My Mom loved to decorate the house for the holidays. For her the “Holidays did not mean just the Christmas and New Year time, she decorated for Easter and Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, the Fourth of July, and Halloween. In between special days the decorations also were changed depending on the season of the year. I suppose her practice of always changing the look of the house to meet the occasion helped me better understand how we as church change the colors of vestments each season of the liturgical year. I must say my sisters and I have followed my Mom’s lead in decorating the house to celebrate the special days of the year.
My Mom also loved to garden, in fact both of my parents did. My Dad though preferred vegetable gardening whereas my Mom’s preference was flower gardens. I remember as a small child helping my Mon plant flowers in the garden. She also taught me to dead head the flowers when the petals died so plants would keep blooming. Little did I know that that would get me in trouble with the law! On one of our family vacations we went to Canada near Niagara Falls. There was a beautiful park there filled with flower gardens. I was about eight years old at the time. As I walked by the gardens, I began to pick off the dead flowers and suddenly an officer in uniform starting yelling at me for picking the flowers! I tried to tell him I was only picking the dead ones but he shouted back NO Picking the Flowers. I was beginning to think he might lock me up and would I be able to get back home! I must say it did not give me a good feeling for Canada! Mom though told me I didn’t do anything wrong, since I was helping to make the flowers better. I think I did ask her though if I had to tell what had happened in confession!
I also have many fond memories of my Grandmother Moorby and my Grandmother Clarke. When I was little, we often went to my Dad’s parents’ house for Sunday dinner. They lived in Cooperstown. We would have dinner early in the afternoon and then either go for a Sunday drive around the countryside or play cards or board game. Grandma would always join in with us playing games. I did get upset with her though; she cheated! She would let us win! (I think that was her way of saying she was tired of playing and wanted the games to be over.) I remember spending some days in the summer in Cooperstown with my Grandparents. My brother David and I would walk down the street to Doubleday Field and play on the baseball diamond. It was a thrill to be on the field where the Baseball Hall of Fame Game was played!
When I was in Kindergarten, we had school for a half a day. When I had morning Kindergarten I use to walk to my Grandmother Clarke‘s house for the afternoon. She always fixed me lunch when I arrived. I can still remember her teaching me how to eat soup! She said, ‘Spoon it from the front of the bowl to the back and then bring it to your mouth.” I was never sure if this was a teaching of Irish etiquette or if it was a matter of being less likely to spill the soup on her floor! Regardless, I always remember that lesson whenever I am having soup. My Grandmother Clark would always make me take a nap in the afternoon when I stayed with her. I always tried to protest that I already had a nap in the morning at school, but my protests fell on deaf ears. I think in all honesty she was the one who wanted time for a nap! The blessing though was if I took a nap she often gave me her delicious chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk.
My Godmother Mary was more like my God-grandmother. She was only two years younger than my Grandmother Clarke. I have written about her in the past. She was a neighbor of our family when I was born, and our family at the time was living in West Oneonta. She likewise was a good example for me in the way she would continually help her neighbors and never missed going to church. I enjoyed visiting her on her farm through the years. She always had some farm animals as well as dogs and cats. The goose was not my best farm friend, it loved to chase me, but I loved the goats. One Spring the Nanny had triplet kids! They were adorable but they didn’t all survive. It was an early lesson for me that death is a part of life, especially on the farm.
On this Mother’s Day I thank God for all the “Mothers” in my life and hold their memories dear. On this special day I wish all “Mothers” a blessed Day. Remember if your mothers are still with you let them know how much they mean to you.
God bless you,