One day not so long ago, I attempted to take a selfie with my Mom and she said, “Oh no! Please don’t! I look like a haint!”
I’m fairly certain that I’m not the only one here who had to look that up.
Evidently, a haint is something people in the old South were particularly worried about. They’re described as “restless spirits of the dead who, for whatever reason, have not moved on from their physical world.” There is a color of paint called “Haint Blue” that was used to paint the ceilings of the porches back then in order to keep these spirits from taking or influencing the homeowners. The word haint is an alternative spelling of haunt, which was historically used in African-American vernacular to refer to a ghost or, in the Hoodoo belief, a witch-like creature seeking to chase victims to their death by exhaustion.
Mom was quite a bit older than her contemporaries when she had me. I thought having parents as old as mine was perfectly normal until the day a classmate asked, “Is that your Grandma?”
I’m taught something about the past every time I visit with them. More often than not, they recount to me how different a place the world was back then. They marvel at the simplicity of life before technology and get that faraway look in their eyes as if they’re back there once again remembering it all.
I bought my parents the Amazon Echo spot on Amazon Prime Day. I thought they’d get a kick out of being able to see me when we spoke on the phone. Dad, who is much more tech-savvy than Mom, couldn’t wait until I got home and set mine up. He was already FaceTiming me on my phone from his Spot while I was getting set up.
I set up their Spot in the kitchen because they spend a great deal of time there. However, because of the angle, I found that when we spoke, I would end up talking to a lot of shoulders and necks. One day I tried to explain where the little camera was and how they could see what was being transmitted to me.
I got this…
It was hard enough to help them make the switch from film to digital. Now Mom’s none too pleased that every phone has a built-in camera. She’s also baffled by the phenomenon of texting vs. calling.
I know I shouldn’t, but I sneak photos of her all the time, pretending to show her something on my phone. She even got a kick out of the Snapchat filters. The way I see it, I want to take as many photos of her and my Dad as possible because one day they won’t be with me any more. These digital memories will make me smile. They won’t be nearly enough, but they’re something.
And we’ve both learned something new today. I consider that a win.