Today is mom’s birthday. She will be 91 years old. She is living with my brother Darrell and his wife Cindi, 7 ½ hours away from me. I wanted to take a little time to write a bit about my mom…my way of celebrating her birthday.
If I had to describe my mom to the public today I would say a lot of things, but they must understand that she has always been the introvert. I didn’t know about the word introvert when I was a teen, but now I understand. She was so quiet, but when you ask her questions…back a few years ago when she didn’t have Dementia, she would be talking a lot. She would tell a lot of her past. She would talk about Pa and his work. She would talk about the sewing projects…the sewing projects for her were sewing patches on pants or mending something for the family.
Now she is super happy to be sitting by herself outside enjoying the weather or reading or watching TV. Don't think she has to be super social now. She never was in all her lifetime.
Here are a few things about my mom and her life and times. I kind of smile, for this sounds like a eulogy, bit of course it isn't. Mom will probably live to be 100. She says she wants to get a letter from the president. :)
Mom did most of her mopping on Saturdays…after the baking was completed. I remember her making buns from store bought dough. She made the bread some times, but it was just as easy for her to pull that frozen dough out of the freezer Friday night to be ready for baking on Saturday. Her bread buns for holidays were always perfect.
She made pies…and her own crust. Apple was the favorite. She had that Tupperware mat that she would lay on the table to roll the dough. I loved the end when she would take the extra dough and get out the cookie cutters. She made her own version of elephant ears.
Don’t forget the doo-dads. We never had store bought donuts from Walmart. Mom would take that frozen bread dough and stretch out little pieces just a bit smaller than coffee cup saucers and place them in hot oil and flip them over after a few minutes. Oh…they were the best. She would drizzle powder sugar frosting on the top. Of course she had a plate full for all the boys…and me.
Cookies didn’t last long at our house. Her favorites were peanut butter, chocolate chip, oatmeal, and honey cookies. The honey cookies were the best in my opinion.
Mom liked to garden. Pa would get the soil ready. My favorite garden spot was right out back of the house just beyond the clothes lines. It was the smallest of the garden spots, but the soil was the richest, blackest, and softest as I remember it. Pa’s favorite sandwich was leaf lettuce and radish. Sometimes there would be a slice of baloney in there, but without was just perfect. We would spend a lot of time out there in the evenings helping mom pull weeds.
She was so good at growing beets, and spinach. I’ve tried to grow them. I’ve failed so many times. They just didn’t produce like mom’s. It must have been that rich black soil.
Of course she was all about harvesting and putting up for winter. We would go to the orchard down the road where one of our relatives of the past used to live. When I was young there were remnants of the house…the basement stones that didn’t quite come above ground level. It was a dump spot…there was all kinds of equipment stuff and cans and bottles in there. (This spot is all bulldozed over now). Around this small dump spot were the apple trees all in rows. There must have been a dozen trees in that area. I was pretty good at climbing up and giving the branches a good shake. Paul and I loved to climb. It was one way we could help. We helped pick up a couple bushels full at a time. When home we would wash them, and then start in on the apple peeling. Mom was the fastest with the paring knife that I have yet seen, for sure.
Mom made at least 30 quarts of apple sauce. She also froze some apple pieces for pies. She couldn’t freeze too many, though, because the freezer was full…or would be full of chicken, beef, pork…whatever Pa butchered at the time, but that story is for another time. The applesauce went to the basement shelves along with all the other canning work. This is what she loved to do for her family. I do believe it is one of the things that have made her so healthy at age 91. I can never remember her going to the hospital for any ailment…just to get the laser surgery on her cataract. I’m thinking it was because she loved the spinach and the beets!
Mom is still playing piano. I love that…even with her dementia. She remembers. She can read the notes. What an inspiration that is for me. She used to play every day at home with our old piano. And she would sing in her alto voice. J At church she would always sing the alto part. The alto range is where my singing voice thrives too.
I think the best thing about mom is that I know she loves the Lord. Her faith shines through as it has all these years. She would always bring up the Lord in her conversations; she would quote a verse or even a passage. She knew Psalm 91 by heart.
It’s kind of hard to talk to mom on the phone now. It’s a bit frustrating to her…can’t hear what folks are saying. She loves letters though. Cindy says she reads a letter over and over until it’s about in tatters.
I can tell that my mom misses Pa. He is the one she talks about most when she does talk. Her husband. It is very sweet to me. As I close this piece of writing I praise God for my mother and for her example to me…Especially her example of faith in the Lord. She was that Proverbs 31 woman.
Happy Birthday, Mom.
I do love you and think of you often.