• Leta McCurry

Don't Mess With Mama


When I was fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, I knew everything and there was no doubt my conclusions and opinions were beyond challenge. It was obvious grown-ups, especially my parents, were clueless. I couldn’t wait to teach them a thing or two once I was old enough to escape their clutches and go out there and set the world on fire.


I had a lot of lessons to learn. Some of these lessons were so big they practically knocked me down. Others were subtle but so powerful they stayed with me all my life.


One of the things my parents taught us was not to lie. Along about the time I was so wise, I decided to challenge my mom and make her see that she sometimes did lie.

I said, “Mom, if your friend asked you how you liked her new dress and it was horrible, would you tell her the truth?”

My mother was a simple, country woman. I don’t think she even graduated eighth grade. She was also kind and would never intentionally hurt anyone so I thought I had her in a neat little trap. Quick as a flash she said, “I would.”


“You would tell say her dress was horrible?”


“No. I would say, if it suits you, it tickles me plumb to death.”



There is a lot of my mom and her simple country wisdom in Granny Odella, a character in my first book, High Cotton Country. Granny Odella was one of my favorite characters and she was fun to write. Here is one of my favorite Granny Odella scenes from High Cotton Country.


Odella let the screen door slam behind her, and eased into the old porch swing by the back door. Just looking at Lonnie's house at the far side of the property was a vexation to her soul. Men! She calmed herself, folded her hands in her lap, focused her gaze on the vast blueness of the October sky, and settled down for a little talk with God.


"Lord," she said, "I 'spect you know what you're doing, but there are times I wonder if you make men as stubborn as mules and prideful as a rooster in a hen yard a'purpose, or did they just git that way on their own?"


Click on book cover to read the first chapter of High Cotton Country.




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