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Mother's Lessons

Happy Mother's Day.

I lost my mother to cancer in 1987. Seldom is the day I don't think about her.

I was the middle child of five boys. I would have preferred my parents to stop having children after me, but they never liked most of my opinions. There were four years between my oldest brothers and then again four years between myself and my younger brothers. For four glorious years, I was my mom's baby.

I don't remember much from those four years but they must have been great, just look at how cute I am now. I'm sure Mom was doing her best to shower me with affection while trying to keep the older boys in line. Being a few years younger than the older boys and then a few years older than the younger boys, I might have gotten away with a few nefarious activities while she was watching my brothers.

Oh. I wasn't that bad. The truth is I didn't get away with everything. Like when I was in the fourth grade, the grading system consisted of a number system #1 equaled excellent, #2 was average, and #3 was below average. I came home with my report card and gleefully told Mom, "Hey, I only have three #3's." Mom wasn't as impressed with my report card as I was. When she was done teaching me with the aid of a belt, I never brought home a #3 again. I know, sounds a little rough, but it was just the incentive I needed.

That wasn't the only time Mom used a belt as a teaching method. There was a time she asked me to water her pansies. (The woman loved flowers, especially African violets. We had a house full.) I think I was about six years old. We were going to be headed to town in a few minutes and she was in a hurry. "Take the garden hose and water the pansies. You have on your new shoes, be careful not to get them muddy." The dirt around the pansies began getting wet, the more I watered the more the dirt looked like the consistency of a milkshake. I couldn't resist. Mom told me not to get my shoes muddy. She didn't say anything about my bare feet and pants. I took off my shoes and socks and dove in. Mom had the car loaded with my younger brothers when she saw me knee-deep in her flowers. I thought I was safe because she was in a hurry to get to town. Turns out conditions changed and she was now in a hurry to teach me something. It didn't do any good to run, that woman could run.

The belt wasn't the only thing Mom was good at. She was good with a baseball bat. Oh come on, she didn't hit us with a bat. She taught us how to hit a ball. Dad was usually out of town building roads and bridges. Mom spent the summer hitting baseballs over our backyard fence, That woman could hit!

Mom loved tennis, although I don't think she ever held a racquet, that is until she used her "Green Stamps" to get me a racquet. (If you don't know what "Green Stamps" are, well I don't care, You are too young to be reading this (construction language) anyway. Go burn a book, hippie)

Mom signed me up for tennis lessons and made sure I could get to every lesson. Mom didn't drive until after I was born. She depended on her younger brother to drive her and my brothers around. I don't think my brothers, older or younger had tennis lessons, just me. I told you I was her baby. I paid for a summer of lessons that I repaid her by winning the parks and rec tournament beating that Water-Pic kid. (You know who I mean if you lived in my town.)

OK, I need to finish this up, you guys need to be with your families today, but one more story. In my late teens, my parents bought/started a construction company in my hometown. They invited my older brothers, and later my younger brothers to join the family business.

It was Mom who told me, "You know Monner, maybe you better go work for another company." Now I write stories on the internet. Thanks, Mom. I love you.

Happy Mother's Day, buy your Mom some yarn.

Our crazy lives!



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