Mom's Painted Plaques!

Mojo's Favorite Mother's Various Stabs at Artistry


Mojo's mom is a quilter, we all know, and quilters, if you don't have the good fortune of knowing one, are a Breed Apart, an eccentric and fun group of (mostly) ladies who can kill their own snakes, as the vernacular puts it, although to be perfectly honest Mojo likes snakes and does not appreciate those who blindly kill them just because they happen to be snakes. Spiders, too. Both spiders and snakes play important respective roles in the ecosystem and for the most part just want to be left alone and try to run away from humans as soon as they can. Mojo's Favorite Mother of course is responsible for passing on this Boundless Love for All of God's Creatures--so long as Mojo's blood is not spilled, of course--and I always thought that the following anecdote was indicative of the sort of open-minded and fair person Mom was and is. For according to HER, Mojo's Favorite Mother was actually afraid of spiders and snakes, but she did not wish to pass this illogical bias on to her children. So when we were kids, Mom used to encourage us to handle daddy longlegs--who, granted, Mojo now knows are not actual spiders but a type of arachnid called a Harvestman--and would sometimes let them crawl on her to actively show us they were harmless. Snakes were another matter, for as try as she might she never got over her fear of them, but when she encountered one in the garden she would just calmly walk to the house and ask one of us to temporarily remove the fellow from her presence. And once when I was young and stupid I accidentally stepped on a very large rat snake that was sunning itself and got very badly bitten. My mother was afraid, since I was in hysterics, that I would grow to be afraid of snakes, so all the way to the doctor's office (for a tetanus shot) I was lectured on how it was my thoughtless actions that caused the poor snake to have to defend itself. So by the time I got to the doctor's my snivelling was substantially reduced and indeed later that summer my dad specifically took me out snake-hunting (just catching them, not hurting them) just to make sure there were no ill effects from my traumatic encounter. I did not realize that was what he was doing until in retrospect, but we all know some of us are rather slow on the uptake.

Anyway, Mom's family often used the snake-killing phrase to indicate the sort of woman who didn't sit around helplessly squealing and waiting for the big strong men to come do something unpleasant for her, but instead had the gumption to jump in and do things herself. Occasionally there was a somewhat disapproving lesbian undertone to it in my extreme youth, but that has changed with the times and because Mojo is all for women doing things for themselves regardless of who they happen to be dating or their eye color or hairstyle or whatever else escapes Mojo's attention. So when Mojo says quilters as a group can kill their own snakes she means it in a purely complimentary fashion, so long as no snakes are actually harmed in the making of the metaphor. For Mojo actually DOES know women who really DO hate and kill snakes, and while Mojo is a live-and-let-live sort of person privately she is mourning the poor snakes who have the misfortune of meeting these people.

Anyway, in addition to the quilting Mom has been known to dabble in other arts, like painting and whatnot, and likewise encouraged us kiddies to paint and draw and make a mess of the house. And here for your bidding pleasure is a sampling of her prodigious output through the years when she was not cutting fabric up into little bits and sewing it back together. (Which is actually quite a marvelous feat of engineering, requiring all sorts of knowledge about geometry and trig. My Mom if you ask her outright will claim that she knows very little about math and oh-it's-too-hard but if you put the question in terms of fabric selvages or how to construct or enlarge a quilting block she'll spew numbers at you for hours. And while she likes to play "oh silly little me" and "I'm just a housewife" at times the reality is, she holds a Master's degree and her thesis, which I stumbled across once as a child in a bound leather volume, is a totally incomprehensible (at least to me at the time) analysis of the Doppler Effect. So while Mojo tends to blame her Favorite Father for her engineer-type somewhat anti-social problem-solving skills, there's something to be said for the female side of the gene pool as well. But I digress.)

These are three little plaques meant to enrich and enliven your home decor. The first one looks like some sort of kit that she painted and glued together. It says "Welcome" and there's a little duckie on it and a bunch of what appear to be tulips. Or is it a goose? It's hard to say. It measures a little less than a foot wide, if you care. And then there is the Christmas bear plaque. Nothing outstanding about it, although for some reason I can tell by the eyes that my mother painted it. I wonder why that is? And last but not least, in her short wood-burning phase she made this bunch of mushrooms from what looks like a scrap piece of paneling back when the kitchen was redone and we had paneling and z-brick and a corner cupboard put in. This Still Life With Mushrooms was actually given to me to sell by a Certain Sibling who apparently does not appreciate all that our Sainted Mother did and does for them, but far be it for Mojo to judge this person or even say Who It Is no matter how much Mom threatens me with being struck off the will or haunting me after she has gone. (Which is a common threat Mom makes should we do something that displeases her, which tends to be several times a day. "If you say that about me on the Internet, heaven help me I am going to come back and HAUNT you!" she will say. And our job, as her obnoxious children, is to say "Yes, Mother" and then go ahead and do it anyway. Hey, it Works For Us.) So I will not say who she is, except that she is older than me. Oh, wait, did I say "she"? Crap.

So enjoy my Mom's painted plaques and the Certificate of Craptacularity that will come with them as I hurry to pack my belongings and move to an undisclosed location in another country for a while until my minor slip blows over. I figure twenty years should do it. Wait there's the phone....thank heaven for caller ID.... uh oh....too late....