As a little kid, mothers are the first person known for making it all better.
For the there there, you’re okay. If you take a spill, scrape your knee. Get wounded in action on a Maine farm working. Playing outside with three older brothers, the few neighbor friends when it’s rural living in the country outside a small Maine town.
Mom is the charge nurse always on duty, on call.
When you are are flat on your back, sick as a dog. Comfort from a Mom to the rescue who guides, leads you back to health. With the homemade soup, the back rubs of witch hazel, the cool damp wash cloth applied to your forehead. Your Mom is a constant. She loves you unconditionally, is selfless.
The Vicks Vapor Rub greasing you up, lubed on to your wheezing, rattling, raspy chest. To get you back on your feet.
The ones with red PF Flyers. That she would use her thumb in the take a spin. Asking where your big toe is at the Boston and Shoe Store. With sneaker or dress shoe pairs brought out by the tall bean pole bald headed guy that always wore a bow tie. Who lived on Lincoln Street, was a fixture at the store with the stool, shoe horn, sliding foot size and width metal tool and those low to the ground mirrors. He hunched down, squatted on the stool to open up, tie down the laces. To help mom get you back on the track of the circle of life.
Moms. What you remember most. I bet the soothing words, to help you sleep better. Telling you not to worry about something big happening tomorrow. Tucking you in after saying your prayers. Encouragement. To get you through the night a little easier. From the person who brought you into this brave new world. Squinting, all pink, pretty small and very helpless. Mom, the lady who also knits mittens, hats, Christmas stockings for you and your brothers. Gets you to hair cuts, the dentist, school activities as you grow big and strong.
Reminding you before you speed out of the yard on a bike to be careful, look both ways.
Make good decisions. Before the link up with friends. And to be sure to be back for supper hollered. As you wave and peddle or motorbike, snow sled away from the Maine farmstead.
Like my brothers, Dad, I worked hand in hand with my Mom on a Maine farm. Picking fruit and vegetable produce to sell at a roadside stand. Counting tickets from potato harvester workers to tally up the barrel count. What they had earned spud picking each day.
With the newspapers down on the cleared of supper dish Maine farm house kitchen table as two brothers took turns, washed, wiped.
Lots of fine field dust, the numbered tickets placed in piles by Mom and I. After spilling out of a collection can from farm truck crews. That hoisted the barrels, rolled them to the back. To fill the rolling platform spaces. That when fully loaded the creaking truck was shooed. Whisked away to dark potato house storage bins.
The golden nuggets to be upended, cascaded, to hibernate, snooze through a Maine winter. Before being woke up, graded, packaged. Shipped one potato, two potato… well you know the ditty. Loaded in trailer trucks the family owned to 10-4, breaker one nine.. got your ears on? Get to the large produce markets in MA, CT, NY.
My Mom worked as hard as my Dad.
Both were raised on Maine farms. Lazy was not a label that anyone would ever pin on either of the pair. She could cook, can, shake and bake. Create one of a kind blue plate specials better than any five star World class restaurant. My brothers enjoyed being welcomed to a house full of flavor smells. With a fresh batch of home made cookies, donuts, pastries cooling, waiting. As we walked up the long driveway. After tumbling down the steps in the front of the yellow school bus number thirteen drive by Cy Dunlap, then Hibby Thompson. That picked us up at 7:15, brought us home at 3:45. Sharp.
The conversations around the family Maine farm house table meals were about everything under the sun. Sundays were spent going to church. Then afternoon turns taken rotating through the brothers and sisters homes. Of my Mom’s eleven child family that lived local. So we saw our cousins at a different, revolving take a turn family homestead weekly. To play while the grown ups caught up on each others lives. What was moving, grooving out and about in the small local Maine community.
My Mom taught me about human nature, preached love and moderation.
How to do tasks right or do it over until it was. Not harshly, negative and but reinforced in a positive, with a smile sort of way. My Mom was a strong woman with a deep faith in God and believed in my Dad too. In family, in community, in life. She was smart, trustworthy, had a sense of humor and very disciplined. Not wishy washy or a whiner. A roll up your sleeves, a person you could depend on. To do more than her share of what faced us on the Maine family farm.
Mom was well read. Taught us about tolerance, to work hard on ourselves rather than judge others. To keep our eyes on our own paper. To be responsible, take ownership when things went bad. Not just through successes. Like Dad, Mom believed in each of her kids, grandchildren, in God. Taught us all she knew to prepare us for our life. For when she was no longer here.
She is gone from Earth now but lived into her 80’s. Her amazing flower beds at the Maine farm I bought from my brothers still grow tall with a variety of colors, types of plants.
The love and care of her handiwork, the many lessons live on. Family is everything. She taught us death is part of our very short lives. Makes it more precious. Death is not to be feared and is the reminder that this is not your real home. Just a dress rehearsal for bigger and better things to come. Love you Mom. Thank you Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.