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Monday, 02 April 2012

Mom and the Ants

By Mickey Rogers of This, That and the Other

Usually Mom was easy-going but when she did get angry, watch out! Like the metamorphosis from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde, she would turn into a new, monstrous form. Evidently she inherited this trait from her father.

Grandpa was the most easy-going man on the face of the earth or, at least, that was my youthful impression of him. The only times I ever saw him the least bit agitated were when he and Dad discussed politics. Grandpa was a diehard Republican; he would have voted for Hitler if he happened to be on the ticket. On the other hand, Dad championed the Democratic Party - the “party of the people.”

Somewhere in the middle of the political debate, Grandpa would “hit below the belt” with a negative statement about my father’s hero, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Dad would counter with an attack on the man most admired by Grandpa - Abraham Lincoln.

Mom told me that although 99 percent of the time Grandpa was quiet and gentle, when he was upset one didn’t want to be around him and like I have said, she had inherited that same trait.

When she disciplined us kids, she’d use the wooden part of a paddle ball to bash our backsides. Mom stood a towering five feet tall and after a big meal weighed perhaps ninety-eight pounds, so you can imagine how ineffective her spankings were.

At first I made the mistake of being macho. While she banged away I’d just smile. That really ticked her off. Therefore, when Dad arrived home from work, she’d tell him about whatever infraction (real or imagined) that I had committed. Then the old man would remove his belt and start pounding on the old posterior. One couldn’t help but cry from the pain he inflicted.

I soon learned to act like Mom was killing me whenever she was applying corporal punishment. I’d cry, scream and beg for mercy. That way she didn’t get so angry that she’d blab to Dad.

On one occasion, Mom was so ticked off that she accidentally gave me a black eye. Not even Dad, who seemed to enjoy dishing out physical punishment, ever did that!

One Saturday morning, she was making a cake. Carefully she poured the mix into an open container. Then the telephone rang. If I remember correctly, her sister was calling. Having a good old time, Mom talked on the phone for over an hour.

Meanwhile some hungry ants had sniffed out the food that was left unguarded in the bowl. Following their leader’s example, the little guys climbed up the side of the bowl and then lowered themselves into the awaiting pile of goodies.

Luckily this was a vanilla cake - probably we wouldn’t have spotted the ants in a chocolate one. Anyway, when Mom finally returned to the kitchen, she saw an army of tiny little brownish-red creatures marching around in her cake mix. Instantly she turned into her version of Mr. Hyde.

My sisters and I encouraged her to throw away the concoction. I even volunteered to get her another cake mix at the store. Nothing doing! Pulling out her strainer, she began to sift through the mix.

The scared little ants were flying this way and that. Mom, her face red with anger, yelled at the invaders as she continued her frantic activity: “This is my cake mix! Get out of my stuff, you little creeps!”

Eventually she was able to remove perhaps ninety percent of the ants, but every now and then we would still spot something small scurrying across the sugary landscape.

Madder than a wet hen, Mom baked the cake and then applied the icing. For once I wasn’t begging for a piece of it.

None of her kids or even Dad would eat any of it and when push came to shove, she didn’t have the nerve to eat it, either.

No doubt the cake was safe to eat; just a little extra protein had been added. No doubt horse meat is safe, too, but I’m not in any hurry to try it.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. PLEASE read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


I never saw that side of your mother's personality. She always seemed so quiet and polite.

Mickey - Baked ants. Sounds delicious!

My mother always deferred corporal punishment to my father. After arriving home and learning my mother's version of my transgression(s), he would take me into a side room, and 9 times out of 10, instruct me to bawl while he clapped his hands together. - Sandy

How many of us have probably eaten not only ants, but who knows what else without knowing and better not to have known then or now.

My mother seemed like such a nice and funny lady to those who did not live in our house.

Enjoyed your story!


Great story. I loved how your Mother talked to the ants.

“This is my cake mix! Get out of my stuff, you little creeps!”

I sometimes to insects,too.
I came into our house one day and was promptly stung by a wasp in my dining room.

"How dare you, you miserable pest. This is MY house. Now I have to kill you." And I did kill him with a healthy dose of insecticide which smelled up the house for a couple of days, but it was worth it.

I always enjoy your stories.They remind me of home.

Good story! I remember Mom over baking brownies for a school function. She put wet kitchen towels on them and warned me to not tell on her!

Oh how funny!
That Dr. Jekyll/ Mr Hyde thing reminds me of myself a bit. Hope my boys turn out as good as you!

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