It was a muggy summer day in August when I helped my mother and grandmother load in some groceries from the car. Even something as simple as grocery shopping is an ordeal in the Yuhas household.
“Come inside, it’s raining, you’ll catch your death!” Nagymama hollered from inside.
“Hold on, Nagymama, I need to bring in the ice cream, it’s melting everywhere!”
As I was placing soggy groceries on the kitchen table, Nagymama grabbed my shirt and lifted it up. She gasped when she saw my exposed stomach.”Undershirt! Undershirt! It’s raining and you’re not wearing an undershirt – you’re kidneys are exposed and you are going to catch pneumonia!”
“Nagy, I haven’t woken up in a bathtub full of ice lately, so don’t worry, my kidneys are still inside of my body.”
On my way back out, I noticed that “Bob” (the Bag of Bags) had been left hanging on the tree outside. Everyone I know has a “Bob” that has grown huge from many trips to the shopping mall. “Bob” is useful for everything from yard trimmings to recycling to your dead hamster, Bubbles.
“Mom, you forgot Bob outside, it’s gonna get ruined.”
My mother waived dismissively and said, “Oh, no Stephie, dat isn’t dah Bag of Bags. You see, grandma, she’s 97, so things aren’t workin’ so good. She uses diapers now, and so dah house isn’t stinky, I put dem outside. Dat is dah poopy tree now.”
Thunder cracked in the distance and it started to pour.
“Okay, mom, whatever,” I said, as I nearly slipped on the slick concrete.
“See, you rush too much, dats vhy you sprained your ankle.”
“I sprained my ankle in KINDERGARTEN, mom, that was a million years ago!”
“Yes, but you still did it.”
Over the next forty minutes, I helped unpack groceries as my mother receited the list of mistakes I have made for the last 26 years of my life. After some arguing and some Little Debbie Snacks, I finally headed back to Philadelphia.
After sitting in traffic for two hours, I arrived home, unpacked my suitcase, threw in some laundry, and made myself a sandwich. It wasn’t until I sat down at the table and was about to take a big bite of sandwich that two words popped into my head…
With all the rain, drama and melting ice cream, I somehow ceased to notice how bizarre it was that my mother was hanging bags of feces on a tree in the middle of the front yard. I immediately phoned my cousin.
“Hey, Steph, what’s up?”
“Do you know what mom is doing with Nagymama’s soiled diapers?”
“Yeah, she hangs them on the Poopy Tree.”
“So, the entire family knows about this Poopy Tree and no one has said anything?”
“Well, she used to put them out back, but then my mother yelled at her because there was all sorts of wildlife hanging around, so your mom hung them on a tree to keep them safe.”
“Keep them safe? Like what, diamonds? Why doesn’t she just get a trashcan with a freaking lock on it?!”
“Oh, you know she’s cheap. She won’t even pay to have the trash pickup come, so I have to go to your mom’s house once a week, collect 800 Dollar Tree bags filled with who knows what, and throw them out at my apartment complex. ”
“I can’t imagine what the neighbors think, this is insane!”
“Hey, quit complaining, I’m the one that’s suffering here, Stephanie. My car smells like a corpse.”
“AHHH! WE ARE WHITE TRAAAAAAAASH!”
“Now, don’t overreact, Stephanie. If we were white trash, we’d be hanging from the Poopy Tree with all the other trash.”
“You have a noose handy?”