Jeanne Lupton "O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?"

When Momma died, my sister helped herself to practically everything.  Maybe it was because she was the favorite, or maybe she was just greedy.  The old music box.  The best piece in the house, being Granny’s sideboard, with mirror.  All along saying she didn’t care about The Things.  Just wanted her sister, and that would be me, to be happy.  “Here honey, have the faux pearls,” and, “Take all the stainless flatware.”  While she ran through the house grabbing up all the quality items, like a desperate scavenger.  Ghoul, more like.  Each and every single Karistan rug.  Momma’s half-carat diamond ring, even.  I was not happy.  So I decided poor cremated Momma should come stay with me.

Momma and I never was close until her dying year.  Then she softened up and loved me at last.   We forgave each other everything.  When she died, I cried and cried to lose my newfound Momma.  Then she contacted me from The Beyond soon after passing over and has stayed in close touch.  Momma lives.

I was walking the two miles every Sunday morning just to visit her there in the columbarium at Placid Valley Memorial Gardens.  That place was all right as far as cemeteries go.  But I’d think, does Momma like staying in a cubbyhole with nothing but dead strangers around?  I observed that all I would need was a Phillips screwdriver and one of my new stainless butter knives to pop off the metal plate on the front of her little cabinet.  Wouldn’t she like it better at my house?  More homey.  Save me the trip.

So, early one Sunday, I walked on over there and I sprung Momma, with only the squirrels and the crows to witness it.  Carefully put the metal plate back on, so it looked

like Momma was still in there.  Toted her home safe inside her lovely mahogany box inside the little midnight blue velvet bag the funeral parlor give us.

Sometimes my sister comes to visit me.  She isn’t particularly stupid, and she would notice right off that mahogany box or that blue velvet bag.  So immediately I poured my Momma right into her very own pink Hawaiian candy jar, of which she was very proud, with lid.  Now here she sits on my coffee table.  She whispers to only me that she’s happy here.

When my sister visits, I enjoy that Momma’s right here in the room and she don’t know it.  I say, “Let’s go pay our respects to Momma at Placid Valley Memorial Gardens!”  My sister takes roses.  She stands there, and she cries, “Oh, Momma!  Momma Honey!” and dabs her eyes with a tissue.  I’m crying too, for joy.

Because, of course, Momma don’t answer my sister from The Beyond, just me.  Momma don’t live with my sister.  She lives with me, The Black Sheep.  My sister can have the music box.  I got Momma.