Who originally wrote it, I don’t know. But I know where my copy came from. It’s been folded and re-folded a couple of dozen times, read and re-read when I needed a chuckle or wanted to make someone else laugh.
A little lady named Miss Mary gave it to me one morning as I waddled down the hallway of the retirement center where I worked. A week overdue with my first child, I wasn’t moving very swiftly and I stopped to rest and to say hello.
“I have something for you,” she said and reached into her pocket and pulled out a freshly folded piece of white paper. “It’s a funny about mothers.”
Then she patted my belly gently and looked up at me and said. “It will be here soon. I can tell these things.”
And, sure enough, our son was born the very next week.
That was 18 years ago almost. Miss Mary isn’t with us any longer, I heard. But her funny about mothers is — folded and re-folded a couple of dozen times, read and re-read over the years when I needed a chuckle or wanted to make someone else laugh.
Like now — this is what it said:
Mama taught me to appreciate a job well done — If you are going to kill each other, do it outside! I just finished cleaning this house. Mama taught me religion — You better pray that will come out of the carpet!
Mama taught me time travel — If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to slap you into the middle of next week! Mama taught me logic — If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me!
Mama taught me foresight — Be sure you have on clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident! My mama taught me irony — Keep on crying and I’ll give you something to cry about! Mama taught me the science of osmosis — Shut your mouth and eat your supper!
Mama taught me how to be a contortionist — Will you look at the dirt on the back of your neck! Mama taught me about stamina — You’ll sit there until all of those turnip greens are gone!
Mama taught me about weather — It looks like a tornado swept through your room! Mama taught me to solve problems in physics — If I yelled because you were going to be hit by a car, would you listen to me then?
Mama taught me about hypocrisy — If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, don’t exaggerate! Mama taught me the circle of life — I brought you into this world and I can take you out!
Mama taught me behavior modification — Stop acting like your father! Mama taught me about envy - There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you have!
Mama taught me about anticipation — Just wait until we get home! Mama taught me about receiving — You’re going to get it when we get home!
Mama taught me medical science — If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they’re going to get stuck that way! Mama taught me to think ahead — If you don’t pass your spelling test, you’ll never get a good job!
Mama taught me ESP — Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you’re cold?! Mama taught me humor — When you cut off your toe with the lawnmower, don’t come running to me!
Mama taught me how to become an adult — If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up! Mama taught me about my roots — Do you think you were born in a barn?! Mama taught me about the wisdom — When you get to be my age, you’ll understand!
And the all time favorite lesson mama taught me was justice — One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!
Thanks, Miss Mary.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.