There is a famous quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln… something along the lines of: "All that I am, I owe to my Mother".
I could say that, too… but right here before Mother's Day, do I really want to put all the blame on her?
There’s a whole bunch of great stories I could recount for you in this column, to note the occasion of Mom’s Day. Some of them are even true!
Like the one year, when I was a pre-teen, and as one of my chores, was supposed to have taken down the bright multi-colored Christmas lights, which had been strung along the top of the house, which happened to be on Main Street. To be sure, I had unplugged the electricity… but January had passed, along with February and March… and I still hadn’t gotten around to actually taking them down. And then, along about Easter, Mom came home from work late one evening – well after dark – and was horrified to discover that somehow, that bright strand of holiday lights had gotten plugged in… and we were the only house in town accidentally displaying bright Easter lights all night long!!!!
Like my five years of piano lessons that she paid for… which turned out to be a huge waste money… just like that day I practiced my piano lesson similarly turned out to be a bit of a waste of time. (Fortunately, the five years of tap dancing lessons were a very wise investment. Have you SEEN me on the dance floor?!!!)
I think back to the late afternoons she would come pick me up after some sort of ball practice or other activity – whenever I called to say it was time. Mind you, this was before the days of cell phones, so she would have already gotten home from a full day’s work. (Did you ever “click” a pay phone? Usually, I didn’t have a dime on me, but had learned that you could dial the number, and just “click” the phone, which was the signal to come pick me up!!!)
I was a picky eater as a child. Still am, in fact. (A picky eater… not a child!) So.. for about 15 years, Mom cooked all of our meals without using onions, tomatoes, and a host of other vegetables that are really very useful in cooking. Once, after Sunday dinner, she and Dad insisted that I eat the English peas that had been prepared, and said I could not leave the table until I did. About three hours later, I left the table, after consuming approximately 50 of the nasty little beans one at a time… popping them like pills, and swallowing half a glass of tea after each one.
Sunday dinner, by the way, is what we called the meal eaten shortly after noon on Sunday, which we ate together every week, after returning from Sunday School and church, which we attended together every week. If it was summertime, incidentally, we sometimes ate that dinner at the lake, and if we didn’t eat there, we generally headed there for the rest of the afternoon.
Sundays weren’t the only family rituals. There were others. Wednesday nights, for instance, were TV nights in the Shealy family den: Green Acres, followed by The Beverly Hillbillies!!!
Needless to say, I had a great childhood, thanks to my Mom and Dad. There were the ordinary scrapes and bruises that all kids get, which needed the appropriate tending-to by Mom… but I also had my share of extra-ordinary “scrapes and bruises”, we will call them symbolically – many of them self-inflicted… and Mom was always there.
Obviously, it’s not easy being my mom… ranging from the anxious tension she undoubtedly feels each time she opens the morning newspaper, to the stressful concern she most assuredly feels each week when she starts to read this column!!!
But she never complains. In fact, she never complains at all… about anything. For that matter, she never says anything bad at all about anybody. For the 55 years I’ve been on this earth, I’ve never heard her say anything bad about anybody… even me!!!
So Mom, I hope you have a Happy Mother’s Day…. cause if anybody deserves one, its you!
And I know the best thing I can do for you on this occasion is to stop writing now… so you can breathe a sigh of relief… at least for another week.
Happy Mothers Day!