Happy Mother’s Day to all of you Moms out there! I hope you have a wonderful day, surrounded by lots of love. If you have not called your Mom to tell her you love her yet today, go do it right now. She’s waiting to hear from you.
My own dear mother has been gone 26 years now, and I miss her every day. She was a sweet lady who was loved by everyone who ever met her. Life didn’t always treat her kindly. She outlived five of her eight children, but she overcame her heartbreak each time, picked up the pieces, and went on with her life.
She was a typical stay at home mother, like many women of her generation. She took pride in having a clean house and taking care of her family. She tried to learn to drive a car once, and her only time behind the wheel she put my dad’s DeSoto in a ditch. That was enough driving for her!
She was also as fierce as a mama bear defending her cubs. Long before I came along she had a hard birth bringing my brother Frank into the world and the doctor ordered her to stay in bed for several weeks. This was in 1931, and my dad was a young deputy sheriff. He had made some enemies among a group of local ne’er-do-wells who swore to get even. They knew where my parents lived and made it known they might show up some day when he was at work. Sure enough, they did, walking right into their bedroom. My mom was nursing the baby, but laid him beside her, pulled the .32 revolver my dad had left her from under er pillow, and fired a shot into the ceiling above their heads. As plaster rained down on them, she said the next shot would be in somebody’s head. I don’t think they heard her because they were too busy running over each other trying to get out of Dodge. In the weeks that followed, my dad sought out each of them and convinced them never to show their faces around the area again.
Mom never lost her sense of humor, no matter what happened. She passed that on to me, and it has helped me deal with plenty of setbacks in my own life. As the youngest of her children I was always her baby, even when I became a grown man with children of my own. I know I gave her fits sometimes, and though she was a short little round woman, she could hold her own.
I’ve been asked a couple of times to repost this story I told a few years back about my mom, and it’s the most hilarious memory of her I have, though it didn’t seem at that funny at the time.
When I was a young soldier, I was offered an opportunity to go to jump school and fell in love with the romantic idea of jumping out of airplanes for a living and wearing the coveted silver wings of an Airborne trooper. I called my dad to tell him that I had been accepted to jump school and his first words were “Why the hell would you want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? Only bird shit and fools fall out of the sky.” His next words were “DO NOT tell your mother about this until you’re done! I have to live with the woman!”
So we kept it our secret until I made it through school, and then Dad brought Mom down to Fort Benning, Georgia for my graduation. She didn’t know what I was graduating from, just some Army training school. On graduation day we were to jump onto a drop zone where our families were waiting to see us. So bright and early on graduation morning my parents and a hundred other people were brought out in buses to the drop zone and ensconced on bleachers.
One officer after another made his little speech and then it was time for our dog and pony show. Far above, we got the word and began our jump. Meanwhile, on the ground, my mom had gotten frustrated waiting for her son to show up so she walked up to one of the men in uniform on the ground and said “My son is supposed to be graduating today. Do you know where he is?”
“Right up there, ma’am,” he told her and pointed to the paratroopers floating to the ground. That’s when all hell broke loose.
My chubby little mother pushed past the soldiers assigned to keep civilians off the drop zone and shook off their restraining arms as she stormed out into the middle of the graduates as they hit the ground and did their landing rolls, yelling “Nick, where are you? You get your butt down here right this minute! You know better than that! I didn’t raise you to break your legs doing something this stupid!” I swear I could hear her while I was still a hundred feet in the air!
And all the while, confused young paratroopers were getting to their feet and trying to collapse their chutes as she stormed up to them demanding to know where I was. Meanwhile, my dad (and much of the audience) was rolling around on the bleachers laughing their heads off.
Needless to say, when all the confusion died down, I had a lot of explaining to do! I’m not sure which put the fear of God into me more, facing my mom, or a hastily called meeting with our battalion commander. But she did calm down enough to pin on my wings, and I was the only graduate that day to get a standing ovation!
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you, and I miss you.
Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of A Shot In The Bark, the first book in my pal Carol Ann Newsome’s excellent Dog Park mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.
Thought For The Day – Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together. – Pearl S. Buck