My Momma’s tales of Mrs. Acres have filled my childhood with many pleasant memories. Stories of her adventures—or misadventures should Momma need to make a point—were part of our daily life in a way. Oh! She was a mystery to us all, and yet it seemed that everyone in the world knew her. I never did quite get how that worked, but I believe it was the not knowing that kept me on the persistent side. Tell me more! I would beg. Tell me more! My Momma would always sigh and walk away and cry for a little. Momma’s sighs always did worry me. They were heavy and deep as though weighted down with many wet clothes and bricks and bad days. I still wanted to know even as I consoled her with hugs and kisses and tighter hugs and kisses as she sobbed even harder. She would finally stop crying and she’d look at me, we’d hug again and she’d start another story like nothing ever happened. I waited every day for Momma to find time to sit down and tell me about another day from the life of Mrs. Acres.
Momma always did have a point to make whether it was good or bad, for or against. She’d even tell of Mrs. Acres’ mistakes just to warn me to watch out for them and I would learn quickly. It was Mrs. Acres this, or Mrs. Acres that, but it never did bother me. She was my idol, I suppose, even though I had never met the woman before in my life. I wanted to meet her—how I wanted to meet her! Momma said she had passed away years and years ago before I was born but that she was still alive in the stories. I always took the lessons to heart because I wanted to be just like Mrs. Acres! I would ask Momma a dozen times a day: “Am I anything like her? Anything at all?” and before she could even answer I would say, “I bet I am!” with a certain nod that could have nearly snapped my neck. As it turns out I am like her! Momma says I look just like her too!
My Momma always talked about Mrs. Acres’ beauty. Oh! How lovely she must have been! I was told that only a blind and deaf man could describe her because there wasn’t a color or sound in the world that could match the brightness on her face or the excitement in her laugh. I always thought I would find at least one right color that might match…even if it was only a little close. No matter how many colors I saw in the forest or the river or the sky, I never could find one with enough passion in it compared to the passion in my Momma’s voice when she talked about Mrs. Acres. At the time I thought Momma must of come up with some of the words she used to describe her on account of the fact I had never heard them before. What were some of the ones she used? Let’s see. Exuberant. Illuminating. Pulchritudinous. It wasn’t until later that I figured out she just might have just used every synonym for the word ‘perfect’ starting from A and going all the way to Z. Zealous. That was one too!
Apparently Mrs. Acres was a kind lady. She always had a free hand and the other always had an elegant shape as it curled around a basket filled with bottled peaches. She’d hand them out like they were candy and would never ask for anything in return except a good smile. I kind of want to see her smile just so I can smile back and get a jar of her famous peaches. Her peaches were said to literally make happiness. I wanted to believe it but I just didn’t see how that was possible. Momma said she had her peaches once when she was deathly ill and she perked right up and started to jig. It makes me wonder what she put in them. Maybe happiness could be an actual ingredient, you never really know.
She was also good at making quilts. I begged Momma enough to get her to dig through piles and piles of old stuff to find one of her works. It was gorgeous! I had never seen anything like it before in my life. The colors on it were perfectly matched, you could feel the work that she point into it. I would put my nose up to the quilt and I swear I could smell the flowers. I could put my ear to it and I swear I heard the wind blowing and the river flowing. I could also hear the birds that she sewed on there and I could feel the bark on the trees. Mrs. Acres sure did know how to make her quilts come to life! I always admired that about her.
You know how it’s hard to hear the difference in Miss and Ms. And Mrs. Well, I asked Momma one day: “Was she married Momma? Did she have a lover?” Momma nodded with a sincere smile that day and gave a slight laugh telling me how there were no two people better matched. I won’t get into Mr. Acres because Momma didn’t say much about him just that they were love birds and they never fought and had a great time together. You also know how the stories go, right? The princess meets the prince and they live happily ever after. Well, I was a little old to believe in stuff like that, but I sure wanted to think it happened that way! Well, you guessed it: I asked her. Momma hesitated for a moment and said she would save that for another day, and then she went off a cried a little.
Momma put it off for a while, but I respected that because I could tell just by looking at her. She didn’t have to say it, it was written on her ageless face. Momma wanted to wait and tell me about Mrs. Acres’ lover on my special day and when I had kids. Though, I already knew. They lived happily. I never did get to confirm it though. Momma passed away before she got a chance to tell me. As it turns out people just don’t just live in stories, but they live in our hearts too. I decided I would pass down Mrs. Acres’ stories as well as Momma’s and mine once I got the chance. I have to keep Grandma and Momma in my heart after all!