One hundred years old this amazing day, and I remember when
You played the piano for us to practice our highland dancing and then
You’d prepare a dinner, a feast no less, for a hungry tribe of kids –
Not all of them yours, but that didn’t matter, at your place they weren’t on the skids.
You loved the opera, the ballet and orchestra. Up in the gallery giggling,
With your own children, at every chance, no opportunity missing.
You followed the football and tennis and even the boxing had you intrigued,
And every summer the champions displayed before you their style and speed.
There were family holidays – not very grand – but the beach had a charm for you.
Just a wee little caravan next to a shade was a great place to watch the view
Of breakers and swimmers, the summer parade of the families enjoying the sun.
A board game (a new one each year), and an ice-cream sufficed for some wonderful fun.
Or perhaps you’d invite some family friends to join you down on a farm
Where the children could see how the animals worked, and experience the fearful alarm
When one of their number decided to try and cross the yard of the bull
While the others panicked lest his red hair should bring on an attack. What a fool!
But it didn’t! So all was well that day. In the evening we entertained
Ourselves with a children’s mock wedding, and dressed for the parts in a serious vein.
The bride had red hair that had challenged the bull and come out of the ring none the worse.
The groom had her curls tied neatly back. A small pastor read chapter and verse.
You studied the medical books with your son whose skills for children were honed.
You sewed the exciting new styles so your daughter was always in fashion enthroned.
You saw they learned music and starred in the choir of Australia’s gifted sons.
You took them to church for the truth about life. They embraced it, every one.
You laughed and you giggled, it all seemed such fun, but you never complained of the pain.
There was loneliness often, and sickness as well for a child. You struggled to gain
The understanding that most would help, and feverishly hard you worked.
But no-one then knew the enormous task that you set, and never shirked.
Your work has paid off, for your children went out to extremely successful careers.
You missed them though, as they all left town for the bigger cities. Your tears
Of joy for them were tough for you, but never a tone of complaint
Was ever known to pass your lips. In this matter you were a saint!
Of grandchildren now, and great grand-children there is an army who love their gran,
And visit as often as possible, coming from many a faraway land.
And this is the day they have all gathered here to give thanks and to celebrate
A century powerfully, humbly lived and loved. An unlikely date!
And here you are walking with not so much as a stick to help you along!
Still cooking your roasts and serving the afternoon teas in the home alone,
With your photos and letters and memories dear of people who’ve left you now,
Still welcoming friends and loving an outing - a walk in the park - just slow.
You were not my mother, but your mothered me with your gentleness and your care.
I remember the nights that you’d drop your bridge cards on the table to come and share
With me, whenever I wandered in from my nights out, wanting to know
How everything went, and if I had news, or some shopping I’d like to show.
I’ll never forget that you asked us to come to the showground to sit with you,
And hear the evangelist coming to town with his trained and prayerful crew,
And how you sat, and quietly prayed that I’d learn to trust Jesus that day.
My Mum broke my heart, but you changed my whole life. You loved me, and taught me to pray.
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