Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day--Spread Your Wings!

Another mother’s day is upon us. My mother Sally, passed away on October 20, 1992. She knew she was dying but never told me. My father was with her at the end. They were genuine partners.

My father never bought my mother a Mother's Day card. He would say, “You are not my mother.” He did, however, purchase a rose bush for me to give to her. Each year I can remember going to Franks Nursery and picking out a Jackson & Perkins rose for her. She had a green thumb when it came to flowers. Hers were the envy of the neighborhood.

I remember the Sundays when she cooked a huge pot roast. The holidays when (although our house was much smaller) she always had the entire family over. Her pies were legendary. She actually won a blue ribbon for her pies and jellies at the county fair. Much to the frustration of the southern born ladies.

I remember her love of animals. Especially our French poodle Pierre and our sheepdog Michael. She had a horrendous fear of cats.

She was an excellent seamstress. Her creations would rival those of any famous designer. I remember my father taking a second job as a cab driver to pay my school tuition. He would stop by the gigantic news stand in Downtown Detroit and bring home a Sunday New York Times. My mother and I would scan the Ladies pages to find the latest outfits by Givenchy, Pucci, Oscar de Larenta, and other designers. We would then go to the fabric store and find similar patterns and fabrics for her to remake into her own originals.

My mother was with me when I gave birth to my son. She was the very first person to hold him. When my daughter came along 3 years later, she could not wait to sew her darling little dresses and buy her dolls.

Sadly, what I remember most about my mother is her fear. She was afraid of almost everything. For all of her talents, she never spread her wings. She could have. In 1969 she had been gone from her job as head bookkeeper at the Sun Oil Company for 10 years. They were moving into new offices and her former boss called her and asked if she would like her old job back. She thought about the offer for all of 20 seconds, then turned it down. She thought about going back to school. She was sure she was too dumb. She considered writing. She thought she had nothing to say.

I vowed at a very early age to never hide my light under a bushel. I am certain some folks find me a bit too loud and somewhat crazy. Sometimes I am very afraid. I try not to let it stop me. When I look at my 2 children, both of whom put themselves through school, both have good jobs, and both are comfortable in their own skin. I know my mother would be so proud of them. I hope she would feel the same about me.

I miss you mom, I know somewhere in the universe you are spreading your wings.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mother Nature has a bad couple of days.....

Well Mother Nature really did a number on ole Alabama. We had no real damage to the homestead, just a few broken limbs--from trees. We did have to go without power for 4 long (very long) days.
Being the “cheap-o-nista” that I am on the second day with no power, I was required to cook all the food worth saving.

I made lima beans with leftover Easter ham, "baked" all the pieces of chicken and turkey cutlets on the gas grill. My most ambitious project was a wonderful fish stew made out of bits and bobs of fish and veggies. It also used up the milk that would soon spoil.

Fortunately, we have gas appliances which made washing up  a bit of a hassle, but possible. I heated water in my large stock pots on the stove and used that for doing dishes and also filled the guest tub for a very welcome bath.

We did do some recon on the second day. We went to Rome, Georgia which is about 20 minutes away. They were hit quite hard, due to the amount of very old trees which downed a lot of power lines. It nearly made me cry to see trees that had stood during Sherman’s march to the sea, destroyed. The mall in Rome was also closed. Our favorite restaurant had one of its awnings ripped from the front of the building and strewn into the parking lot.

My husband, an avid reader, had purchased “The Grass is Greener Over the Septic Tank” days before the outage from a local thrift store. As we sat each night in the darkness, he donned a “headlamp” and read from the book. We dearly needed some comic relief. I love him.

Our power was restored shortly after 10 pm on the 4th day. I was asleep when it happened. When my alarm clock beeped, I jumped up and ran around like a child on Christmas morning.

We were very blessed to have little damage. I thank God, the universe and the fairies who live under my deck.