Saturday, December 4, 2021

Note To Self by Brian Pate: Mamma’s Boy And Proud Of It

Note to Self by Brian Pate

“A Mamma’s Boy And Proud Of It!”

January 27, 2017 is a BIG day for my family.  My mother’s birthday is Friday January 27 and let’s just say it is a BIG birthday that ends in “Oh.”

For those of you that don’t know me, I am an only child and my mother was home with me growing up most every day of my life.  I look just like my father, have many of his mannerisms and have his same stubbornness.  Dad has often joked that mom did all of the work, but he gets all of the credit.

Birthdays in my family are a BIG DEAL!  We go all out.  For example, one time when mom and dad still lived in Myrtle Beach where I grew up, they had a surprise birthday party for mom.  She had no idea that I was showing up and it was very exciting to surprise her.

Every year for her birthday, I invite the hundreds of Facebook friends I have to send her a message or post on her wall.  The goal being to blow up her phone on her special day with birthday wishes.  By the way, thanks to those of you that participated again this year.

With that said, I thought that her birthday would be a great opportunity to pay tribute to mom and tell you how awesome she is by telling a couple of stories that hopefully you will get a kick out of.

L-R: Mike Pate, Judy Pate, Brian Pate circa 1972L-R: Mike Pate, Judy Pate, Brian Pate circa 1972

“Who Threw My Cheese?”

Many of you may have heard of the book “Who Moved My Cheese,” but it is not the same story.  When I was about 11 years old, we were watching a game show on TV as we did on many evenings in the Pate household.  This particular evening, we were watching “The Joker’s Wild.”  While dad and I were in the living room watching the game show, mom was making macaroni and cheese (this is important later so don’t forget it).  No mom makes mac n cheese the old fashioned way.  She gets a one pound block of cheese and melts it over the noodles by slicing it up into pieces.

The stove was positioned so that she could watch TV at the same time she was cooking.  I was lying on the living room floor with my feet propped up on the fireplace hearth toward the end of “The Joker’s Wild.”  On this particular evening, there were two women and one man playing the game and the man won the game to go to the bonus round.  Upon his win, my naïve 11 year old mouth decided to shout out, “Just goes to show you that men are smarter than women!”

Upon hearing that, not only was the water on the stove boiling but so was the blood running through my mother’s veins.  I looked up just in time to see a huge block of cheese flying toward my ankle!  If this were a Batman show, you would see a giant “POW!” across the screen here.

She hit me square in the ankle with the cheese and had me screaming, “You threw the cheese at me!”

Very calmly, she replied, “You deserved it.”

I looked at my father who was sitting in his recliner reading his newspaper.  He had not moved during the entire time, but I could see the newspaper wiggling so I knew he was giggling.  “Did you see that?” I hollered.

“Nope, I didn’t see anything,” was his reply.

Suffice it to say, this was a lesson gleaned from experience.

Brian Pate and Judy Pate. The photographer told Brian, "There is a bug on your mom's nose!" Brian Pate and Judy Pate. The photographer told Brian, “There is a bug on your mom’s nose!”

“The Great Birthday Whiff”

Our second story took place in January of 1988.  As I told you, mom’s birthday is on January 27th and birthdays are big.  You remember that right?

This particular year, I was in my freshman year at the University of Oklahoma.  Now to defend myself, mom’s birthday is January 27th and mom and dad’s wedding anniversary is December 29th.  Yep, you see where this is going already don’t you?

I called mom on January 29th and yelled, “Happy Birthday!” into the phone.

She replied, “Thanks, IT WAS TWO DAYS AGO!” and the next thing I heard was the phone slamming down and “click.”  Those of you that don’t remember when we didn’t have cell phones, will not know that the click is what you heard when someone on the other end hung up the phone.

Needless to say, I was in more danger than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs in a nursing home.  To this day, I still haven’t lived that one down.  She has never been able to laugh about that one.  Dad on the other hand loves to bring it up just to get mom wound up again.

Brian and Judy at the Florida State vs Wake Forest football game in the rain.Brian and Judy at the Florida State vs Wake Forest football game in the rain.

“It was a fly on my sheet music!”

One of the worst things that can happen to a middle schooler is that your parent becomes a teacher at the school you attend.  This happened during my 6th grade year when mom became the band director at my school.  I was “volun-told” not volunteered, to play trumpet as she thought that I would be cut out for the part.  I loved band but I hated the fact mom was the director.

During my 7th grade year, I was sitting in rehearsal next to my best friend at the time, James Jurney.  James also played trumpet and we were practicing for a concert.  We were playing “Triumphal March” from Aida (why I remember that, I don’t know).  There was a section in the piece where the trumpets had a 16 measure rest and then came in strong with a fanfare.

On the first beat of measure 15 of the rest, James and I brought the trumpets to our mouth.  On the first beat of measure 16 of the rest…a fly landed in the middle of our sheet music.  Needless to say, James and I started laughing and the fanfare was HORRIBLE!  It was what musicians refer to as a “splat.”  Without allowing us the opportunity to defend ourselves, my own mother threw me out of band rehearsal!  I protested, “But MOM!” and she said, “I don’t want to hear it…GET OUT!”

All of mom’s band director friends still love that story as does my daughter Shannon who plays flute in the Heritage High School band.

There was also another time when I was late meeting her after a private lesson at the school.  She had threatened to leave me and make me walk home if I was ever late again.

You guessed it.  I was late and ended up walking from 62nd Avenue North in Myrtle Beach on Hwy 17 Bypass, a four lane highway for those that have never been to Myrtle Beach, all the way to 38th Avenue North and then the seven tenths of a mile from the subdivision entrance to our house.  It was a lesson I still remember today as you can see.

A friend of mine at church, Cindy Estes, whom I have known for years, has always said, “Your mother must have been one of the most patient people in the world to put up with you growing up.”  She is right… and then some.

As mad as we have been with each other at times over the years and as frustrated as she may be with me sometimes, she is still my biggest fan no matter what the circumstances.  I spent my teenage years and part of my 20’s trying to get her to let go and am now spending these days trying to make sure she never let’s go.

It has never been, nor will it ever be an insult to call me “Mamma’s Boy.”  Happy Birthday Mom!

Check Also

165 Meadowrue Ln, Youngsville, NC 27596

This great home at 165 Meadowrue Ln in Youngsville is on the market today and …