Saturday, January 9, 2010

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times - Chapter 23

#23 – “Always keep a little towel in the car.”
(Ann and Mom pictured left have nothing to do with this blog post. I just like the picture.)
This one of one hundred things my mom taught me a million times is one I can never seem to learn. My husband can't learn that pots on the stove are hot. Every time he goes into the kitchen I have to say to him, “Honey, that pan's hot!” Otherwise, he'll burn himself.  The "pan's are hot" cell in his brain is simply missing. Who knows. His great, great grandfather probably burned himself all the time too, and the gene was just passed down through the generations. It’s hardwired. Same with me and the “Keep a towel in the car” lesson. It just won't stick.

For example, we have a dog named Velcro (seriously – if you met him you’d understand the name), a beautiful yet annoyingly affectionate Blue Heeler. Anyway, Velcro (formerly named Isaac Ivanovitch) was a stray in San Antonio, which my son-in-law took in and passed on to us.  So on the way from San Antonio to Austin, transporting Isaac nee Velcro to his new home, he became so excited that he threw up …  a lot … into my purse, which was coincidentally and unfortunately between the seats, directly below his head.

Of course, I pulled off at the first exit, cursing poor Velcro, mother’s #23 echoing in my brain. No towel. It was a horrid mess. Although I was extremely tempted to simply toss my purse and Velcro out the door, the thought of having to replace all my credit cards, and the unmistakable look of regret and relief on Velcro’s face, were just more overwhelming than the smell and the indescribably nasty chore of emptying my purse on the nearby grass.

Example #2, and a piece of advice from me that I urge you to heed. Never spill milk in your car without cleaning it up immediately, especially if it is summer and your car will be parked with the windows up for hours. Many years ago I bought a Jeep Wrangler and the very first day I owned it I left the dregs of my coffee cup (including cream and sugar) sitting in a cup on the dash, and of course it tumped over on the carpet (not on the replaceable floor mats). There couldn’t have been more than a tablespoon of cream and coffee in the bottom of the cup. Did I have a towel in the car to clean up the minuscule spill? Nooooo. Did the cream sour in the heat? Yesssss. Did that car forever more smell like soured milk? Yessss. Honestly, I shampooed that carpet dozens of times and the smell never went away. A couple of years later I od’d the car with a car deodorizer and sold it to some unsuspecting victim. I don’t care what Google says, you cannot get the smell of soured milk out of a car. Always keep a towel in the car.

Another thing. I always felt I was smarter than my mom (notice the past-tense), so I would take a lesson and modernize or improve on it, i.e., I decided that keeping paper towels in the car was much more practical, sanitary, etc. than a towel. Not! Here’s the deal. When you’re screaming down the highway at 80 mph and a super-size diet coke cup collapses in your grip and launches itself into your lap, finding a paper towel roll under the seat of your car is virtually impossible (voice of experience here). But a towel will practically jump into your hands. I can’t explain it, some physics involved no doubt - surface tension, texture. Who knows, it just does.

So mom was right. Keep a little towel in the car! Now if I can just figure out a mnemonic device to help me remember to keep a towel in the car. Let’s see….
CAR – Crap always reeks.  DRIVE – Do remember Isaac vomits everything. TOWEL – Take out  - wipe every leak. Oh well, I’m obviously not very good at this and will no doubt suffer the consequences.

HOT PAN – Husband off the parching ablaze ….. never mind.



  1. Great shot of my grandmother with that pretty darned notable character to her right.

  2. I agree - love the photo. And some very good advice, also. Charlena