Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

A mom, an Ang, a son, a daughter-in-law

img001 (3)For Mom

You gave me love, always. You gave me forgiveness.

You gave me meat loaf and tuna casserole. You gave me a pink bike and a Sally Starr costume. You gave me Connie Mack, the Phillies, Cracker Jack, and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

You gave me Princess and my own room when I needed it.

You gave me a love of grammar and the written word.

You gave me vacations in Florida and that one memorable trip to Rehoboth.

You gave me our legacy of Wales, the Welsh, my old family. You taught me no matter how old I get, I can learn new things, and new languages.

You gave me love, laughter, life.

For Ang Ang

You gave me love, always, just like Mom. You also gave me a strong talking to when I needed it.

You gave up your life to give us life. You worked, you provided, you laughed. We laughed with you.

You gave me “Silver Bells” while I cuddled on your lap. You gave me the Dorseys and the jitterbug.

You gave me crosswords and jigsaws, the world in the encyclopedia, and the courage to attempt the New York Times crossword puzzle.

You gave me, “Speak up for yourself because nobody else will,” and, “Stand up against prejudice.”

You, too, gave me love, laughter, life.

DSC00781For my son

I gave you life. I can still put you over my knee…well, maybe, with help from your squadron.

Being your mom is the greatest gift, ever.

You are the most incredible dad I’ve ever witnessed. You are goofy, playful, and you pay attention to your kids’ education.

You don’t care who sees you imitating Jim Carrey in the aisles at Walmart. I so love that about you.

You like Elvis – I don’t know why. But I love that about you, too.

You do the laundry and the dishes. You rock.

I am so proud of the man you are, the husband you are, the father you are.

To my DIL Chris

You are the daughter I never had! You are the bestest of BFFs.

If I had been tasked with picking a spouse for my son, I could not have done better.

You are hard working, fun loving, and you make funny faces when my son is being goofy.

You love the Yankees and the Cowboys, and I don’t even hold that against you.

You are an awesome mom. You cuddle, you love, you discipline.

Keep the Pampered Chef gifts coming.

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About Agnes, by Karen S. Elliott

Ang

About Agnes

by Karen S. Elliott

Inspired by Aunt Agnes R. Holmes, “Ang,” my second mother

It was not prudent to divorce her husband

Because he wouldn’t give up his seat on the bus.

But she did divorce him.

With no regrets.

It was not lady-like to slide down the banister

In the Hotel DuPont ballroom.

But she did it in a gold lamé gown.

And she didn’t look back.

It was not feminine to bowl with a 12-pound ball

But she did it.

And did it fiercely.

And she didn’t regret.

The neighbors thought her nuts

When she rented a pony for my little-girl birthday.

But she did it anyway.

With no regrets.

It was not common to get a mortgage

As a single woman in the 50s.

But she got it and raised our family.

And she never looked back.

It was not sensible to speak out or disagree

with her corporate boss.

But she did it, successfully.

And she didn’t back down.

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As Easy as Peanut Butter and Jelly, by Pamela S. Wight

making my dinnerWe are always children to our parents.

No matter our age.

This past week I flew across country to visit my mom. I have adult children now. I have grandchildren, but my mom waits on me as if I’m still her (young) child whom she must care for and nurture.

You know how tenderly we parents watch over our 3-year- old, our 11-year-old, our 16 and 20-year-old? Well, guess what? We do the same when they’re 29, and 45, and yes, even older.

“I bought a wheat bagel for your breakfast, just what you like,” my mom chirps at 8 a.m. our first morning. I don’t eat bagels. I munch on wheat toast with organic peanut butter and blueberry jam every morning, but I so appreciate the thought that I slice the (just thawed) bagel and search for the toaster.

“I don’t own a toaster,” mom explains five minutes into my opening and closing cabinets.

“Oh.” I turn on the oven to Broil.

“I’ve never used Broil. Do you think it works?” mom asks, her voice tinged with wonder and curiosity.

I never use Broil either, at least not for toasting bread, so we stand in front of the oven and wait for four minutes.

I open the door. Bagel’s still soft.

Mom rinses some blueberries and raspberries, throws a few on her cereal, and makes me a bowl. “Sit down and eat,” she demands. “I’ll watch the bagel.”

I ignore her and open the oven – bagel’s still soft.

She pours milk into her bowl and I order her: “Eat before your cereal gets mushy!” She ignores me, and we check the oven.

Mom and Pamela

Mom and Pamela

Bagel’s still soft.

Simultaneously, we hit the Broil button off, and then I select Bake at 450 degrees. “Really, mom, start breakfast. I’ll be right there.”

Mom stares longingly at her now soggy shredded wheat waiting for her on the dining room table but says, “Let me get the peanut butter out for your bagel,” as if I couldn’t reach up to the cabinet and pull out the Jiffy jar.

I check the bagel – it’s actually getting a little toasted. Nonchalantly I ask, “Do you have some jam?” but inwardly kick myself as soon as the words are out of my mouth.

Crestfallen, she opens the refrigerator and responds, “How about Seville Orange Marmalade?”

“Um, no, I really don’t like marmalade.”

“How can you NOT like marmalade? Here, try it.”

I hate marmalade. Don’t know why, but I have since I was a kid. So like a kid, I shake my head no. I probably pout too.

Nanny with Neville

Nanny with Neville

Mom pulls out another jar. “Oh, here’s Apricot Preserves.”

“Isn’t that like marmalade?” I ask. By now, I’ve pulled out the crispy browned bagel and start spreading it with peanut butter.

“Try it!”

“I really don’t…”

A spoon with some apricot preserves is suddenly swung in front of me, so I place a smidgen on my bagel and take one bite, making a face. “Nope, don’t like it. I’m fine with just peanut butter. Now, let’s eat.”

Her head is still in the refrigerator. “Aha! Red Currant Jelly! Want to try that?”

“You’re kidding me, right?”

I walk to the table with my plate of, by now, cold toasted bagel. “Mom – come on.”

She makes a noise and produces another glass bottle from the refrigerator. “Look! Fig Butter. That could taste good…?”

“Why the heck do you have fig butter?”

She shrugs. “I bought it for a recipe. Umm, that could have been quite a while ago.”

I give her a peanut buttery smile. “Join me.” Her cereal is now indistinguishable from overcooked oatmeal that is dotted with some red and blue berries.

Giving up, my mom sits down at her place, only to pop up with an excited exclamation. She races back to the refrigerator and presents me with her find:

“CHERRY PIE JELLY!”

I groan, “Noooooooooooooo.”

She shrugs.

I begin to laugh so hard I can’t take another bite of baked bagel.

How wonderful is it to have a mom who still treats you like her special little girl, the daughter she still wants to keep happy?

But still, I don’t touch the cherry pie jelly.

***

pamela wightPamela Wight is a published writer and editor. Her writing transformed when she shifted from technical, medical articles to novels full of suspense and romance. She fulfills her need to write often and to write well by teaching
creative writing classes in Boston as well as the San Francisco Bay area, and has written/edited/published a Zine of short stories and poems. Belonging to the Women’s National Book Association/SF and the California Writers Club keeps her connected with other writers crazy for their craft. Her novels include The Right Wrong Man (find it on
Amazon and Barnes & Noble)  and Twin Desires (June 15 publication date). Pamela writes a weekly blog on daily living – visit her at Rough Wighting.

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“The Garden”

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The Garden

by Karen S. Elliott

Inspired by my mom, Lois Holmes Sanderson

***

Associated Trellis – Your Yard & Garden News Agency  

Today’s Headlines!

B52 Dragonfly Crashes in NM Desert

Raindrops Flood the South Heal Print

Three Injured in Hive Collapse

Migratory Birds Return – Nesting Prices Soar

Sports – Beetles Grab Coveted Butter-Cup

Cockroach Trial Enters Closing Arguments

The Ants convey the Royal Exalted One on a pheasant-feathered palanquin supported by bronze-colored poles. Millions of garden-crawlers have gathered for the court proceedings, buzzing and clicking.

They are such show-offs, the Ants – just because they can carry so much. Big deal. They all teek-teek on eensy feet about the dais, acting important. They are so boring to look at. All black like Goths. They make me sick with their arrogance. But I am an Under-Moth – a staff-reporter bug – and I must deal with it.

The Lady-Bugs-in-Waiting come next, they flutter behind in case some bug makes a misstep or loses a leg. The Exalted One sits upon her dais – a stage festooned with ridiculous paintings of the constellations. Her platform rises in the middle of fur-coated Caterpillars. They make me sick, too – they are so show-offy, those fur coats in ridiculous colors. And it’s after Memorial Day, so they should not be wearing their fur coats at all.

Some Stink Bug belches in the back. Crickets entertain us, their back legs and wings strumming. Pine cones are fired up by the Lightening Bugs and flare against faces of the spectators. Chandeliers of Spiders’ webs reflect the pine cones and the Lightning Bugs’ derrieres. For a moment, I am mesmerized by the glow; my nature begs me to flit toward the light. I wrestle with my feelings; I stay still.

The Spiders trundle their saddlebags across the cobblestones and picnic on wrapped-up corpses. Above, the surrounding scaffolding groans with the weight of millions of Gnats. As if this was a picnic, thousands of the Gnats play and watch a light-spirited chess game; each contingent moves a piece along the squares on the chessboard. Underworld side bets are taking place, nesting items being exchanged like trading cards. Kennels of ticks, they bark and bang against the wire with boundless energy.

The Exalted Mantis surveys the assembly. Holy Mealworms! Is that a felt scrap fashioned into a Colonial tri-corner hat on the Mantis? On a triangular head? That fashion statement is rather redundant, don’t you think? Someone must talk to her costume attendant. I much prefer last winter’s Russian ushanka to this ridiculous frippery.

The Mantis raises her fore-most legs.

Outside, royal attendants stop the weathercock with an excruciating squeal, its tail reflecting the dying rays of a setting sun. All activity stops in anticipation of the proceedings.

Amorous eight-legged spinners stop and suspend webs, sixteen legs in a final upheaval, stricken in mid-weave.

The Mantis bangs the gavel – the trial begins.

Snails monitor the activity very slowly, shells polished like constabulary badges. Outside, a Lady-Bug-in-Waiting is snared on the thorn of a tea rose! Several officers slursh over to the disturbance, silver slime and shiny shells march out to quiet the interruption.

Butterflies flit about flapping multi-colored wings of amethyst and cerulean and scarlet, pointing their antennae at those who are disruptive. The Hummingbird Brigade is overhead, creating breezes so that we can suffer the humidity of the day.

Along the perimeter, floral clusters crane their stem-necks and point their open blooms to the action on the bandstand. Youthful stamens and pistils are straining and stretching; they vie for attention and are shushed! Their elders flare their petals – a final murmur and then a hush.

The case continues:

The Mantis raises an appendage and demands silence; she rotates her head and glares at the Snails. They tick their shells, one against the other, signaling for quiet. A hush. We all watch the stilled weathercock. We wait to see which way the Mantis will direct its swing to announce the  verdict. The verdict comes down.

There has been conspiracy among the Cockroaches! This cannot stand! This cannot be allowed! The multiple eyes of multiple nations are upon us! We set a precedent, and a decision is dealt upon the prehistoric little garbage-munchers. The Mantis points to the compost foothills. We banish them!

It is decided.

It will be written on cast-off parchment wings and fur pelts of ancestral Caterpillars.

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Associated Trellis – Extra! 

Cockroaches Guilty as Charged!

From my perch on the trellis, overlooking the hub-bub in the soil and tiny pebbles of The Garden below, I watch the Snails escort the convicted Cockroaches – bound up in braided-ivy-vine – across the wide expanse of the garden. Slowed to the Snails’ pace, the Cockroaches lurch like zombies as the contingency travels over decorative brick and hot desert slate. Their expedition is observed by Millipede urchins and an assortment of Beetles in fine Queen Anne’s lace petticoats. They are on their way to the compost.

Arachnid runners in hourglass-stamped tunics jump to my side with the latest interviews and eye-witness reportage from the ground. Dragonflies alight on surrounding leaves with their eye-in-the-sky accounts.

Below, spectators and hecklers en route hurl discarded coffee grounds and bits of rotted cabbage. The Cockroaches snick-snick along, fettered together like a chain gang. Wild flowers unwrap their withering petals, slinging dried up pollen upon the procession. Not that it would damage the Cockroach’s armor plating – it is simply an exhibition of disgust.

I lament the current state of insect affairs. It seems that just weeks ago all was serene here in this patch of The Garden.  We all knew the responsibilities of our genus, be we Lepidopteron, Arachnid, Coleopteran; coming out of cocoon or burrow or hive, we all knew our place. Ah, the good ole days; how I miss them.

As I wax nostalgic, Battalions of Dandelions release clusters of fluffy white paratroopers. They float, caught on the breezes. In crisp military fashion, they fan out and set up their posts.

I exchange pieces of molted-wing parchment with several stringer Moths, and dispatch them to the lower trellis floors. Ancient presses start their incessant clanging; recycled butterfly-wing scales are loaded and ground into ink and readied for printing.

Through my compound orbs, I watch as two Cockroaches in Ghillie suits push a curious conveyance of upturned shell into a copse of mushrooms. My breath catches. My phototactic eyes bulge.

Boom! The shell of fertilizer explodes! The shock wave rumbles across the garden, from the daffodils to the impatiens, blowing Moths, Butterflies and other creatures into a tangle of legs and wings.

The smoke clears from the blast site and a crater the size of a bird bath emerges. Insurgent Roaches scurry in clutching spears of dried grass. They punch through the constraints of their brethren, liberating them.

The stench of charred wings and scorched appendages floats skyward in a black cloud. Pulverized Snail shells litter the blast zone; their slime plops upon the earth. Dead leaves are pounded into mulch. Royal attendants scramble to secure our Exulted Mantis.

Under my six feet, cracks appear in the trellis. I hear snapping noises. My workmates and I tremble on a precipitous ledge. Bugs cling to the trellis with all the legs they’ve got. Cries of terror and pain disrupt the black after-bomb silence. My feathery antennae are tingly and itchy. I see EMT’s – Emergency Medical Ticks – dispatched, and they begin infusing stored blood into the wounded.

Further out, among the branches of the mighty oak and maple, our avian neighbors sit and observe, their twittering silenced.

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The Garden Birds

My favorite time of year. Time to build a new home from fluff out of the dryer vent, discarded bits of yarn from old sweaters; weave in a few twigs and bits of lint that flutter down from clothes pinned on the Gardener’s line. Sometimes I get lucky and find a lose thread on a cloth diaper. That’s the ultimate find for a nest-builder.

Ah, what’s that smell? My mate – in his pointed red fedora and lush black beard – has brought me a gobbet of suit sprinkled with seed! The slick and creamy delicacy feels so deliciously decadent on my beak. What a good provider he is, the most handsome Cardinal in all the garden. He winks his limpid black eye at me and asks would I like to rub wings later. He gives me an affectionate beak tweak.

Several branches away a mad disharmony erupts between two odious Blue Jays – their crests erect, blue and black feathers engaged in a broiling rustle. They are in a duel over a female. What a ridiculous exhibition. I turn away.

An iridescent rainbow cascades past my branch. Ah, the Hummers. How lovely their costumes; they are a hasty parade of amethyst, ruby, sapphire, and jade. Rather ungainly beaks they have, making them the brunt of good-natured teasing. Their fluttering creates the most delicious breeze. I’d invite them in for respite, but our tastes are incompatible.

There is nasty business going on down in the city of bugs, among the rubbish of the compost. Most distressing. By Avian Law, we are not permitted to interfere. We must observe and silence our tweets. Their preposterous squabbles create great disorder and infect my dreams. The most recent disturbance was muffled at this distance. We have now gotten twitterings of the verdict and the horrifying news of the explosion from the orange-breasted Robins and the acrobatic Finches (I admit that I am often jealous of the Finches – the way they are able to hang upside down. What a merriment that must be!)

Dour-looking Crows roost on the wire adjacent to the Trellis. They wait for word from the grapevine about the filling of the bird feeder. The Crows will tell the Woodpeckers; the Woodpeckers will tack-tack the news for all to hear. Such yummies our Gardener puts out for us – black sunflower seeds, safflower, cracked corn, peanuts, an occasional handful of currants. Droves of Mockingbirds and Thrashers flutter in when she sets out a halved apple or other chopped fruits. I do not care for the fruits – they wreak havoc on my delicate digestion.

Our Gardener scrubbed and re-filled the birdbath before the setting of yesterday’s sun. What a holiday atmosphere this creates! Jump in! The water is fine, so fine. The juveniles are reprimanded by their mothers about deposits recklessly left. They are sent home with quiet dispatch.

A squeal from the portal – here she comes! The Gardener is coming! Several of our Avian persuasion beat wing away from the suet and the bathers retreat. The rest of us in the branches are quiet, waiting for today’s banquet to appear. I observe, attentively, smacking my beak.

She is so kind, our Gardener, so respectful.

She amuses me when she whistles. I do not understand one word. But bless her for trying.

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The Gardener

Squeee!

Oh goodness, I need to oil those hinges. Every time I open the screen door, I scare away all the birds! Oh wait, there’s a couple of Cardinals up in the maple tree. Isn’t that nice: they’ve built a nest, started a home. That male Cardinal, snuggled up next to his lady, looks like they are smooching. Those Blue Jays are so raucous! Must they be so noisy?

Hush now!

What a lovely day, not too hot, not too chilly. I just love the spring. The sun is bright and so warm. Don’t want to get a burn, so it’s the shade for me. I’ll just sit here in my rickety lawn chair and nurture my first iced tea of the day. Ah! I really do need to pick up a new chair. My butt’s gonna bust through this thing any day.

Oh, Hummingbirds! I should have brought my camera out with me, darn it. They are so beautiful – all those shiny colors. They look like feathered jewels.

Vrtt! Here they are. Vrtt! There they go.

Those silly Yellow Finches, how do they do that, hang upside down and eat? Like tiny circus acrobats. I’ve never seen any other bird hang like that. I hope those Crows over there don’t bother them. It looks like they are waiting around for some big bird announcement. The Crows, they can be a bother, always shooing and flappity-flapping their wings at the others.

Darn it – look at that bird bath. And I just scrubbed it yesterday! Ah well. And the feeder, too – nearly empty! And look at the suet. It’s nearly gone already! Piggy birdies. Unless the squirrels are getting up there….

My garden, so quiet and peaceful. No traffic noises from the highway, no grandkids under foot. It’s almost too quiet.

Twe-whoo, twe-whoo. The lady Cardinal looks at me funny – cocking her head – when I whistle. I wonder if she understands me.

1:15…20 minutes until the ball game. Hey, that tickles—what is…? Aw, a Lady Bug. I’ll just put her on this little tea rose over here. Gently, gently, Lois. There ya go little lady! How precious, her little fluttery wings.

Oh! A Praying Mantis! They take my breath! Look at her sitting there on that leaf, so regal, like she thinks she’s a queen. I wonder if she’s after those moths. Ew, Spiders on the trellis. Well, they serve a purpose too, I ‘spose. All these bugs, running about, so busy busy busy.

Are those Cockroaches?! Ah!

Agnes, bring me the bug spray! Quick! Odd, it looks like that Cockroach over at the compost is wearing a grass skirt! Now why would a Cockroach need a grass skirt?

You’re losing it, Lois.

Oh dear, what’s with this brown spot? And all these bits of shell? Guess I’ll have to seed that. Hmm, seed, burlap, couple’a nails to hold down the burlap. Need to pull out the hose….

Lois! The game’s started!

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A Visit With Mom, by Esther Miller

Esther Miller picnicA few years ago my aunt and I planned a reunion for the church we both grew up in. It was a small Midwestern church that has long been disbanded, but each of us knew a few people who had attended and we spread the word. We planned a picnic for the same park where we had Sunday School picnics when I was a kid.

We got there early with a couple packs of name tags, figuring fifty would be more than enough for the thirty who said they were coming. There were at least that many there already and everybody had brought food…lots of it! Eventually a hundred people showed up with tons of home cooked food, even though many of us were from out of state.

If you’ve ever attended a small church, you know that one or two families tend to dominate the church and mine was one of those. As I moved from one group to another, people kept saying “You must be Esther…you sound just like your mother.” Finally I asked Aunt Anna, “Do I really sound like Mom?” “Oh yeah, especially when you laugh!” I had long feared that I had inherited absolutely nothing from her and was almost a clone of my father, so it was nice to hear people say I sounded like Mom.

But that was amazing! You see, Mom had been dead more than 35 years already. I was 15 when we moved away and here I was with my husband and grandson. The handsome young pastor I remembered was there with his wife of 50 years. Long before he was pastor, he was the “orneriest youngster” in my mother’s Sunday School class.

Back and forth the stories went…Mom as a teacher, Mom getting married, Mom and Dad singing duets for weddings and funerals. Some stories I’d heard many times and others I’d never heard. Stories I remembered from childhood were told by adults with a different perspective. Each story brought back a piece of her that I’d lost over so many years. My husband knew no one there outside of family and had never known my parents, so they were coming to life for him as well.

Toward the end of the afternoon, an elderly lady came up to me and said, “You must be Melita’s daughter. You sound so much like her.” Her name was not at all familiar to me and she explained that she had grown up in the church but had left about the time I was born. “Your mother was my Sunday School teacher off and on as I was growing up. She impressed me so much. She always seemed so sincere, like whatever she taught us on Sunday was how she really lived. Not everybody was that way. I wondered if she really did ‘practice what she preached.’” I didn’t hesitate to reply that the one thing I most valued about my mother was her utter lack of hypocrisy. This lady told me that all her life she had tried to live as honestly as my mother had. I was amazed at the impact Mom had made on this woman whom I didn’t even know.

After talking to her, I realized that when people give of themselves to other people, those parts they give away live on in those people. For one afternoon, those parts came together and I had an unforgettable visit with my mother.

***

Esther MillerI’m the mother of a son and daughter, and grandmother of two. My husband and I have been married 40 years. I spent my childhood in the midwest, and lived in California from high school until 2000.
We traveled for a year and visited every state in the lower 48, then settled in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Professionally, I was an occupational therapist serving children in special education.

Interests include gardening, cooking, traveling, and amateur radio.

I’ve had a wild collection of volunteer jobs that nobody would have paid me to do but they allowed me to develop skills I would not have gained in the workplace.

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The mother of my grandchildren

img002I will never forget the first time I saw her.

My son pointed her out. “There she is.”

That tall, blonde, gorgeous woman? In an Air Force uniform?

I told him to go for it.

“She’s older than me,” he said.

“Who cares?” I said.

She’s been married to my only child, my boy, for more than twelve years.

She’s the mom to my most precious gifts – my two grandsons.

She’s also my BFF.

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Chris and boys (7)

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Chris

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