One Sunday morning, our pastor has a special request after his sermon,“Would all the mothers in the church please stand up?” About half the congregation rose to their feet.
“In honor of this Mother’s Day, we would like to honor our special mothers! Let’s give them a hand!”
My mother scowled during the applause. “See, you’d better appreciate me! Look how everyone else appreciates me! You never clap for me…”
I rolled my eyes; I never win these arguments. “Mom, I DO appreciate you, remember that time I…”
“Shhh!” She interrupted, “Be quiet, the pastor is talking!”
The pastor smiled upon the rows of women, all glowing in a maternal light. “Today, we would like to treat our oldest mother! Mothers under the age of forty, please sit down.”
My mother immediately sat, even though it was a complete lie. She gave me the killer, “Don’t you dare say a word,” stare.
He continued, “Any ladies under fifty, have a seat…” Fewer women remained standing. “Now anyone under sixty, please be seated.”
Nagymama sat down, “This is stupid, my legs hurt,” she said in Hungarian.
My aunt pleaded, “Stand back up! They are trying to honor the oldest mother!”
Meanwhile, the pastor continued to speak, “Anyone below seventy, please sit down.”
My mother and aunt tugged on Nagymama’s elbows and she swatted at them like flies, “The both of you are crazy! Go into the water and go under it!”
“Anyone below eighty sit down.” Only one woman remained standing. The usher ran over to give her an extra microphone.
“Mrs. Daga! How old are you?”
“Eighty-two,” she said sheepishly.
“Is there anyone in the congregation older than eighty-two?” The entire church fell silent, except for the Hungarians arguing loudly in the back.
“This guy talks too much,” grandma complained. “He’s just always going, ‘Pa pa pa pa pa,’ spouting off nonsense! Let’s go home.”
The pastor ignored the bickering and continued, “Okay, so I guess the prize goes to…”
“Vait, vait, vait!” my mother yelled as the ushers started to hand the Bath & Body Works gift set to Mrs. Daga. “I tink we haf dah oldest modder!” All heads turned to my grandma.
“How old are you?” the pastor asked. Nagymama looked like a deer in headlights as the usher put the microphone in her face.
One of the other ushers chimed in, “Pastor, she doesn’t understand. Here, let me try in German…” He walked over and yelled right in her ear, “Wie alt bist du?”
My mother looked at her, “Anyu! Hány éves vagy?”
My aunt grabbed her arm, “Câţi ani ai?”
It didn’t matter if we asked in English, German, Hungarian, Romanian, or Pig-Latin, Nagymama just clutched her purse and sat with her lips sealed.
“This is ridiculous,” I said, “She’s ninety-”
Before I could even finish that number, Nagymama leaned into the microphone. “Hallo?” she said, her voice echoing through the vast church walls.
“Yes, Karolina! How. Old. Are. YOU?”
Nagymama laughed, “Sex-ty four.”
“No, wait, she’s not sixty-four, she’s-”
Nagymama looked over at me and glared. She softly but firmly said,“You shut your mouth before I shut it for you.”
So, on that day, Mrs. Daga was accredited as the oldest mother and received the complimentary Bath & Body Works Gift Set, regardless of the fact that Nagymama had at least ten years on her.
Moral of the Story: You are only as old as you feel. If you feel good, you might as well skip the door prize and lie through your fake teeth.