|My Mama - Miss Doris
Today is my mama's 83rd birthday. Isn't she pretty? We took her to Cracker Barrell to celebrate. She didn't want a birthday cake, so we got her some peach cobbler.
I come from a long line of strong-willed women, and Mama is a real trooper, having been through many trials in her life and many health challenges. She's been in a nursing home for almost two years now. It hasn't been easy, but she's still got her smile and her sense of humor (most days).
I was thinking today of all the many things Mama taught me. She was born in 1930, on a Georgia farm, and was one of 12 children. Can you imagine? Her daddy was a share-cropper, and all the children helped with the chores and farming. One of the funniest stories she told me about farming involved Mama and her younger sister Hazel.
"Daddy told us to go out to the field and plant peas. Hazel wanted to go to town and have fun instead of planting peas, so she came up with a plan."
"Doris, let's plant a couple of rows and then we can throw the rest in the woods."
"I don't think that's a good idea," Mama said, but went along with the plan. "When we got back to the house, Daddy said, "Y'all finished already?"
"Yes, Sir. Can we go to town now?"
"Daddy scratched his head and looked at us real stern-faced, but said we could go. We took off and spent the afternoon walking around the town square so Hazel could flirt with the boys." Mama says she didn't flirt 'cause she was real shy.
"All went well until the peas started coming up. The rows we planted were doin' real good, but most of the rows were completely bare. So, Daddy walked around the field until he found the peas sprouting out there in the woods."
"Was he mad?"
"Oh, yes. We got in big trouble," she laughed, but wouldn't tell me what their punishment was.
Mama was reared during the Great Depression and so grew up with the values of the Greatest Generation. These are just a few of the things Mama taught me, and I thank her for every one:
Go to church
Read the Bible
Respect your parents and grandparents
Say "Yes, Ma'am/Sir" and "No, Ma'am/Sir"
Speak when you're spoken to
Don't talk back
Children should be seen and not heard when adults are talking
Love and stay connected to your family
Help your family
Celebrate holidays and birthdays together with family
Write thank you notes
Be on time
Call if you're going to be late
Act like a lady
Dress like a lady
Sit like a lady.
Pretty is as pretty does
Practice good table manners
Help your neighbors
Respect people of all races
Honor your husband
Prepare 3 meals a day
Eat together as a family
Help clean up the table and kitchen
Have a regular bedtime schedule
Cleanliness / good hygiene
Neatness / order in the home
Pick up after yourself
Mind your own business
Any thing worth doing is worth doing well.
If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all
Don't wear out your welcome
If you want something done right, do it yourself
Pay your bills.
Don't be on welfare - take care of your self
Save money for the future
Love the U.S.A.
Respect the flag
Take civic responsibility seriously
Read good books
When you are a guest for dinner, offer to help the hostess before and after the meal
Never take the last piece of chicken, cake, etc.
Thank your hostess, even if you didn't like the food
Well, y'all, that's just a start. As I think of more, I'll add them.
What did your mama teach you?
Post Script: My dear Mama passed away on April 30, 2015, at 84 years of age. This is the song she wanted at her funeral. It was played at my daddy's, too. They understood each other...and were married for 51 years.