My own Mother, Grandmothers and Godmother have all passed away and I pray they are at peace with Jesus and His Mother, Mary in heaven. But, each Mother’s Day I cannot help but think of all the special things they did for me and the blessings I received from them in my life.
It has been over sixteen years since my Mom died, but I continually remember the things she taught me and did for me. My Mom loved to bake, and she always made special things for holidays and birthdays. Her Christmas cookies were delicious, and what a variety she made! But, Mom also made cookies for the “smaller holidays,” shamrock cookies for St. Patrick’s Day, and heart cookies for Valentine’s Day; she would frost and decorate them to add her own special touch. I remember my first year in college receiving Valentine cookies in the mail from her that I knew were baked in love. I remember also my 10th birthday, the “double digit” birthday as I have always called it. Mom had a party for me and invited all my school friends and she made a special cake for the occasion, or I should say cakes. She made a circus train cake for me, each car being a separate cake! Nearly sixty years later and I have never forgotten. I have also never forgotten the many ways she showed me her love and showed me her willingness to do things for others. In her later years she continued to make cookies and would bring the Christmas, Easter, shamrock, and heart cookies to the people in the nursing homes that she regularly visited and brought Holy Communion to on a weekly basis. Yes, Mom taught me many lessons in life. She was always someone I could talk to, but I must admit at times I took advantage of her. If I was procrastinating in doing my homework I would ask her a question about her life and her family when she was young. When she shared her stories with me it was good for at least a half hour of avoiding doing my homework!
I also have many fond memories of my Grandmother Moorby and my Grandmother Clarke. When I was little I loved to visit my Dad’s parents who lived at the time in Cooperstown, right near the Baseball Hall of Fame. Grandpa
Moorby always baked pies and tarts, and Grandma Moorby always had the candy dish full, so my sweet tooth yearned for the visits. We would often visit them for Sunday dinner when I was little. After dinner, if it was a nice day, we would go for a Sunday drive. I loved riding around the countryside and seeing the sheep grazing in the fields. The little lambs would often be playing and romping around and butting heads together. Each time I saw the lambs, my name for them was, ”button-heads”. They must have had a strong impact on me because years later my Uncle Tom told me that as a small boy I use to give him head butts when we were roughhousing!
My brother, and sisters and I called my Grandmother Clarke “Mom”. It was a little confusing at times when both my Mom and Grandma were present, but I could blame that on my sisters. My sisters Sharon and Cathy were toddlers when my Dad went into the Army in 1945, and my Mom and sisters moved in with my Mom’s parents. Being the first grandchildren, they could hardly be blamed for calling Grandma “Mom” that was the only way they heard her referred to by my Mom and her sisters and brother. So for me the “Mom” title stuck for her until I was college age and began calling her “Gram.” Gram lived until she was 92. She was in Fox Hospital Nursing Home for many years before her death, but she loved to go to Brook’s BBQ in Oneonta and I would often take her there when I was back visiting. She loved their Rainbow Trout! One saying that Gram could quite often be heard exclaiming was, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.” When my cousin Mark and I were in college we teased Gram! We pointed out to her that the only time she used the names of the Holy Family together was when she was upset, and that it sounded more like she was swearing than praying. I often wondered afterwards if she asked her priest what he thought about her exclamation. What I do know is I never remember hearing her call upon the Holy Family in that way again!
My Godmother Mary Cook was more like my God-grandmother. She was only two years younger than my Grandmother Clarke. I have written about her in the past. When I was born our family lived in West Oneonta and she was a neighbor who lived near us in a farmhouse. She always had animals around. I remember one Easter visiting when her Nanny goat had triplets! The kids were so cute, but they did not all live. Godmother Mary also had many dogs and cats and geese through the years as well as a kitchen counter full of houseplants. She was always rooting slips and leaves of plants to start new ones. I think some of my love for growing things comes from her. She likewise was a good example for me in the way she would continually help her neighbors and she never missed going to church. (Although she was very upset when they stopped having the 6:00 am Mass!)
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. And remember, if your mothers are still with you let them know how much they mean to you. God bless you, Father Bill