It has been eons since I took the time to enlighten the general public about some of my mother's, well, delightful quirks. Therefore, I shall dedicate an entire column to that classy, charming and captivating woman, known as Jacqueline H. Houserman.

I've known Mother for what seems like a lifetime but have never noticed a certain quality that she possesses, until recently. I know she is not the only person in life to have said quality but, for purposes of bloviating until you are ready to scream in defeat, I shall simply concentrate on her.

I received a phone call from Mother, last week. The second I picked up the phone, I heard, “Lisa, here's the deal. I've made reservations at Such and Such Eating Establishment. You will go, you will enjoy it and you will dress up. That's it Fort Pitt.” (I never understood that Ft. Pitt reference but it's a staple in her massive vocabulary. It has grown on me over the years.)

Well, straight away I began to recoil in horror over the thought of being pressured into wearing anything other than my purple lounge pants and a tee shirt. After resuscitating myself, I extracted a presentable outfit from the cobweb-draped vault and prepped for an evening of fine dining with the white hair set.

Mother and I began by picking up two passengers, who/whom shall remain nameless for their own sakes and reputations. We then began the journey to Greenville PA, population, well, I'm not sure.

This is when it hit me that Mother suffers from a disorder which shall, hence forth, be dubbed, ICSALICS. It stands for: I Can't Stand A Lull in Conversation Syndrome.

You might be thinking that my hypocrisy knows no bounds because I am not exactly known for being the silent type. Be that as it may, (I've always wanted to say “be that as it may” in a column and have now done so. I'm thrilled to the marrow and am digressing in parenthesis, which always brings me such joy), I can, and have, actually enjoyed a car voyage without being bombarded non stop by this or that titillating tidbit of data.

Clearly, the above-mentioned was not going to be the case for me during this particular excursion. I began to take mental notes of the approximate time after the dreaded, (by Mother), lapse and the words of wisdom that exited her lovely mouth. I believe she could only survive about 20 seconds before she'd leap forward with an absolutely stunning bit of news. Anything from passing scenery, a car following us or her recent trip to the dentist was mentioned all in the name of filling the atmosphere with something, ANYTHING. She seized every opportunity to ensure that no word was left unturned. We simply could not have dead silence as that was totally socially unacceptable, don't cha know.

We learned of “terrific landscaping” at the house after Anderson Bus tours. We were inundated with information pertaining to how coasting the car from the top of a hill saves Mother X amount in gas money. We were treated to her extreme fascination over the fact that our other dinner guests somehow ended up directly behind us in traffic. “How is that EVEN possible? I mean, they weren't there and then they were there. What does it all mean?”

As we entered one of the main drags in Greenville and Backseat Couple had not spoken in 17.5 seconds, Mother took that opportunity to really display her ICSALICS. She exclaimed, “Good gravy! Just LOOK at the color of that building. I'm appalled.”

Yes, these were all totally wonderful topics of a pressing nature, all in the name of keeping the social intercourse ticking along at the speed of a llama rapidly spitting on a hand whilst being sheared. (This llama deal really did happen to my friend Colleen. She was trimming him and he just kept firing wildly at her exposed hand. Just thought I'd digress, in parenthesis, yet again, whilst explaining my mad reference.)

I finally had to confess, to the woman who cradled me in her womb, that I had unearthed her deep, dark secret. I told her that I knew all about the ICSALICS and that I was here for her, to utilize an overused soap opera cliché. I imparted that there was no shame in such and that many people lead productive lives after being diagnosed.

I'm not so sure that the conversation unfolded in that exact manner but, I did, gently, yet VERY effectively, let her know that I was on to her sick tricks.

Thus began a new and fun prospect for her as, when a cease-fire in chatter would arise, she could poke fun at herself for breaking said lull. See, I am nothing if not a terrific daughter, huh?

On the way home you will never believe what she brought forth again. Come on, try to guess. OK, we had just come out of Hartstown when she literally, and you know I only use that word in the correct manner, said, “I still can't believe that they ended up behind us in traffic....” To which I said, “Mother, you are now grasping at straws.” Backseat Couple simply went on with life, which consisted of the one sleeping and the other chuckling over the whole scenario.

Well, that about sums it up for the week. I mean, what else could I say about such shenanigans? Wait, I could fill you in on the details pertaining to a fantastic house I spotted along the way to Meadville the other day. Or, I could ponder on how family X was suddenly behind me on Route 6—Hold me. I think I've contracted the dreaded ICSALICS. I CAN blame Mother, which should delight all in the mental health field.