Texas must have everything roaches need to survive and happily multiply without fear of any natural predator. They are a fact of life and roundly hated by all Texans who cannot or will not move in order to avoid this curse to mankind. The small brown German roaches will eat anything, including cloth. And roaches are at the heart of this story of Mother, her belt, and Aunt Vera’s roaches.
Mother had an aunt that she loved like a mother and with whom Mom had lived off and on throughout her young and unmarried years. We all called her Aunt Vera regardless of the actual relationship but her immediate family called her Potsy; a term of endearment among the Hathaways. I don’t know how the name evolved but just guessing, I’d say it had something to do with her weight. At any rate, Mother loved staying with Aunt Vera whenever Daddy was out of town. He was a troubleshooter in the oil field and was called out all the time. When a pipe broke down in the hole, the foreman would call for someone to come and fish the tool out. That was what Daddy did. A well that is off line is an expensive problem. They wanted Daddy as fast as he could get to the rig, But this is not Daddy’s story; he will be in his own story later. d during his absences, Mother would take the opportunity to spend a day or two at Aunt Vera’s. After one of these overnight visits, Mom got home and found that she’d left the belt to her dress behind. Now, everyone loved Aunt Vera for her kindness and unconditional love of each and every member of her immediate and extended family. However, Aunt Vera had little time for housekeeping and roach control. Mother hated roaches, a normal, reaction, and, knowing how things were at Aunt Vera’s house, worried, and I mean WORRIED, about her belt. She called Aunt Vera as soon as she found the belt missing and asked her to make sure that she put the belt somewhere where her roaches could not get at it. Mother was comfortable with this kind of call, and Aunt Vera did not appear to take exception to the fact that Mom had called with concern about HER roaches eating on the belt. She told Aunt Vera that she would be over as soon as possible the next day and to please, please keep the belt in a safe place. The next morning, Mom called Aunt Vera to say she would be over after lunch to get her belt. She also wanted to know if the belt had been kept safe from roaches. Aunt Vera assured her that the belt was safe and was looking forward to seeing her later in the day.
When mother dressed, she called Aunt Vera to tell she was leaving and would be by to get the belt. When mother got to Aunt Vera’s, she called out hello and opened the front door. She stepped into the darkened living room and at first was blind after coming in from bright sunshine. When her eyes adjusted this is what she saw: Aunt Vera and two of her grown grandchildren sitting in a rough circle around a large recliner. Each sat rigid, backs straight, eyes alert, with their right arms raised in a fist that held a flyswatter aloft and ready to strike. Surrounding the recliner was a two inch wide circle of white powdered roach killer and lying safely across the back of the recliner was mother’s belt. Aunt Vera had a wonderful sense of humor and she used that day to even up the score on all things roach related.