She calls it the “little red card”. It works in lieu of cash. No worrying about getting money from the bank anymore. No carrying her entire clumsy purse into the grocery store anymore. No concerns about paying us back for gas to take her to Conroe anymore. Just the card. An amazing and magical concept. Has she never had a credit card? Nope, she never has. And at 96, admittedly, she may be a tad behind the times.
Off to the grocery store again last night. She is pretending not to be concerned because I am going to be gone for three days—leaving Monday after noon, gone all day Tuesday and returning Wednesday afternoon. Mom insists she’ll be fine. She can fix something out of the refrigerator. She is determined to prove to us kids that she can get along by herself. I’m terrified, again.
Without Sister Sara (she is busy living her life), Sunday School buddy Pauline is dropping by to check on Mom. She plans to bring some wine to share. Not sure how that will go. Fortunately, Pauline, our stand-in, has brought Mom plants before, so Mom knows her and likes her. If she remembers her, that is.
Mom wanted two things at the grocery store – pinto beans and spaghetti. I fixed the spaghetti and put it in the freezer and one bowl in the ‘fridge. But she insists on cooking her own beans in a pressure cooker. My sister-in-law Cindy was sure Mom was going to blow up their Atlanta kitchen with her pressure cooker. She didn’t, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
The only problem with cooking beans in a pressure cooker is the quantity. Mom usually fills the container and the result is a very, very large amount of cooked beans. With Al gone, there is only her to eat them. By the time she remembers them, the container is a fascinating study in mold cultures.
Over the last months, I have laboriously packed beans (and rice, and macaroni and carrots and sweet potatoes and her spaghetti) into individual-serving snack-bags and put them in the freezer. It is bulging with food. Even after showing Mom that there were four containers of beans in the freezer, and transferring two of them to the bottom to defrost, she insists on making her beans. I’m going to be gone after all. And she needs to have something to eat! It’s what she’s counted on for years on the road with Al. It’s comfort food.
Well, at least the beans won’t mold in three days.