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Ode to mom

As many of you know, or should know, May 9 is Mother’s Day. I think we can all agree that Mother’s Day is something that should be celebrated because without them we wouldn’t be here.

I have given my mother various items over the years — most of those items were handmade. I put together a jewelry holder using cogs and gears that I found in my father’s shop and painted it gray because that was the only color of spray paint that we had. I probably should have asked my father, who is an excellent mechanic, if he needed those parts but that never crossed my mind at the time. The piece was placed on my mother’s dresser and stayed there until they moved off the farm.

One year I found an interesting piece of wood, removed the bark, stained it dark brown and decorated it with orange flowers. I don’t remember where I got those flowers but I’m pretty sure I destroyed something else to get them. My mother who claimed she loved my gift displayed it in in our sunroom.



My mother didn’t spoil her children and certainly didn’t spare the rod. We were spanked soundly if we misbehaved and many a wooden spoon and brush were broken on our behinds. But we didn’t hate her because of it because we knew we were bad and deserved to be punished.

Throwing rocks at the yard light until we broke it, climbing up the shop roof and jumping off it, teasing our siblings until they were in tears and fighting each other were some of the behaviors that would lead to spankings. Most of the time, she punished us for doing stupid things that could have hurt or killed us.



We never doubted that our mother loved us but yet we tested her constantly. One time I told her I was running away and she acted like she didn’t care. When I came home shortly afterward she asked me if I’d forgotten my toothbrush.

She loved music and made sure that me and my three sisters were in the school band. I played baritone and tenor saxophone and my sisters played clarinet, French horn and trombone. I think she was trying to form a family band but that never happened.

My mother was very thrifty so for birthdays and Christmas she gave us clothes, typically underwear, shoes, boots and winter coats, all of which we ordered from the Sears catalog.

My grandparents made up for those gifts by giving us toys, which we usually took apart or damaged. I don’t remember any of our Barbie dolls having any hair. Probably another reason my mother didn’t buy us toys.

Today, my mother resides in a nursing home in Cavalier, N.D., and I’m hoping to give her the gift of my company this summer. Like many of you, I haven’t been able to see my parent since the pandemic and I am looking forward to connecting with them. I’m pretty sure for her my presence would be welcomed more than any gift I could make or buy for her.

Let’s all celebrate our mothers give them what they really want — to see or hear from us.


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