Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday's Soap Opera

My mother is a bathing enigma. For a woman who hates to shower, you would think her choice of soap would be a non-issue. Not so. She needs a hardy bar; no frou-frou body washes in lemon verbena or wistful lavender. Moreover, it has to be fairly new. Anything under a third of a square and I’m in for some colorful language.

I don’t know what happened in her childhood to cause this obsession. My mother came from a poor immigrant family and suffered through the Depression. You’d think she’d wring every last froth out of a soap cake.

Whatever the reason, I refuse to throw away perfectly good slabs of usable soap. If we have to resort to a bit of shower gel with her bar every now and then to shore it up, so be it.

Yesterday morning, I hadn’t checked the dish before she got into the shower. I like to prepare myself in the event of an oncoming soap diatribe.

Madon, but there is never any soap in this house.”

“Ma, there is a perfectly good portion right there in the dish.”

“What…this?” she said, grabbing the offensive beige-colored piece, eyeing it with disgust. “What am I gonna do with this?”

“Are you kidding me? There's almost half a bar there!”

A fangula,” she said disgustedly, and slammed the curtain shut.

Mere moments later, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a tip of the curtain open. A sloppy and slimy wedge flew out and hit the wall with a mushy thud. The projectile lay dead at my feet – the soap bar in a pyre of its own suds.

I pulled open the shower curtain and there was my half washed mother, a sparkle in her eye, proffering an empty facecloth.

If a new bar wasn’t two floors down in our basement closet, I would have gladly gotten it just for the laugh she gave me. It was too risky though; four flights in total provide plenty of time to flee the shower for a woman who hates to bathe and is soapless.


  1. This probably wasn't funny at the time, but it is now reading it. It's almost as if she was playing with you. Maybe growing up in hard times has caused her to latch onto cleanliness and a full bar of soap.

    Straight From Hel

  2. It was very funny in the moment because I could sense she herself was doing it out of humor and not malice. There are moments like this and they are so refreshing.

  3. You have an "Honest Scrap" award waiting for you over on my blog. :)

  4. Woahhhhh... Laura got to you before I did! Well, consider yourself DOUBLE Honest Scrap-ped. Your blog is amazing, and I can't wait to read your next post.

  5. Madron - I can hear her and see the look on her face!!!! I am rotfl. Kiss the bald one for me.

  6. Laura and Stef! THANK YOU! I will send out my 7 as soon as I start looking at more blogs and finding my favorites. THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  7. Oh boy, Lisa, your blog hits close to home. My sister and I just ended this journey with my mother a little over a year ago. Actually, her 90th birthday would be day after tomorrow. It is time when we laugh at what is sad and cry at what is funny. No one can understand who hasn't been through it with a parent. Particularly with a mother who always cared for you. Laugh when you can, cry when you need to, and through the process, try to stay sane! LOL

  8. Thanks for your comments Sylvia. I am trying REALLY hard to take one day at a time, and to latch on to those moments that are funny and let go of the more difficult ones. Thank you for understanding through your own experience. I am convinced dementia is an epidemic at this point.