Some say, ‘He (or she) never had an unkind word to say about anyone.’ In contrast, unkind words are often spoken. ‘The world is better off without him (or her)!’
How will we be remembered?
I remember my father-in-law as a quiet man.
The fish bait man, A.N. Davis filled the role of husband and father. The quiet man and wife Cora began their workdays before daylight. Many customers were likely unaware of the tedious hours of work required to provide shiners, crickets and worms. It was not an occupation for the faint of heart.
It was one well suited to Daddy; he loved being outdoors. He thrived in fresh air and open spaces. In the few short years that I knew him, he never said a lot. He just went about his fish bait business.
I do recall one personal conversation. It revolved around his son, my husband Norm. As a boy of nine years old he had decided on a career as a D.J. in radio. In this instance, I was listening to the radio while visiting in the home of my mother and father-in-law. He turned my attention towards the radio asking, “Do you like that as much as Norman does?”
Being an outdoor man, I think Daddy had difficulty grasping why working in radio meant so much to his son. My answer was ‘Yes.” I grew up in a home filled with the sounds of music. My family began every morning with music from the radio.
Actions do speak louder than words. Daddy was a quiet man but his actions were heard in the rural town of Oak Grove, Louisiana.
Most moms’ have one special dish, something that becomes a favorite to their children and grand children.
There is no question, my husband delights in being served his mothers chocolate pie. My sister Donna’s’ corn chowder still gets raves.
Our grandson in FL wants Granny’s’ French toast every time he visits us.
There was a wonderful book, movie and television series titled, I Remember Mama. It is a classic; treat yourself with a viewing some rainy afternoon.
I remember Mom’s Molasses cookies…
She used a family recipe handed down from my grandmother; it resulted in delicious fresh baked snacks for us to enjoy at home or in the bag lunches for school.
Mom dropped large servings of the batter from a spoon, onto the cookie sheet. The aroma of spices filled the house and wet our appetites for what was to come. When baked, they expanded into a large cookie, most the size of a cup coaster. We rarely waited for the cookies to cool; each nibble into the soft cookie brought instant pleasure.
Many treats have little nutritional value; molasses is actually good for you. I surfed the internet and discovered many benefits of this dark, thick, gooey syrup.
Family businesses were once the backbone of America.
Whether family farms or Main Street Mom & Pop’s, the businesses were owned and operated by members of close-knit families. Often, children played a major role by lending a helping hand before and after school. My husband was raised in the Deep South and speaks of earlier years when schools closed during harvest season. Children were needed to assist in gathering cotton crops.
Jesus carried out His Father’s kingdom business. He had a strong family support system.
“While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, ‘Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.’ But He answered and said to the one who told Him, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother (Matthew 12:46-50 NKJ).”
My mind mingles memories of Mycenae and home; I left the old home place when I wed at the age of 18, yet at the age of 62 it as close as my current front door. Over a thousand miles separates me from the house that my Dad, Frank built. My thoughts soar to the structure that sheltered me from northeasters and the cold cruel world.
Solomon in his great wisdom built, bragged, and taught me a valuable lesson; a house may serve only as a monument to self. “I increased my achievements. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made gardens and parks for myself and planted every kind of fruit tree in them. I constructed reservoirs of water for myself from which to irrigate a grove of flourishing trees (Ecclesiastes 2:4-6 HCS).”
The industrious king had developed a dream home any real estate agent would love to include as a listing to prospective buyers. It is tragic to see the repetitive phrase “for myself” in Solomon’s monologue and to realize I too can become self absorbed and miss countless blessings of investing in others. I think I’ll just mosey on back to Mycenae and see vivid pictures of the house that Frank built…
“Soups on!” How did your mother gather her clan to the table? Did she ring a dinner bell? Maybe the aroma of tantalizing homemade meals beckoned you to the kitchen or dining room. “Time to eat”! Is your stomach rumbling? My memory takes me back to a crowded table in a small kitchen nook and Mom telling me our meal was ready…
Meal times are opportunities to serve. Mothers are not supposed to get sick! Who will prepare and serve the meals? Who will clean up the dirty dishes? If mothers are ill, the entire household feels the pain. It may have been close to mealtime when Jesus called at the home of Apostle Peter…
“Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served Him (Matthew 8:14-15 NKJ).” Peter did not stand in the marketplace and share mother-in-law jokes; he stood and testified of her healing at the hands of the MASTER!
How quickly time has flown. The yesterdays now far out-measure the tomorrows. But please don’t look at me with pity.
Inside me there is a little girl swinging in the sunshine, running through the fields and playing dolls in a make-believe playhouse on the dusty earth beneath a live oak in the yard. There is a happy teenager, giggling and sharing secrets with my best friend. Sometimes there emerges the memory of a new bride who has chosen to make her home with a special young man. They clasp hands and exchange knowing glances. The twinkle in his eye tells me I am still special.
“Precious memories flood my soul” of the children with whom I shared life. The joy and pain of giving birth was my special blessing from God. A large portion of my life is labeled “mama”.
Now the sands of time have shifted and the sand is nearly run out. The hourglass is turned upside down and once again I am become that helpless little child, vulnerable and trapped in this tired, used-up, adult body.
I know, my child, you grieve for me. It is hard for you to assume your new role as caretaker. I too, wish it did not have to be so. But the cycle-of-life dictates it to happen just this way.
When you were a babe I rejoiced when you were first put into my arms. My heart expressed wonder in my breast as I examined every tiny finger and toe. I marveled as you began to crawl and laughed out loud at your first word! There were times of great pain as I rocked you through the night with high fever, unable to administer the healing I wanted for you so desperately. I nursed you, nurtured you, loved you and enjoyed you. You were one of my special gifts from God. You are “mama” now. I’m sorry it must be so, for it takes a special grace for both of us to surrender our roles. But His Grace is sufficient.
Know that sometimes I am afraid. This is an unfamiliar path I walk. I have shown you how to walk many paths in life. I shall try to show you how to tread this one with faith and dignity. There are may old people who have to life this time of their lives alone. Thank God I do not walk alone, He is here and so are you! Do not try to be Him and take responsibility for making me whole and pain free. Do as I once did in that rocking chair so many years ago…acknowledge that He is in charge. Whatever transpires here is for just a little while and has great purpose in His plan for our lives.
When you come, bring gifts. Bring the gift of your smile and of loving arms to “hold me”. Bring the gift of reassurance that I am loved and I am hot a burden (for I fear that I am). Let us share meaningful words for time is too short now for trivia.
And when the Father calls me home, grieve for a little while. You will be lonely for a part of you will be gone. Mama and Daddy will both be away. (But you are not alone or comfortless, my child. You have family to whom you have given life) Grieve the loss. Talk about it. Then you can begin to remember the good times and the good things we shared in life. Those precious memories will far out-weigh the grief…in due time. Then your healing can occur.
There came a time, my child, when you wanted to leave home and fly on your own. I had to release you…thought it made me lonely. Release me, my child, and let me go home. I’ll wait for you there and the light will be on.