Mother and Sons:
In our home we had five sons and no daughters so my wife raised all six boys. Competition for Mom’s love was obvious yet as the boys have grown each considers her ‘his Mom’. I often marvel as I watch and listen to the boys talk about Mom. Their respect for this little lady, who soon had to stand on a soapbox to rebuke them, is tremendous.
The second eldest son was talking to a friend from the army under the window of a two-story home. They were smoking and his mother told them to move away because their smoke was filling her room. As they obeyed the friend said, “You’re not afraid of her are you?” His answer was simply, “She may be small but she sure packs a punch.”
I guess that, like my own brothers each one would have something special they remembered about Mom. She was their confidant when things went wrong and their tower of strength when opposition seemed ready to overwhelm them.
One day as we sat at lunch the news was blaring over the radio of the Israeli six-day war. “Listen boys!” she declared, “We’re living history.”
“No we’re not.” One responded indignantly.
At which the eldest explained, “Not us; them.”
Mom was very careful not to be crude but did not always understand the terms her sons used. She liked to think that she was up to date with their jargon and often used it. Like the time when we had a visit from a very important person from the Church.
Sitting at lunch with Mom’s usually well-prepared meal before us of ‘Roast Beef and Carrots’ Mom asked, “Pass me the ‘mouse-turd’ please. A shocked silence filled the room. I explained that it was a bit of family humor and mom did not know the meaning of the word ‘turd’. Everyone collapsed in laughter at the explanation but mom’s face was red.
Really Mom had a very weak stomach and the boys would often say things to put her off her dessert and then offer to eat it for her. Mom’s excellent sense of humor often turned awkward situations into happy occasions. Her brother stayed with us for a time and at the same time we had a young lady border.
Young Arch was a real tease and at mealtimes would rib our border no end. After a long session of teasing the young lady could take no more, lifting the butter dish she said, “I’ll pay for it,” and upended it on his head. Mom’s response was simply, “He’s always been a butternut.”
Hospitality was another of mom’s Strengths. She was never at a loss when friends dropped in. We had a young friend who seemed to always time it to arrive at a mealtime. Mom would just gather everyone’s plate and redistribute the food as Jesus did with the five thousand. It always seemed to work, we never left the table hungry. Her biscuits and cakes were the best every time and were always in plenteous supply.
I guess that being boys we all had hollow legs and often raided her cupboards. How she coped with five boys and a hungry husband at home, I often wondered. She could not understand why, with her food cupboard thoroughly locked she still lost food. She knew her boys were responsible but could not figure out how they got in.
One day she was at the cupboard with the youngest son. “O dear,” she said, “I’ve left my keys upstairs.”
“No problem Mom.” He announced, and immediately proceeded to remove the top drawer. Once the drawer was out he plunged his arm in and opened the cupboard.
Sprung! Now Mom knew how she was losing her supplies. He was helpful in more ways than one.
These are but a few incidents in a life filled with happiness and love, which naturally surrounded Mom. Today when the boy’s call I never have to speak more than a few words because they really want to speak to Mom and tell her all their news or seek her advice and comfort. Things will never be different for this mother and her sons.
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