Some habits ‘grow’ on you


My mom was organized and a creature of habit.

Some of it rubbed off on me.

Growing up, I learned that everything had a place.

Mom didn’t like clutter and she didn’t like picking up after either me or my brother. I can remember many times she fussed when we didn’t put toys away or toss our dirty clothes into the hamper.

She didn’t have OCD, but she preferred things to be neat and tidy.

“You never know when somebody might stop by,” she always said.

I never gave it a second thought.

Hardly anyone stopped by.

My uncle Fuzzy came over early every Saturday morning. He and dad loaded up the lawn mowers and headed to the family cemetery. They’d cut the grass and weed eat, and come back to do the same at our house.

Dad always stopped to get gas for the push mower. He’d fill up the tank, crank it by a pull cord and send me off to cut the “big” part of the yard. That’s where my brother, our neighbors and friends played pickup football and baseball games on Sundays.

Sorry, went off on a tangent there.

Back to mom.

When you get older, things from your childhood come into focus more often.

Mom loved her soap operas — “The Young & The Restless,” “Bold & Beautiful,” “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns.” For three-plus hours a day, her world revolved around those people who lived in make-believe cities and had some crazy lives.

Once the “stories,” as mom called them, ended, she’d call her sister, Irene, and they’d talk about them. Some days the conversations were short, except on Fridays when the soaps left viewers “hanging” with a story line that promised drama the next week.

When she retired, mom religiously watched her “stories.”

I don’t think she was obsessed, but I know she’d schedule doctor appointments in the morning and run errands then when necessary. She always made sure she was home in time to watch from the beginning. If she missed it, Y & R always played again in the evening.

Mom, on occasion, would fold laundry while she watched the soaps. There’d be piles of laundry sitting beside her on the sofa or inside the basket.

Nothing got put away until a commercial break.

Once the soaps ended, she’d call aunt Irene or vice versa. They’d talk about every single thing that happened, and speculate about the outcome.

As I said before, some of mom’s habits have rubbed off on me.

I, too, keep everything neat and tidy in my house. And it’s not unusual for me to sit and fold laundry during one of my favorite TV shows.

If you’re wondering — yes, I don’t move until a commercial break.

Rudy Coggins is assistant editor of the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be reached at


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