Why is it that today I’m remembering an outfit I got you for one of your birthdays? I’ve no idea how long ago it was, but I’d be willing to bet a dollar and a quarter that it’s still in your closet. Hunter green it was and you looked like a million dollars wearing it. There was a rakishly sexy hat that went with the ensemble, but I don’t remember ever seeing you wear it. You wore hats often when I was a wee tyke. You wore them so well; I can’t imagine why you ever stopped. Fashion be damned!
You’ve been there for me, haven’t you? Back during the war in Lebanon, I remember you cooked a boatload (you should pardon the pun) of teacakes and loaves of your fabulous banana nut bread. As luck would have it, Hezbollah re-captured the airport and my “Care Package”. When our forces took it back and my box finally arrived on the ship it was smashed, with a tire track across one corner.
No matter about the condition, I ripped into that box like it was my very last Christmas on earth! Imagine my initial dismay when I discovered the banana bread was shot through and through with mold! Mold, do you hear me? Lord, I had a lump in my throat as big as your fist. But then I turned my attention to the teacakes. Crushed, I tell you. Nothing but crumbs!
One of my compatriots allowed as the whole thing would have to be thrown over the side. After I banished him from the Holy Presence, I marched down to the mess decks and grabbed two spoons. My friend and I ate all those teacakes with a spoon and I promise you I wouldn’t have traded them for manna from heaven!
I can’t imagine your experiences or your private thoughts as you tried to raise me, my brothers, and sister. At this point in the year I usually find myself contemplating it, though. What must it have been like for you in the 50s and 60s as you tried to raise a houseful of young’uns? We usually had someone ‘visiting’ with us for a few months at a time.
I remember one summer our tiny little house somehow managed to hold eleven people! Three times a day you made 48 biscuits to feed everyone. That’s one hundred forty-four biscuits per day! We laugh nowadays and tell folks that you alternated our meals; beans and taters one day, taters and beans the next. But, I suspect it wasn’t funny back then trying to cook for a mob like that. You did it, though, didn’t you?
And how many times did I hear, “And you can just march your smart tail outside and get me a hickory!” just before you striped me from top to toe? Oh, the injustice of it all was all I could think of in those days, but I know I never got a lick I didn’t have coming and there was so, so much you didn’t know about! So, I reckon it all evens out in the end, doesn’t it?
I said all that to say this. I’m damned fortunate to have you as my Mother and I wish you the happiest birthday you ever had in your whole, wide life! I wish I could be there with you to help you celebrate, but know that you fill my thoughts today and every day. I love you to pieces.