What follows is a transcript of a real phone call held between Mama and me.
Mama: Retta, I sure am sorry to hear about your cat, Seamus.
Me: Yeah, I’m pretty torn up about it. He was something extra special.
Mama: Oh, I know! Seamus was a very special grand-furbaby to me, too.
Me: Well, I’d better let you go. We had Seamus cremated, and I need to pick up his remains before the place closes.
Mama: Okay, honey. Again, I’m so, so sorry–it’s never easy to say goodbye to a pet. I mean, it’s almost like they’re a person, ya know? Some people just don’t understand that.
Me: Yep, I know. I love you, Mama.
Mama: I love you the most. Bye-bye. (Phone call ended.)
Mama turns to my sister and aunt and exclaims:
“Y’all aren’t gonna believe this…Are you ready for it?
(Short pause followed by extended drag on cigarette)
…Retta cremated the cat. She CREMATED the fuckin’ cat!”
Everyone roars with laughter, with MAMA screaming the loudest.
(Thanks to my sister for telling me the “rest of the story” some years later.)