Recently, my Mother remarked that she can’t remember doing a whole lot for me and my brother when we were young. She knows she probably did, but it’s just hard to remember specifics. Well, yes, she did do a lot. And I have a few specifics.
Obviously, she fed and clothed me, and took care of me when I was sick—you know, all the things that a normal mother does. But my Mom was, and is, far above the norm.
I remember going to friend’s houses when I was a boy and when lunch or supper time came, everyone was expected to eat what their mother prepared. Really! Everyone ate the same thing, always. A few times, I mentioned how strange that was to me. My friends thought I was the strange one. They told me that’s how most mothers were; they fixed one meal and expected everyone to eat whatever they cooked. Well, that may be the case for most mothers but not my Mom!
My Mom would make us whatever we wanted—different things for everyone! She’d say something like: “I’m fixing soup for me and your dad, and fried potatoes with eggs for your brother. Do you want either one of those or something else? I can make fried chicken or warm up some spaghetti. Oh, and I’ve got some left over beef and gravy if you want that.” To this day, when I’m at my parents’ house, she still does that. And it’s still pretty great!
She’s the one who instilled in me an absolute love of singing, and music in general—well, as long as the music is country. I’m not too impressed with rock, pop, rap, or any other name you want to give non-country music. When I was six or seven years old and trying to learn to play the guitar, she would play the piano and I’d play along. When I didn’t hear a key change, she’d interrupt her own singing long enough to say “change.” I would change, usually just in time for her to call out the next one that I’d missed. To this day, when I’m listening to people play music, and they miss a key change, I still hear a voice in my head, my Mother’s voice, saying, “Change!”
Back before the days of the Internet, there was mail order. When she could, my Mom saved up box tops or whatever else was required and sent off for items she knew we would like. I remember when we got a set of Kool-aid cups in the mail. They were awesome and we were excited! My brother got the Grape one, I got the Strawberry cup.
On long car trips that we made halfway across the country, numerous ones, she taught my brother and I little games to play to keep our minds occupied. I still do some of those to this day since, as a truck driver, I seem to find myself behind the wheel for hours on end.
At home, she would spread a quilt on the floor, a patchwork quilt with blocks that we pretended was a town with roads. We’d drive our cars on the roads and Mom would help us play by setting up various objects from around the house to represent buildings.
When I was real little, I remember her reading to me (Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn or The Little House In The Big Woods, for example), taking me to the swings in the park, taking me to see the horses behind our church, making homemade toys out of paper and tissues, or putting a big stack of records on the stereo so I could listen for hours.
She had a huge collection of buttons that she used to let us play with too, and scraps of material. Not sure why that was fun but it was and even more so when my mother would join in.
As I got a bit older, the activities changed. My Mom sold Avon and when the shipment would come in, I got to help sort it and fill the orders! The games we played also changed: Life, Payday, and Trouble. And, she let me help her bake, which really meant eating lots of dough and licking the beaters.
She taught me to cook, showed me how to break beans, shuck corn, and a whole host of other cooking related things. Oh, and how to churn butter in a jar! Some people may not look at these things as fun but I did. And there were lots more of them. In addition, I developed a like of drawing, a love of singing, and a passion for writing songs—all of which I got from my Mother.
If you notice, most of what I’ve mentioned are not big or expensive things. They’re not even what most people would consider significant. Yet, it’s things like these and so many more that I remember. I think of them from time to time and get lost in my memories.
In essence, what my mother gave me was the safe feeling of a comfortable and loving home. And that is priceless! So, thanks Mom, for everything you did! ~
Note: I will be interviewed by radio host John Fioravanti on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, at 9:00 am (Pacific Time). You can listen to the interview here.
Bruce A. Borders is the author of more than a dozen books, including: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, The Journey, Miscarriage Of Justice, and The Wynn Garrett Series. Available in ebook and paperback on iTunes, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, or at www.bruceabordersbooks.weebly.com. Amazon Profile - http://www.amazon.com/Bruce-A.-Borders/e/B006SOLWQS. Bruce A. Borders also serves as the Vice-President of Rave Reviews Book Club.