I remember Mama (Mother’s Day)
By Bill Shepard
Mama has been gone a long time but I remember Mama!
Perhaps the best gifts my Mama gave me are the memories we made together when I was a boy. Mama didn’t have a lot of this world’s wealth to leave behind when she left. Mama left something more precious than silver or gold! Mama left beautiful memories!
Long after the material gifts disappear, memories live on. The good thing about memories is they can be transported so easily. Wherever one goes, they go also.
Yes, I remember Mama! There is never a Mother’s Day that I do not write something about Mama and seldom a day that I do not think of her! I miss Mama’s soft voice when giving me instructions for my day’s activities. I remember Mama’s quiet words, “Everything will be all right,” after I found myself in trouble.
Sometimes after I had stumped my toe or stepped on a piece of glass and cut my bare foot and it was bleeding, Mama would hold it in her hand and whisper, “It’s all right,” and it would be!
I remember standing by Mama’s side when she would be in the kitchen and preparing food for all of her family. If she was mixing the sweetened ingredients for a cake or pie, she would let me lick the spoon when she finished. It would taste so good!
I remember the early mornings in the springtime when I would follow Mama to the garden. I liked it when the beans Dad planted were tall enough that I could play hide and seek between the rows. I would hide and Mama would pretend she didn’t see me and would call, “Bill, where are you?” I would jump from behind the beans and say, “Here I am!”
When the beans were ready to pick, Mama would gather enough for the meal that she prepared each day when Dad came home from work. They would be so good! Sometimes Mama would shell the beans right there in the garden and put them into the large pocket on her apron.
I remember the old Singer sewing machine that stood in the hall between the two bedrooms in the small three-room house where we lived. It isn’t hard for me to imagine I hear the sound of “clickety-clack” the old machine made when Mama was sewing clothes for her family. At the machine is where Mama spent most of her spare time.
I remember following along behind Mama when she would walk to the big Company Store that was “across the creek.”
We would pass by the big mill and I would look to see if my Dad was standing at one of the big windows looking down at us. I remember, when inside the store, one of the clerks would go with Mama to the cloth department and show her all the pretty cloth they had. Mama would pick out the pieces she liked and buy several yards.
She would buy enough to sew shirts for my brothers and me. She would sew little dresses for my sister. She couldn’t make the overalls that my Dad wore to work, but Mama knew how to patch overalls! With three boys and a husband, she did a lot of sewing patches on overalls.
When Mama got through sewing for the rest of her family, she would make herself a dress or apron. Usually the apron was made with a piece of the leftover cloth from our shirts or my sister’s little dresses. Mama never bought any pretty dresses or aprons from the stores. The ones she made were just as pretty as the ones they sold at the stores.
I liked it when Mama made herself a new apron. She would wear it on Sundays when she cooked our dinner. Mama would look so pretty with her new apron wrapped around her Sunday dress she wore only on Sundays. If Mama had scraps of cloth left over from sewing, she saved them for sewing quilt tops in the fall. Mama never threw anything away!
I remember one time when Mama got sick and had to go to the hospital. I didn’t know what was wrong, but I knew she had to be real sick because nobody went to the hospital when I was a boy unless they were real sick!
Mama was gone several days and Grandma came and stayed with us so Dad could work at the mill each day. I remember how Grandma would pray each night and ask the “Good Lord” to heal Mama! I would pray too!
I remember the day Mama came home from the hospital. Dad hired a neighbor, who owned a car, to bring her home. We didn’t own a car! We all ran out to the car and stood around while Dad helped Mama from the car, then helped her get into the house. I never forgot how pretty Mama looked!
After Mama was put to bed, and we all hugged her and kissed her and told her we were glad she was home, Mama told me to look inside a sack by her bed. Inside I found half an apple and a piece of chewing gum.
She had brought them home especially for me!
I loved Mama!
I still do! And I think of her often.
Mama got well and lived a long time. Then one day Mama got sick again and went to the hospital again.
That time Mama didn’t get well. I was standing by my Mama’s bed when she left. She just closed her eyes and was gone. I guess Mama was tired of picking beans and patching overalls!
Mama went to Heaven! I’m going there myself one of these days, and I expect to see her, and I’ll get to tell her how much I missed her when she left!