Mollie Daniel, expecting me, 1944
For Mother’s Day this year, I’d like to add a few more recollections of my mom to the collection — a tribute really — that I wrote two years ago. If you didn’t read it back then, and if you’d like to know something about the wonderful lady who brought me into this world, and then brought me up, I encourage you to take a look at it now. (Last year’s Mother’s Day “contribution” was not about my mom, but about my daughter-in-law, Jodi, and my grandson, Jonah. It should be good for a chuckle if you’d like to read it again.)
What follows are just a few items that slipped through the cracks as I was pulling together my previous homage to Mom:
- The first item is as much, if not more, about me as about my mom. It’s the perfect Mother’s Day memory, because it’s about flowers — one of the most popular gifts on this holiday. One spring day, when I was still pretty young — I’d guess around 6 or 7 — I was in our yard admiring the beautiful flowers that Mom had planted all around our house — daffodils, tulips, hyacinths. Well, the flowers were on three sides of the house anyway, because in the front we had big rhododendron bushes. It was the afternoon of an ordinary weekday, not Mother’s Day, but it was perfect springtime weather and the flowers, planted right along the exterior walls, were in full bloom. On the spur of the moment, I went all around the house, harvested every last flower, then marched inside and presented Mom with a hefty bouquet. I didn’t get quite the reaction I expected. She was pleased at my extravagant gesture, of course, but I was taken aback by her near-simultaneous expression of disappointment that all the flowers she’d put it to beautify our house had been mown down in one fell swoop. It would be a whole year before anyone could enjoy them again. For me, this was an early lesson in unintended consequences.
- This next memory is of a very nice, imaginative thing my mom did for me. If I’d thought of it two years ago when I wrote my previous Mother’s Day post, I’d certainly have included it among my memories of Mom’s big heart. It happened when I was in the seventh or eighth grade — the time when budding teens acquire an interest in the opposite sex. I would occasionally be invited to parties at friends’ homes, the kind where the highlight of the evening would be a game of spin-the-bottle. Well, Mom had an idea for a theme for a party at our house. A full lunar eclipse was coming up in a few weeks, and it was going to happen early on a Friday or Saturday evening. Moreover, my dad, wishing to nurture my interest in astronomy, had not long before bought me a hand-held telescope — small, but powerful enough to magnify things 40 times. So Mom threw an “eclipse party” for me and my friends. Yes, we played spin-the-bottle too, and we danced the jitterbug, but we also took turns going outside to look at the eclipse through the telescope.
- This final recollection pertains both to food and Mom’s great sense of humor. In the previous tribute I wrote, I mentioned her creativity in using leftovers as the basis of fresh new meals. The particular incident I cited, however, was not about her culinary wizardry, but rather about a flop — a rare occurrence for Mom. More typical, however, was one of the staples of her repertoire. She’d combine leftovers with veggies and noodles, creating a sort of chop suey. Only she didn’t call it that. She gave it her own name: Chop Fooey! It was invariably a hit! Thank you, Mom, for Chop Fooey and so much more! Love you and miss you!