ME AND MOM
(A short story)
It’s a Spring day in the countryside of Folkston, Georgia. The sun is bright, and birds are chirping like crazy in a tall tree that I try my best not to walk under. When I visit my friend Bobby, I have to go under that tree. Boy, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think the birds hold their poop to have a laugh at me trying not to get all pooped on. It took some time after coming home from Bobby house with bird poop all in my head and shirt to realize why my mom always asked me, if I was taking the umbrella. My reply would be the same, “The weather is okay mom. I don’t need it.’
The day I realized that the umbrella would keep the birds from pooping on me was a exciting day and the dumbest. I had the solution all the time but my mom, allowed me to figure it out on my own. I love my mom; she is the best mom in the world. On weekends when there is no school, she cooks a big breakfast for me and Bobby. He stays over to my house on Friday so we can play all day and have breakfast all day. We call it Breakfast Day! At the end of the day, I go with him to his house and spend the last free day before going to school at his house and Ms. Barbara his mom.
Bobby’s dad and mine, died in an accident in a coal mine when we were about five years old. His mom and mine have been the best friends since that day and so have me and Bobby. By the way, my name is Mike, mom calls me Big Mike because I am the man of the house now but not really. She still pays the bills; I have chores that she gives me to do and those I offer to do. It’s just us two and I want to make my mom happy when she come home from work.
Somedays, when she come home from work, I cook so she doesn’t need too. My cooking skills are limited however, I watch her when I can so I can learn. I think she knows I want to learn on my own. She will move over so I can see what she is doing and the spices she use to make a peach cobbler taste yummy! My favorite food in the whole wide world is Pork Chops n Gravy with Smothered Potatoes. I have not mastered this as I rarely am in the house when she cooks this meal. When I get wind of it in the air, I tell Bobby, “momma cooking my favorite I see you tomorrow.” He just waves me off and I take off running after I get pass the birds so I can get washed up and ready to eat.
We have two days left before Spring break! Bobby and I can barely hold our composure about it. We have made so many wonderful plans including heading down to the abandoned mind our dads died at and talk to them. Tell the what we been doing for the past seven years. Bobby has been sharpening his fishhooks and I have been gathering earthworms to fish with. It’s best to catch them during a full moon. You get a bunch of them like never seen before. Bobby and I are almost home. I live to the right of the fork in the road and he lives on the corner of the fork where the evil birds lurk in a tree. I tell you. Those birds have been in that tree so long, the leaves have turned white like snow. Too bad I don’t speak bird language. I would ask them to find another tree to hang around in for a while. Well, just until Bobby and myself grow up and go to college. I began walking into our yard and saw a movement in the kitchen. As I went inside, I smelled pie cooking. “Hello momma” I said she smiled at me, gave me a kiss on my forehead and told me to wash up for supper. “Momma is something wrong, why you home so early?” she sat me down and told me the plant that she and Ms. Barbara work at is being transferred out of state and we are free to go with the company if we can pay our own expenses. Ms. Barbara and I just don’t have the money to pack up and leave to start a new life in a new city. Plus, our home is paid for although it needs a few repairs she said. I asked, ‘do that mean Bobby and I wont have breakfast day for a while?” her reply, let’s don’t think about that right now. The Lord works in mysterious ways. We had a nice meal with Idaho potato pie. If you havent tried it, you should. It tastes like a sweet potato pie, but the color is white.
I went over to Bobby house this time; it was not to play but for us as the men of the house to come up with a way to help our moms until things get better. “I know! We can sell the fish we catch to the market and give the money to our moms to help out.” That’s a great idea so, we waited until our holiday from school began. School bell rings and children started yelling and running out the classroom to go home. I asked our teacher Mrs. Luck if she needed us to help her clean the classroom before we headed home. “That is thoughtful of you two” she said with a smile as she erased the board to write our next lessons when we come back from our break.
Mike and Bobby, you did such a wonderful job, here is a dollar each for your help. We looked at each other with surprise and in unison thanked our teacher and left. “you know what this mean Bobby? We have good luck on our side so we will not fail at what we do.” Bobby nodded his head, kissed his dollar bill and placed it in his pocket. “We should waste no time on making money for our moms... but first, we need to have a heart to heart with our dads let’s go.
The boys went to the abandoned mine and said their peace to their dads. “Big Mike, you go first.” Spoke Bobby with reluctance. Micheal James Trevino Sr. this is your son Micheal James the second. Mom calls me Big Mike since you died and all. Anyway, I want to tell you mom lost her job. So did Ms. Barbara, Bobby mom. Instead of us having fun this Spring Break, we decided to grow-up, be men (a ghostly figure of two men stood behind them but they perceived it not) not sure how to do that since we didn’t get the chance to be taught by you, but mom says I remind her of you often. Bobby came up with a plan to sell the fish we catch in the pond to the market and give the money to our moms so they can buy food and pay bills. Momma taught me how to pray so, if you don’t mind. I like to pray for a moment with your sir.” Bobby and Mike got down on their knees and the two figures, still wearing their work gear, behind them did as well.
We need your guidance to pull this off Big Sir in the sky cause our moms are the best moms in the world and we just want to make them happy and proud of us. Can you send us some good luck maybe even rain down some money to give to our moms? (the two ghostly figures of their dads looked at each other and chuckled). Well, that is all I have to say. Oh yeah, Dad. I love you.” Mike put on his baseball cap and nudged Bobby to speak his peace as he wiped a tear from his eye. Bobby made his conversation short and sweet. “Ahh, Mr. Travis McClendon, Dad I just want to say, “I love you too and ahh… what Big Mike said, I agree!” Mike and Bobby began to walk off. “chicken. You a big old’ chicken.” No, I’m not! said Bobby. You said it all I just agreed. The two ghostly figurines of their dad watched as the boys walked away then they faded back into the mine.
“Okay, we shall start in the morning right Big Mike?” Right. “Snappin Sizzle!” I forgot I can stay at your place since there is no school ... I’ll go get my fishing gear so we can head out together in the morning… The boys walked up to the front porch and saw Mike’s mom moving around in the kitchen. Mike opens the door, “is that pork chops n gravy I smell?” Yep with buttery brown biscuits, smothered potatoes and a pitcher of sun made sweetened tea. Snappin’Sizzle! Cried Bobby and it’s not a special day.” I have an idea said Ms. Joycelyn, Mikes mom. I was thinking Ms. Barbara and I go fishing with you tomorrow and we take all the fish we catch on that day and clean them up and sale fish dinners to the neighborhood. That will bring us some fast cash and you and Bobby get paid for fishing as well.” Bobby was excited about it, but Mike felt it is his responsibility to take care of his mom.
Dinner time is over. The boys gathered the scraps of food to take outside and put in the disposal. The moon is full and bright outside so there is no need for the flashlights to be lit. As they began walking towards a large patch of dirt in a hill in the back yard, the boys are still talking about the idea working with their moms Mike not paying attention where he is walking trips over a stump in the ground. Having a mild temper about not being the breadwinner, he fusses at the piece of wood sticking out of the ground, reach down and pulls it up. As he pulls the piece of wood to throw it, he realizes it would not come all the way in the air having a string of some sort attached to it. Mike tries to pull it with all his might and couldn’t do so. He and Bobby threw the food away, then came back with a shovel. Mike dug until he felt a hard substance. He removed all the excess dirt and grass from around it and to his surprise, he found a pewter chest. Mike and Bobby ran in the house and got his mom. “Come quick! I found something in the back yard attached to a stick and string. Ms. Joycelyn put on her sneakers and followed them. Her eyes got big as she raised her head to look at the boys… “This is your father’s chest. I never knew what happened to it.” Help me lift it and take in the house boys… Mike closed the curtains in case someone passed by, they would not see what they are doing. I have a key someplace around here. It looks like a skeleton... “it’s hanging from my bedroom ceiling fan “Mike replies…
Joycelyn, opens the chest and upon opening it she finds a letter that reads;
My darling wife, if you are reading this that means things did not go as planned in the mine. We knew a few weeks before the explosion that it was risky, but you know me, always willing to take a risk. Enclosed in this chest you will find stocks worth 6.5 million dollars. I was saving this for our son college and new home someplace else and a new start. Cash in the stocks and start a new life with someone that will love you as much as I do. There is also about Eighteen Thousand Dollars underneath the tray below. This is the best love letter I could have left you and Mike Jr. you both were the world to me.”
The letter went on to say, “If you see Barbara, tell her Travis I did the same. Look in the backyard for a piece of driftwood sticking out of the ground and Live her Life with Bobby.
Love you Forever,
Micheal James Trevino
Joycelyn sat at the table crying, while the boys hugged her in hope to stop the crying. “I’m okay! Just very excited and grateful. I wasn’t aware of any of this… Let’s put the chest up and in the morning, we can visit Barbara okay? “Yes ma’am. Everyone went to bed with anticipation of going to Bobby’s house the next morning. Mike and Bobby were up before the sun came out. They made a bowls of cold cereal for themselves and his mom. “Knock, knock, knock!’ the bedroom door opens and it’s the boys bringing a bowl of cold cereal filled to the rim walking slowly toward her bed. We figured you wanted to get a early start so, we made you breakfast said Mike. “I poured the milk! Bobby said with excitement.” She sat up to prepare to eat the meal they brought her as Bobby laid across her lap the breakfast table. “Thank you, Bobby,” Joycelyn took her time to eat her food as the boys stared on. After taking the fourth bite, the silence of her audience was too much to bear. “Okay, let’s get ourselves dressed and out.” Mike and Bobby took off their house coats to reveal they are ready to go! Hmm... she said, give me five minutes to get dressed.” Leaving the bedroom in a hurry, the boys were saying in a fading voice, I’ll grab the shovel, I got the flashlight.”
Knock, knock! Who’s at my door at this hour? said Barbara. It’s Joycelyn and the boys… may we come in. “sure, what’s wrong?” she ask with a concerned voice. I need you to sit down because you will need to hear what I am about to tell you. “I prefer to stand” okay, you and Bobby are wealthy! Travis and Micheal was working on getting us out of this neighborhood and saving money. “Are you sure about this Joycelyn?” yes, I have a letter from my husband the boys found that told me where to look and we are here to help you find the chest buried in your backyard.
“Girl, if that is true, I’m all over it. That means, we don’t need to work anymore unless we choose too.” Oh my, I’ll get my boots and meet you in the back” Everyone had flashlights. They walked in a line looking for the driftwood buried as the letter stated. They could not find it. So they sat on the back porch trying to figure out why isn’t the wood anywhere to be found. Joycelyn ask, “Barbara, you had a flood come through here last year if I recall so, its possible the chest and wood could have relocated someplace else in the yard. Do you remember seeing any dirt moving or accumulating anyplace?” yes, there was a hole starting to form in the back yard, Wait! That maybe where it is… I remember...” Give me the shovel Bobby, I got this… Travis, I love you and I thank you for thinking about us even in the afterlife.” said Barbara with an emotional voice. She dug and dug while they stared on from the porch. Barbara was beginning to weep, thinking she wasn’t going to find the chest. She raised the shovel once more in her tired state and plunged it into the earth when she felt a hit...
Joycelyn rose from the steps, casually walked over to where she stands. Barbara lifts the shovel and drops it into the hole again and they both heard the sound. “thump”. They beck for the boys to come help pull the chest from the earth and into the house. Barbara instructs the boys to close up the hole with the dirt and pack it tightly. Joycelyn and she, continues to carry the chest inside the house and place it on the wooden kitchen table. “There’s no keyhole. How am I to open it? Joycelyn began to run her hands around the chest box. Until she felt a soft spot on the bottom. They both flip the box partly to reveal the mechanics. It is a turn dial underneath a thin sliding door. Barbara turned the dial and the top popped open. She looked inside and found a letter.
I never thought I would ever be apart from you nor our son. You should know I love you more than the love upon this earth. When I took on this job with Mike, we realize we both had something in common. We love our wife. We began thinking about when we have a child and how we would move you both into a nice home with all the amenities and lavish you in our retired days. Well, when you look inside this chest, you will find stocks worth 6.5 million dollars. The value may have gone up or down depending on when you open the chest. I hope you aren’t upset with me for keeping this a secret, but I just wanted to give you the world and Mike has a good head about making money. I’m sure Bobby favors me and growing strong each day. I hope he and Mike Jr. will become strong in friendship like his father and I.
Love you Always,
The women went through the chests and strategized on what they would do with their wealth. “What about you and I opening up a Soul Food shop Barbara. We both know how to cook and who knows we can hire people to work it later when we want to take a vacation.” That sounds great. Let’s do it!
Several months later, the Soul Talker is open with standing room only. As they prepare to open the doors, Pastor Ryan drives up to the door. “Ladies, I want your business to be blessed. Allow us to pray over it before you cut that ribbon” this is the best gift from God a continuous flow in business and money if we do it right.” Come on Pastor. He places his vehicle in park and exit holding a megaphone in his hand. Everybody holds hands as we pray for this business. “This place is officially blessed and open now. Both women cut the ribbon together and the menu sign is put outside, Everyday Special, Pork Chops and Gravy with Smothered Potatoes, Green Beans, Yeast Roll. $6.99. Big Mike and Bobby helped set things up and jumped on their bicycles and left. They rode to the end of town to the coal mine their dads worked to talk to them. Hello Dad, this is your son Big Mike. I will always be junior to you and I don’t mind. I just want to tell you, thank you for stepping in and helping momma and me in time of need. You made her smile again and laugh. I don’t think I ever heard her laugh as much as I do now. I wish you could hear me. It’s okay, I feel good when I come here it feels like I’m protected. The ghostly figures of Travis and Micheal stood behind their boys smiling. Dad! Yelled Bobby, momma sure is happy these days and I never saw her as she is now. You still the man of the house even if you not here. I miss you, but I see your picture on my dresser every night. You should visit momma I’m sure she would like to see you. Just don’t scare her okay.” Ms. Trevino and mom opened up a hot meal place. Pastor Ryan came by and offered prayer. We dashed out to come tell you Thank you and you will always be number one dad to me forever.” Bobby wiped his tears away before putting his hat on. “we both feel this way dad. We’ll come back again to tell you more later. Bye for now.
Mike and Bobby jumped on their bicycles and rode back to help their moms. Joycelyn stepped outside as they rode to the door to chain their bikes to the rack. We went to talk to dad, “I know” I go there too sometimes.” Just hasn’t been in a while. It wasn’t by accident you found that chest Mike and I am forever grateful you did. Your dads had plans for you to go to college and become whatever you choose to be... maybe a doctor or a dignified lawyer.
Mike looked around his mom and saw the Markie sign. “ah mom, that sign says, Big Mike Special” yes it does. “It has Pork Chops with Gravy and Smothered Potatoes on it” mmmhmm. In honor of you finding the first chest, I thought it would be fitting to name our everyday special after you. That means… you can have your special meal anytime you want after chores are done. There’s a Bobby special too... “really” Blackberry Cobbler with vanilla ice cream. “Wow” let’s go. As you can see things turned out pretty good for Bobby and me. I went on to college and became a doctor. Bobby majored in business and revamped the family business. Opened a chain of restaurants in four major cities. We still visit the mine when we are in town and have a talk with our dads to let them know our progress. Our moms took a vacation finally they are travelling the world on a Cruise boat having the time of their lives. The Big Mike Special has been retired but comes on the menu twice a month. We had a wonderful childhood Bobby and me. When my mom returns from her trip, she will meet her first grandson and granddaughter. I couldn’t name them both Mike so, the wife and I agreed to on Micheal and Michelle. Looking forward to the next chapter of our lives being as exciting as our childhood and taking the family to the mine where Bobby and I go when we are in town to meet our dads…in spirit.
About the Creator
I am an Artist who finds joy in painting, writing short stories, interior decorating, poetry and songs. A romantic at heart with a child like imagination. A young introvert/empath, poetry activated a world of creativity through expression.