday when I was telling my daughter how much I love listening to the Ponderosa music channel. When she laughed, I had no idea why for a few seconds – then it hit me. It’s Pandora! 
And to make matters worse, I’ve been calling it that for a week or more to Mr. H., who hasn’t said a word. Why hasn’t he set me straight? Who knows? He probably thinks it’s good for a lot more laughs if he leaves it alone.
Oh, my! I am becoming my mother!


Linda said...

How cute! Love this Peggy. There are so many things that we let go to keep from hurting feelings. You taught your children a powerful lesson here. Very good!

Maria said...

Great Peggy! Well written humor. Love it!

Diane Rollins Cook said...

My mother-in-law had a few words that she mispronounced too. Philedelthia was one of them. wink emoticon

Dennis J. said...

Great reading Peg! You're funny.

Susan said...

Surprise! We do become our mothers. It's not so bad. We loved them the way they were. Great post Peg.