Last week the mother of a friend died and I went to the early viewing at the funeral home with one of my sisters-in-law and Reichter. I doubt that when I die I'll draw such a large crowd. Maybe I should start working on that. Making friends to mourn me someday, weep over my corpse and say what a saint I was.
Anyway, my mom and other sister-in-law went to the evening viewing and swung by my place afterward to pick up Reichter (he had some yard work to do for my brother). They parked across the street and Reichter dashed over and got in the car. My mother leaned over from the passenger side and said out the driver's window, "Angel! Your hair looks wonderful! Of course now you'll go and ruin it, but today it looks great!"
And then the lot of them drove off. Yes, there is no compliment that is not accompanied by an insult. At least as issued from mom. She's exactly like Russia that way, an enigma wrapped in a riddle basted in a mystery. Junior first pinpointed this tendency several years ago and since then we've kept a keen ear trained for it. My insults almost always revolve around either my hair or the way I dress (What a darling sweater. Is it used?). Junior's insults usually involve her make up choices (You look pretty today, but I would never dare wear that much foundation), but can also include clothes and hair color choices.
Mom is this boundless source of amusement for us, and we try not to mock her too openly because then she clams up, and nobody wants that.