We dubbed my mother The Duchess. Technically, her heraldry name is The Duchess of Do More because my mom is a whirling dervish of activity. Mom does everything at Duchess Speed and had mastered the art of the multi- task long before the baby boomers thought that they had invented it. That’s why she was recently named volunteer of the year for our state.
My nephew never did actually call her Duchess by the way. He eventually called her Grama just like all the other grandkids. The possible exception would be The Practical One, whose personal pet name for Mom, particularly in her Polish moments, is Grammooski. To the rest of us, Mom is very affectionately called either The Old Woman… or The Duchess.
Some Random Duchess Facts:
1. It is impossible for The Duchess to sit on the passenger side of a car without sizzling. If you have a mother like The Duchess, you know without explanation that I am referring to the s-s-s-s-s-s-s sound made by sucking air over the teeth. The car sizzle is generally accompanied by the doorknob clutch, the foot thrust, and the two syllable name.
2. If you tether her hands, you tie her tongue.
3. The Duchess is loud and expressive. She has always been loud and expressive, but she is doubly so now that she has lost a good part of her hearing. Once, one of the girls’ favorite teachers mentioned that he knew how The Duchess felt about a particular hot button topic. When asked how he knew, he replied with a laugh, “Her windows were open.”
4. And regarding that hearing loss? Everyone mumbles around The Duchess. She doesn’t know why people can’t speak up anymore. And that fancy sound system at church is absolutely worthless and a waste of good money…
5. Don’t ask The Duchess for her opinion if what you really want is affirmation. After all, she was planning to give that opinion whether or not you asked…. And then you asked.
6. If there is one thing that The Duchess saves as much as the Polish Tupperware, it’s the empty coffee can.
7. The Duchess loves holidays, especially Christmas. Her 15 Christmas trees will have to be fodder for a post all their own…
8. When The Duchess started to gray, we observed that she bore a striking resemblance to this guy:
And we told her so. We have teased her unmercifully ever since. She always laughs.
By the way, that part's not nearly as funny to me as it used to be…