It’s hard to honor one’s mother without at least some consideration for what so many of them have missed…from being a product of their own time.
Another Mother’s Day this weekend, and a happy salute to all of you out there to whom we owe so much. But most of all, the simple fact of life. We couldn’t have done it without you.
I will think of my own mother on this day, Leona Fulks, now 88 years young, still full of life, and fully capable of letting me know with a glance and her crooked grin that I’m often out of line. She’s been good that way…for all of my 64 years.
Like the rest of you I cannot be thankful enough for what my mom has contributed to my life. Probably above else, Mom is a doer…a worker beyond the energies of anyone I’d even attempt to compare. I’m glad she passed it on.
She taught school for nearly 40 years, and spent every waking hour away from school cooking, canning, freezing something, knitting, quilting, and generally just preparing for the worst or the unexpected should it come along. Work has always been her escape, to be sure.
And the reason she’s worked so hard, her and others of her generation? Their fears of modern culture and the issues with having lived beyond their comfort, now define them.
As much as I love my mom, I also regret that; that for her sake she’s never taken a day off from her suspicions.
She doesn’t like social media.
And of course she’s convinced the government is out to get us.
The candidates? Surely Trump and Hillary have horns and cloven hooves.
She’s a tele-marketer’s worst nightmare.
And, she sees the present state of America and our leadership as just one big welfare state. As it was in her classroom, Mom’s going to be at issue with anyone unwilling to work as hard as she has. Conservative to the very marrow of her bones, in her view everyone spends more than they can afford, and no one’s willing to do without…anything!
Yet, privately she’s one of the most generous people I’ve ever met. If she knows you, and knows you need help, she’s the first person on your doorstep. But if she senses that someone’s out there just to work the system…don’t bother.
I will say that she’s been exemplary over the years to provide those formative advantages and opportunities for me and my sister…a Bach trumpet, a Wilson A2000, or a Royal typewriter. Learn to be productive whatever the cost, that was her mantra, and as a mom she more than took care that we did.
But for years I’ve been concerned that her generational shadow has cost her a lot of happy days, and the simple comforts of an evolving world. She’s not alone, of course. There’s tens of thousands of that era just like her.
On the other hand, there’s that generation half her age that worries me even more. Mom has always reminded me…that I come from a generation of people that will NOT do without…anything. We have to have it and we have to have it now!
Anything goes with us, by comparison, always assuming that something better is bound to happen. If by no other means, the government will see that it happens.
We’ve had this conversation, Mom and I, until I can quote it verbatim. And her frustration is only heightened by the inevitable passage of time, and corruption and volatility of a changing society.
She’s quoted to me for years a phrase she heard as a child from her uncle, a Civil War veteran…that a contented mind is a continual feast. And to Mom’s way of thinking, she’s perfectly content with ignoring so many of the modern improvements in life that would surely make her remaining days fuller and more enjoyable.
She won’t fly. She understands gravity.
No need to suggest a cruise…water’s too deep.
She doesn’t like new and different foods.
She won’t have a computer, or the internet…“who has that much time to waste?” She’ll never read this, and don’t bother to share it.
None of the rest of us live in that world, of course, and still…I’m constantly amazed at how she, and they, beat the odds.
We’ll all go on Facebook today and post some message of appreciation for our moms, of how they’re the best of all and why no one else can even challenge.
But I’ll take my chances with my own in terms of uniqueness…because how many have beaten the great depression, worked their way through college on $5 a week, 50 years of crooked politicians, lived through the shame of Bill Clinton and that Lewinsky woman, trashy television shows, and the devil’s own instrument of corruption and deceit…the internet?
And please…don’t change for my sake, Mom. It’s too late for me to love another!