Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Parent (11/16/06)
TITLE: Remembering a Loving Parent
By Verna Cole Mitchell
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Mama loved to cook, and meals at our house were a pure delight. The kitchen was the hub of our home, where the forks clattered and the conversation bubbled over with laughter. She took joy in preparing wonderful meals and crowning them with sumptuous desserts. I wish I could fry chicken like Mama did, and what I wouldn’t give today for a piece of her chocolate pie!
Mama loved to sing. I can remember all through my growing-up years how she sang as she went about her household chores. In my mind I can hear the words and melodies of the hymns she sang with such fervor. She often sang solos in church and was well known for her strong, true soprano voice. She played the piano by ear, with a choppy rhythm known only to her. She sang her favorite hymns on tape for all her children.
Mama loved to give gifts. For my birthday one year she gave me a beautiful print of birds. Whenever she would come to my house to visit, she would stand in front of that picture and say, “Look at those birds. Have you ever seen a prettier picture?” Since she loved birds so much, she had honored me by giving me a gift dearest to her own heart. Mama had identified items in her house that she wanted each of her children to get when she died. One day, when I was admiring a ginger jar in her living room, she said, “That will be yours one day, Honey, so you might at well take it now and enjoy it.”
Mama loved to teach. English was her field, and she made sure our grammar was correct from our earliest childhood. From her we learned to appreciate literature.
Mama loved to share her opinion with her children. She was true to all of us. Oh my! Was she ever true! By “true” I mean she told us authoritatively what she thought we should or should not do. This did not change a bit when we became adults. In fact, she had practiced this custom for so many years, she had it down to an art.
Mama loved to worship. Often when I think of my mother, I see her with her Bible in her lap and her head bowed in prayer. She enjoyed going to church more than anyone else I know. She truly did love her Lord.
Mama loved to spend time with her family. Whenever any of us came to visit, everything else was put aside so she could enjoy our company. If one of her friends would call on the phone, she would say, “I can’t talk now; my children are here.” No matter how long we stayed, she wanted us to stay a little longer.
Mama did NOT love to worry, but she was an “A” number one, first-class worrier. She worried about whether she had turned off the iron or if she had locked the door before leaving the house. She worried about what the neighbors or the church people thought. She worried about what had happened or might happen in the home, the neighborhood, and the world in general. She even worried about displeasing God by worrying. Once when she was worrying about what might happen after she would go to heaven, she had some words of warning, “Be careful when you go up in the attic; those stairs are steep. Watch out when you go to the basement; I have some poison stored there.”
Shortly before Mama died, she had surgery for a brain tumor. My two brothers, my sister, and I were gathered around her bed before she went to the operating room. This time we were the ones who were worrying. She said, “Now, children, I want to pray with you” Then she committed each of us to the tender mercies of God. At that moment we truly saw into our mother’s heart. Not one word of prayer did she offer on her own behalf. Instead, she poured out to God her desires for her beloved children. What love!
May God bless the memories of my dear mother—Elsie Neeley Cole.
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