Why they chose white carpet, I'll never know. Especially when there was still a Cole Boy living at home (Michael). To this day we can't eat a meal without a good chunk of it splattering on something important. Plus they have a dog, scratch that... they have a neurotic dog, but I guess that doesn't matter because the dog rules the house. Michael and I had to take off our shoes whenever we walked into the house and it was taboo to remove the pillows from the couch, but the dog could roll around in you know what and still earn the most comfortable spot in the room. That carpet... oh man... that carpet.
I remember it was a month or two before I got married and I was back home in Bama with my brother. My sister also came in for the week with her kids so we could all catch up and have a good ole time. For some reason, Mom and Dad decided that it would be a wise choice to pick up some KFC plus the works (baked beans, mashed potatoes, Cole slaw, etc.) and eat it in our kitchen. Never mind the fact that we were flanked at every corner by beaming, celestial white carpet.
Needless to say, the baked beans ended up on the floor and no it wasn't my fault. It didn't matter whose fault it was, mom and dad morphed in a matter of seconds into 2 strange beings. They frantically dove to the floor and started siphoning up the sauce with an almost demonic zeal.
Michael sat casually on a bar stool, munching chicken and opting not to watch the whole ordeal. As he chewed on a leg he glanced up at me and my sister, Jen, and offered us a whispered warning.
"Don't offer to help," he murmured under his breath.
Why wouldn't we help? After all, our parents were getting up there in their years (sorry folks,) and their hyperactive behavior could prove deadly. So we both got down on our knees next to them and proceeded to mop up the slop with them.
I remember feeling very cold, as if all of the heat was sucked out of the room from some unearthly force. Mom's eyes, I kid you not, glowed red.
"Back away from the carpet!" she growled, sounding more like a gargoyle then a sweet little grandma. We glanced at dad, who said nothing, keeping his head down and glued to the floor. After that little encounter with my mother, Jen and I slowly backed away and allowed them to continue their mantra. Michael never moved from his stool, but bore a look that said "I told you so," on his face.
Later that evening, after the tension dispersed, the three of us kids went out for a drive. Jen and I needed to know what just happened, so we probed Michael for more details. He then recanted what he believed was one of his most frightening experiences in all his life.
It was a few months prior to the KFC fiasco, and the carpet had just been lain. Mom and Dad couldn't have been more proud of their newest purchase. Michael had a friend over for the night, and after renting a few movies for their entertainment, they stopped by the McDonald's drive thru for some food.
Back at the house, they devoured their meal and then popped in the first movie. Disaster struck, as Michael was reaching over to place his towering cup of Hi-C orange on the television when his friend shut off the lights and Michael accidentally dropped the drink all over the carpet. As if summoned by the unknown, Mom appeared in the living room and proceeded to scare the living crap out of Michael and his friend. Both boys (17 years old mind you,) were sent to separate rooms for the rest of the night.
When we asked Michael to be honest and tell us how angry our mom had gotten, Michael replied solemnly. "Oh, I saw banshees that night!"
Imagine if you will, a small woman (my mom stands 5'2 on her tip toes,) with wild hair and worse, wild eyes, conjuring up banshees from the afterlife. Although, I wasn't present for Michael's memory, I sometimes wake up at night, clutching my pillow in a fit of ice cold sweats from the image he created.
Don't get me wrong, I have the best mother in the world. She is so giving, that she will chase missionaries down the street flinging corn bread muffins at them from afar. She'll go sleepless for weeks just to ensure that her children are well. Just don't mess with her white carpet.