Tag Archives: mothers

2009. Tortino di riso alla valdostana

“Don’t bother calling this number again,” shouted Belinda, throwing her phone vehemently on the floor.

It had been a bad day. First she had discovered at breakfast that there was no orange juice left. She had darted out to the nearby shop and the time wasted meant she missed her regular bus. She was therefore late for work. When the boss reprimanded her for lateness, Belinda replied “You can stick the job where the sun don’t shine, you toffee-nosed chimpanzee.” That kind of ended her employment, and rather suddenly. Anyway, job termination had been on Belinda’s mind for some time. This merely gave things a push.

Upon returning home she quickly scanned the Net for job vacancies and it seemed that every suitable job stipulated: “Reference from previous employer required.” It was hardly something she could ask from a toffee-nosed chimpanzee.

And now her mother had phoned. “Would you like to come to dinner because the Caltabiano’s, nearby neighbours on Brookland Avenue, are coming and bringing their son, a nice young man that I think you’d like. I thought we would dine poolside.” That’s when Belinda shouted “Don’t bother calling this number again,” and threw her phone vehemently on the floor.

Jobless or not, Belinda decided she would spend a little on herself and go out to lunch at a semi-fancy restaurant. She selected an Italian restaurant, dressed herself nicely (just a little bit to get out of her work clothes) and set out. The waiter was very nice; in fact adorable; in fact quite the most stunning man Belinda had spied in a long time; in fact Belinda was so stricken that she almost couldn’t eat her tortino di riso alla valdostana. “I shouldn’t be saying this,” he said, “but would you like to go dancing this evening?”

Indeed she would! And indeed they did!

“I was meant to go out with my parents this evening,” he said, “to some fuddy-duddy’s place on Brookland Avenue to have dinner poolside because they reckoned they had a lovely daughter. My mother’s always trying to set me up with someone. But honestly, I prefer this.”

1581. Dopp kit, sponge bag, toilet bag

Half the problem of being a writer of international fame in the English-speaking world is the limitation placed on vocabulary. Merton wanted to write a story involving a sponge bag. But would the readers know that a sponge bag was the same as a toilet bag? Or what if, after searching online, he discovered that some people call it a Dopp kit?

Whatever it is called, Merton was determined to tell his story, so he called it a sponge bag, because that’s what he’d grown up knowing it as.

Kathryn’s family was rich. Well, not rich exactly, but comfortable. They never had to think more than twice before something was purchased. A replacement mattress for a queen-sized bed might be pricey but it was always affordable when such a thing was required. Kathryn was sent to a private school for girls. It wasn’t cheap by any means. In fact, it was possibly the most exclusive girls’ school this side of the Mississippi.

When it came to “having things” at the school, Kathryn had nothing but the best; the best clothes, the best luggage, the best school bag, the best sponge bag. In the mornings, when she went to clean her teeth and wash her face, her exquisite sponge bag was sometimes stared at by the other girls. It had prints of lavender on the sides, with a silver-coloured zipper at the top, and a little mirror when it opened. Yes, indeed. Kathryn’s mother had guessed right when she said (part jokingly of course) that the sight of a sponge bag first thing in the morning establishes ones social standing firmly in the minds of others for the rest of the day. In fact, possibly not because of the sponge bag but because of the confidence it instilled into Kathryn, she was elected to be the one to give the speech on the teacher’s birthday.

Even though the school cost a pretty penny they accepted three girls from poor families free of charge to alleviate their conscience for overcharging everyone else. Margaret was one such girl.

Margaret’s mother had sewn together a sponge bag for her daughter. To be honest, it wasn’t much. It was fabric with little hearts on it, and lined with plastic. A drawstring took the place of a zip, and it didn’t have a mirror. Margaret kept her toothbrush and toothpaste and other things in there. It served her well enough.

All that sponge bag stuff was years ago. Time waits for no one. Kathryn’s sponge bag has long gone. She lives in a comfortable walled-estate known as Meadowlark, and sends her daughter to the most exclusive school for girls this side of the Mississippi.

Margaret on the other hand lives in an unbelievably beautiful mansion. She has three children, a gardener, several cars, and everything else. She made her fortune making and selling sponge bags with little hearts on them, and lined with plastic. A drawstring takes the place of a zipper, and it doesn’t have a mirror. It’s the type of sponge bag that most people purchase because it is pretty even though such things don’t really matter.


85. Mothers Know Everything


Barry and Larry were identical twins. They were thirteen years old. Their mother left them at home while she went shopping for groceries. They were old enough to look after themselves.

Barry and Larry decided to have a cup of coffee. Larry accidently spilt some sugar on the bench from his teaspoon. Barry thought Larry was an uncoordinated dingbat and threw a whole teaspoon of sugar at Larry.

Larry tipped the entire sugar bowl over Barry’s head.

Barry went to the cupboard and got out the new bag of sugar and threw 1.5 kilograms at Larry.

Larry got a bag of flour and threw it at Barry. Barry threw all the coffee beans at Larry. Larry grabbed the teabags and threw them at Barry. Barry threw the bread-maker yeast at Larry.

Larry threw the left-over mashed potato that had been in the fridge. Barry threw the rice. Larry threw the ground coconut. Barry threw the couscous. Larry threw the pasta. There were only a few herbs and spices left in the cupboard after that, which was why their mother was out shopping. Then Barry found the bread crumbs.

It was so funny, but they’d better hurry and clean up before mother comes home. They swept the floor five times and hid all evidence.

Their mother arrived. She walked into the kitchen with the groceries.

The instant she trod on the kitchen floor, without even looking, she said, “There’s been a sugar fight.”