by Vicki Rogers
There were always things my Momma said that connected me to things larger than myself. They generally had some attached moral wisdom or guilt. Usually they just did not make a lot of sense to me at the time. One of those things was: "People in Hell want ice water."
In 1959, my best friend Judith and I were shopping in Weavers, the best store in Lawrence, Kansas, where I grew up. Judith picked out a pastel pink windbreaker (like what you wear jogging) and she called home and was able to put it on the family account. I was so jealous. It was so cool and pretty and new fashion. When I got home, I asked Momma for one and she said, “People in Hell want ice water”.
I used to look in the newspaper every weekend for horses for sale. I asked Momma -- a beautiful, graceful secretary bred in Lawrence and known for her love of scotch and Pal Mall’s -- for a Sorrell (beautiful, reddish-brown color). I even downgraded to the cheaper Pinto Colt (a baby Mustang horse with spots of brown, white and black). You can imagine what she said.
Perhaps it was just a matter of timing -- that is, either pre-payday or mild payday -- that I wanted things that were not in the budget. Of course some items may have been way over the top, (like the horse) but back then, they all seemed like reasonable requests to me!
"People in Hell want ice water"?? Why was it when I asked for something I really wanted, I was put on par with people in Hell? I could never figure out why she was talking to me about people in Hell. I was a fairly good Catholic girl. I went to confession, sometimes. I didn't know any people in Hell and if I did I probably wouldn't want to give them anything. I mean, really…this from a mother who loved me so much she would die and go to Hell for me.
I felt like we were the only people that never got what we wanted and often wondered would I, like the people who asked for “ice water”, end up in Hell or should I just not ask and be done with it -- thus improving my chances to go to Heaven instead? AND, why was it that people in Hell always wanted ice water? Why not iced tea or a slushy or a frosty mug of an ice cold beer?
I’m a mother of three who learned conditionally to not ask for much. I live in Tucson, Arizona now. It’s hot as Hell here sometimes. When I ask for ice water, I get it. When I want a cold beer, I get it. If I still wanted a Sorrell, I’d probably have it roped up in my backyard. Yes, Momma said something that was supposed to teach me I can’t always have what I want, but I’ve definitely learned to get what I need.