Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Looking through Facebook posts of my friends this week, I felt a little envious and sad. It seems every other post is someone’s smiling mother.

I especially like the older sepia toned and hand-tinted pictures. There’s something about those old photographs that makes them lifelike. When my mom died on Feb. 20, 2012, she
left an empty place in my heart that will never be filled.

My mother was a piece of work. Her life path took her through hard times. Like many families back then, her’s was a big one. She and her siblings could have fielded a football team with an extra one serving as a water boy.
Born in 1924, she suffered through the Great Depression and knew the taste of hunger. As a result, she was reluctant to throw anything away. Even aluminum pie plates were washed and reused after the pies were gone.


She was quiet and easy-going most of the time, but when something got her hackles up, we all knew to give her some space. We found it necessary to do homework, or chores that took us outside. She also didn’t make it a habit of telling her kids to do something more than once. As a kid, whenever I considered ignoring one of her requests, I remembered the hickory stripes on my leg. That gave me the motivation to take out the scuttle of coal ash left from the fireplace hearth each morning or empty the slop jar.

She was slow to cry. In fact, it was years before I saw tears in her eyes. Maybe it was growing up during those hard years that made her feel that crying was a sign of weakness. The first time I remember seeing her cry was when my older brother Neil graduated from high school. Of course, those were tears of pride. Neil was not a model student. There were some report cards during his high school years that bled with red “F’s.” She was unconvinced that Neil would walk down the aisle wearing a cap and gown. But he pulled it together, and she was as proud as I’ve ever seen her.

One by one, the kids all moved from the old house in Sloss to make lives of their own. When my dad died in 1986, she lived alone in that house for years. Each Sunday she cooked dinner. At first, it was for her kids and grandkids, but it evolved into a community event. It was not uncommon to arrive at lunch on Sunday with a yard full of cars. Our family, cousins, friends, and her church buddies all broke bread together. The laughter was loud and no one left without a go-box with butter beans, cornbread, and a slice of pecan or lemon meringue pie. If anyone left hungry, it was not her fault.

I have one of those old hand-tinted pictures of my mom and dad on the mantel of our fireplace. A friend of theirs snapped the photograph on their wedding day. Some of our pictures and knickknacks blend into the background of our home and become invisible. But not this one. I look at it every day and think about my mama.Happy Mother’s Day.



9 comments:

  1. My mom kept those tin pie plates too and it says not only how much they saved but how much we now throw away. She grew up during tough times which made her tough on the outside but I bet she could be a bit of mush on the inside. My mom was one tough cookie but she had...and has a huge heart. Bless your mom and the photos you have

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  2. That was a tough generation...they had to be.

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  3. Poignant and lovely. Thank you.

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  4. Thanks for sharing these tender memories of your Mother today. I think she's an example of what we all should be doing in our lives...living with what we have, sharing what we can, and loving our families and neighbors so that we're remembered as fondly as she is.

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  5. You have some wonderful memories. Where would any of us be with out our mothers? It's great we have a day set aside to honor them.

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  6. YOu done good! Great column. I love the pictures and the reading of a great tribute to a wonderful mom!

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  7. Your loving memories of your mother evoked some of my own mother. It is a wonderful thing to have a holiday that makes us stop to remember the important people in our lives.

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  8. A great tribute to your mom.

    This Mother's Day was bittersweet for me too. I miss my daughter and my own mother very much too. I have lots of great memories of both of them.
    Hugs, Julia

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  9. All I can say is "Thank you!!"

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