Remembering MaMa

2967577449_6329d629da_oIt was summer, and I was small–6 or 7. MaMa left the car running and walked me by the hand into the Prosperity Post Office. We were on our way to the grocery store or some other mundane destination, but time with her was never ordinary, and this was no exception. Stamps were 20 cents then, and she only needed one.She said hello and asked for a stamp, please, because she was never short on manners, and I’m certain the woman behind the counter was a family friend or distant relative. The postmistress didn’t even look up in response to the request; she simply ripped off a stamp and pushed it across the counter. It zipped across the worn formica surface and caught a breeze from the open door just before it reached the edge, and in slow motion, like a leaf falling from a tree, it zigged and zagged in the air before landing softly in the middle of the post office floor. MaMa looked at it there on the faded wood for a few long seconds, and then, with her trademark pursed-lip look of irritation and that impatient sigh she often made that never quite left the back of her throat, she picked up the stamp, placed her two dimes on the floor where the stamp had been, and took hold of my hand. She never said a word to me about the incident–it was not her style to speak badly of anyone, ever–but I have never forgotten the expression on her face in those few contemplative seconds as she decided on a response to such blatant rudeness and put into action. I never will.

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