Mothers — like car makes — come in a variety of shapes, styles and colors. Unlike cars, they don’t come rolling off an assembly line and aren’t redesigned each year to stand out in the mass market or to be named “Mom of the Year.” Nor are they discounted at the end of the year.
The mom you know stays pretty much the same year after year, although they do vary greatly, and no two are ever identical. You don’t get to test drive them, nor do they come with a lifetime warranty or a driver’s manual. But then, neither do the children who make them “moms.”
Thinking of my own and many other mom’s I’ve known, I am amazed at the adaptability, durability and all-terrain ability that is built into moms by their maker. They start as a two-seater, snazzy sports car but can expand over time to become a workhorse station wagon that can carry unlimited passengers and cargo! They seem to require little maintenance except for washing, polishing and an occasional touch-up, get only an annual, cursory check-up, and get astonishing mileage!
Here’s the other outstanding feature of moms: they seldom breakdown! Oh, they might be a little sluggish sometimes, may develop a clatter, whine or knock or two, even make strange sounds you can’t identify — and often they might spring an unexpected leak, but somehow their engines keep running and their wheels keep turning. Unbelievable!
My mom was a small, rather fragile looking woman, but wasn’t. She worked hard at a time when keeping house and feeding a family was all hard, manual labor! But she loved to create pretty things: fancy cakes, decorated cookies, delicious candies, hand-smocked blouses, embroidered table runners, raising flowers and making holiday decorations.
She did love decorating her home for any and all occasions. If there wasn’t a special occasion, she would often create one. Sometimes she’d simply pack a lunch and she and I would go out and spread a blanket under the apple tree in our backyard to celebrate the opening of the apple blossoms, arrival of the first robin, or simply because it was a sunny day.
Mom always seemed a bit uncertain of her place in life, having been raised from infancy by her aunt and uncle after her mother died shortly after she was born, but she dearly loved her large family, people in general, having fun, talking and laughing!
And what a laugh she had!!! She hooted, warbled, and howled with the best of them. She also had two brothers that were champion laughers — the three of them together could startle a flock of birds from the trees and have neighbors rushing to their windows to see what was happening!
I suppose one of my best mom memories is the time she, her brother Bob, his wife Lou — who had a high-pitched, but hearty laugh also — and other members of the family, were gathered on the front porch of the family home on Liberty Street. They had been telling stories that brought a lot of laughter when Uncle Bob told one in particular that had everyone roaring with tears running down their cheeks.
A next-door neighbor suddenly appeared on the porch. The laughter ceased as everyone looked at him questioningly. He handed mother an empty egg carton and said seriously, “I heard all the cackling over here and thought I’d come see if I could get you to fill this up for me!”
That set off the uproar again even louder with the neighbor joining in.
I can still hear the echo of that day and see my mom happily wiping tears from her face as she doubled over with laughter. That’s a picture I always carry of her — small, wiry, quick-moving and laughing. For her laughter was the motor oil that smoothed out life, eased the pains of worn joints, kept the engine ticking along and the odometer turning over.
My mom has been gone now for many years. I sincerely hope heaven has acres of wildflowers, trees that bloom, events to celebrate, angels that like smocked robes and laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.
Happy Mother’s Day, mom. And thanks for giving me an appreciation for life, always knowing to look for it’s funny side and a reason to celebrate everyday.
Friday, May 10 – The 25 Gardeners annual Spring Bloom and Bake Sale. Starts 7 a.m. on East Columbia Street across from the Post Office. Baked goods, annual and perennial plants, shrubs, trees, garden produce, yard art and bouquets for Mother’s Day.
Friday, May 31 – Farmington Pet Adoption Center Rock & Roll Bingo! Park Hills American Legion Hall, 5073 Old Flat River Rd. Tickets $25 per person, all proceeds to benefit the care and treatment of unwanted or abandoned pets. Doors open at 5:30, Bar and food available by the American Legion, Bingo starts at 7 p.m. Call 573-756-8658 for information.