Although Mother did not attend either my wedding or my sister’s wedding, for some reason she felt a strong urge to fly to Chicago for the wedding of one of her nieces. After the wedding, she decided that it was the perfect time to take a vacation trip to visit me in Iowa. I drove in to Chicago, picked her and lucky husband number three up at O’Hare Airport, and drove them back to Iowa.
My car was almost brand new prior to the trip. However, after our return it seemed to have become rather dilapidated. Mother and Tom loved to smoke. They sat in the back and lit one cigarette after another non-stop until there was a blue and gray haze in the car. As I drove, I began to have trouble seeing through the thick haze of their cigarette smoke. As it was the dead of winter and about ten degrees below zero outside, rolling down the windows was not an option. Though, as the car rolled on, it became more and more tempting to brave the conditions and risk frostbite.
During the drive, the ashtray became full, so Mother began dumping her ashes anywhere she could think of, which included her purse. When she decided to use the floor, I became concerned. My almost new car was suddenly at risk of becoming a fire moving at 60 miles per hour on the wintry interstate.
Upon our arrival, I found several burn holes on my new car’s upholstery. Yet another reminder of Mother’s cavalier attitude in regard to people’s possessions. When we unloaded, Mother dumped her purse containing tons of ashes on my new kitchen table. Naturally she made no attempt to clean it up. I began to scrub up the remnants of her chain smoking and she bellowed:
Lindy! You are making me a nervous wreck. Why don’t you just sit down and relax? All this jumping up and down just because of a few ashes isn’t natural.
And so we had found yet another area we on which we disagreed. Mother did not believe cleanliness was next to Godliness or anywhere close.