Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Missing Mama

If my mother were alive, she would be 73 years old today. God, I miss her. She was always a "fall" person, pointing out the approach of the holidays by the stacks of little plastic bowls of green, red and yellow candied fruits in the grocery store. I still get sentimental when I see those candied fruits. She got absolutely giddy whenever she bought the Thanksgiving turkey and she lived for Christmas. Mama just reveled in the atmosphere of a holiday. She instilled that in all her children and we, in turn, instill it in ours. She was a happy person and she treated everybody fair. I hate that my grandkids never got to meet her. She would get such a kick out of the Little General and Sgt. York and all their antics.

And Mama would be so, so proud of Sprout. She always liked him and his tossled red hair. Heck, when he was ten, she gave him a pony. A LIVE pony! And I will never forget her helping him to learn the poem "When The Frost Is On The Punkin" for a school assignment. She loved that poem and when she died, among her few cherished things was a copy of that poem written in Sprout's boyish handwriting. I will never be as good a grandmother as she was. And she was a better mother than she was a grandmother. I have some huge shoes to fill.

Mama gave birth to 10 children, all but one of us lived to adulthood. We had the usual growing pains that most young folks go through, but over all, we turned out all right. That's not to say that Mama's life was always easy, it wasn't. And things were not always hunky-dory but she made the best of whatever she had. The hardest thing she ever endured was the death of a child, and that one incident put all other problems in her life in their proper prospective. I imagine Sprout's experience in the war will have about the same effect. Huge, hard dealings have a way of doing that. It's tough, but it makes us a better, stronger person in the end.

Falling leaves and chilly mornings will always remind me of Mama and as long as I am able, no matter if there are just 1, or 101 people around my table at Thanksgiving, I will cook a whole turkey, just for the smell. The smell reminds me of Mama. Thanks to her I love this time of year and I will always celebrate the holidays like she did, with all the smells and sounds and sights that make them special. Good mothers teach their children well.

Happy birthday Mama, this one is for you.

When The Frost Is On The Punkin
by James Whitcomb Riley

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here--
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock--
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries--kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below--the clover over-head!--
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin' 's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! ...
I don't know how to tell it--but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me--
I'd want to 'commodate 'em--all the whole-indurin' flock--
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

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