My mother often told us about walking to school when she was a child. We have told our own children such stories about walking for miles in the deep snow, up hill both ways. No wonder they rolled their eyes.
But my mother swore this tale was true. On her way to and from school, she had to pass a neighbor who had monkeys in his trees and they screeched at her as she passed by. She was petrified that one, or more than one, would swing out over the fence and jump onto her back.
Every morning her mother would warn her, “Stay away from those monkeys.” Mother did her best, running as fast as she could go down the sidewalk. She didn’t slow down until she felt like she was safe.
We laughed at her story. Mother told us to call her older sister, Eula. “She’ll vouch for me. Eula remembers everything.” We called. She did not remember.
“How could you forget those awful monkeys?” Mother yelled into the phone.
And so we teased mother about monkeys in the trees. After awhile, she stopped being mad and laughed along with us. We started giving her things with monkeys on them. Daddy even gave her a huge, stuffed monkey that made terrible sounds and we bought little ones that sounded even worse.
Then came the monkey bags that an artist friend painted for her. Mother especially loved this one. She carried it to doctor appointments, to the beauty shop, and down to dinner in her assisted-living home.
Now I use it to carry books when we travel or my Bible to church, but I haven’t yet carried it to dinner. Maybe I should, in memory of my mother and her monkeys.