I REMEMBER MOTHER — putting my hand in hers when all the other children were away to school and I would say in a tongue-tied voice, “Just you and me, just you and me.”
I REMEMBER MOTHER — washing stacks of dirty clothes every Monday morning. There were nine of us and nine stacks. She would stoke an old black boiling pot and a four-tub ringer washer. If you got your hair or fingers caught in the ringer rollers, you could just butt it with your head and the wringers would just fall apart. She would hang the last of the wash on the lines at the close of day.
I REMEMBER MOTHER — standing at the back door, calling all seven of her children home for supper time. Supper means the last meal of the day. By the way, we could miss breakfast or have a hit-and-a-run at noon time, but if you missed three meals in a row, Mother would come looking for you.
I REMEMBER MOTHER — during those hard depression years, preparing our school lunch out of home made biscuits that she had baked the night before. We often traded them for a sandwich made from soft white Merita bread. Mother never bought a loaf of white bread. She said it would make your teeth fall out. I wore complete dentures at an early age of 23. So much for that theory!
I REMEMBER MOTHER — baking a large beautiful Angel-food cake that would just melt in your mouth. It took 21 whites of the egg. We would sell it to the first neighbor exposed to its grace and beauty for thirty-five cents. With that money we could purchase a gallon of sweet milk and a gallon of buttermilk from McArthur’s dairy. We only had to walk 3 miles round trip to get it.
I REMEMBER MOTHER — teaching piano to neighbors and friends, pupils from all over the community. My Mother went stone deaf at the age of 16 but was a marvelous pianist all of her life.
I REMEMBER MOTHER — twisting raisons and pretending they were the richest kind of chocolate candy. Her willingness to serve was outstanding. She made our little home a haven for preachers and other guests. She never signed but was a master lip reader. She would try to pick up the flow of conversation around the table by watching the lips of those who spoke.
I REMEMBER MOTHER — who always seemed to have patience and grace toward those who did not understand her world of silence and total deafness. She was somewhat of a personal evangelist too, giving tracts of Bible truth to friends and neighbors. She was a soul-winner.
I REMEMBER MOTHER — Who seemed so pleased with my Christmas gift of a 10 cent bottle of red greasy furniture polish. But then, I was only 5 years old and she knew that I had already given her my heart.
I REMEMBER MOTHER — who would stand so straight and tall and just beam with pride as all seven of her children marched into church on Sunday morning. You could set your clock with our entry of the Exums during the singing of the third song. She read the lips of an usher who said, “here come the Exums, late again”. With a twinkle in her eye she said as we went by, “You’d be late too if you had seven children to get ready.” She could have been a good comedian.
I REMEMBER MOTHER — laughing with us often but seldom crying over trivial problems. She would always say, “Best save those tears for what really matters.” Hers was that rare dignity that takes sorrow and grief into the bosom to bear it alone. She shared her happiness in a ready fashion and just waited patiently for the reason “Why” when things happened that could not be understood.
I REMEMBER MOTHER — who patched pants, darned socks and often worked into the night so that her family might have all the physical needs for the coming day.
I REMEMBER MOTHER — who preceded all of her children in life and death and by example in faithfulness and love leads us on to the new life that awaits believers.
These, and other comments, were among the words I spoke at my Mother’s funeral. An overflow crowd was a final witness to her life of service and sacrifice.
King Solomon spoke of a virtuous woman. “Her price is far above rubies . . . her husband trusts in her . . . She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life . . . She gets up while it is yet night . . . She gives meat to her household . . . She buys a field, plants a vineyard . . . she reaches out to the poor . . .she helps the needy . . . strength and honor are her clothing . . . She opens her mouth with wisdom . . . in her tongue is the law of kindness . . . her children rise up and call her blessed . . . Many daughters have done virtuously, but she excels them all . . . Favor is deceitful and beauty if vain, but a woman that fears the Lord, she shall be praised (Proverbs 31:10-31).
“With the same letter, heaven and home begin,
They dwell together in the mind.
For they would a home in heaven win,
Must first a heaven in home begin to find.”
No greater tribute can be passed on to all the mothers who read this column. Happy Mother’s Day.