Mom: Well, you thought like Old Lady Anna. She thought a dick was a banana!
A saint? Methinks not. “How the hell could I be a saint?” she would ask. “We’re Baptists!”
My Mom is a larger than life character crafted with one part June Cleaver, two parts Mahalia Jackson, three parts Oprah, and four parts Dorothy Parker. As the primary disciplinarian of five children, she is also eight parts Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. My Mom could threaten with words of such forceful violence that the MPAA would rate her NC-17. “Boy,” she would begin, “I will kick your ass so hard your great-grandchildren will be born with footprints!” It wasn’t hyperbole either. That aforementioned party? I went to it anyway. When I got home at 3 AM, my mother was standing in the doorway, illuminated by light like John Wayne at the end of The Searchers—an appropriate image as she loved Westerns. Except instead of holding her arm like Wayne, she was holding a belt. “I hope it was good,” is the last thing I remember her saying.
The occasional (and always deserved) ass-whipping was not all she dispensed. No one I knew could deliver common sense with a blunt honesty that ensured the lesson would be learned and never forgotten. In our house, The Awful Truth was more than a Leo McCarey movie. Sometimes I would say “well, you didn’t have to say it like that!” To which she would reply, “well, that’s too bad. I did.”
Through Mom, I was introduced to two things I love dearly: life and movies. I was born after a movie, in fact, which only serves to highlight her uncanny knack for consolidation. Through countless hours of movie watching on TV she introduced me to her favorites: Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis, Sidney Poitier, Abbott and Costello and Cicely Tyson. She had an opinion about every movie, and held unreasonable grudges against actors for roles they played. Her tastes ran from 40’s women’s pictures to horror movies too gory even for my cast iron stomach. And even though she liked the worst movie I have ever seen, I can still list her as the primary source of my love for movie knowledge. I love noir and screwball comedies because the dames were smart, tough and clever with words. Just like my Mom.
So, to honor her, and mothers everywhere, today’s Five for the Day salutes movie motherhood of all stripes, shapes and species. The sayings that precede each entry are Momisms courtesy of the person who brought you the Odienator.