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Remembering Momma In A Special Way
5/6/2015 4:54:31 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch

On Sunday across this nation, mothers will be honored in a very special way for their many contributions.  It’s one of the most profitable weekends for florists, retail shops, restaurants and jewelers.  

While these are more traditional ways of recognizing mothers, there are other ways to show appreciation that do not require money.   What better gift to give your mother than to spend the day with her just talking, cleaning the house or mowing the lawn.  Mothers give so much but receive so little in return.  

They are often taken for granted and abandoned once the children grow up and leave home.  If you don’t believe me, visit some of the nursing homes.  I have had as many as six mothers at one time.  They were not biological mothers but women I looked up to.  When they exit life for the eternal, I simply found others.  I  learned so much from each of them.

My mother is no longer with me.  She was quiet yet a bit feisty.  If you got her dander up, she would throw a shoe around a corner and it would find its target every time.    I don’t know about your mother but Jackie Robinson didn’t have anything on my mom.  She, too,  should have been  inducted into the Hall of Fame  for being able to throw a fast slipper around a corner and striking her target—me.  

Today, that type of action would qualify as child abuse, simple assault or both.   Back in the day, parents meant what they said.  When they said move, you got to stepping immediately.  You tell these modern day kids to move and they take fifteen minutes to get up out of their seats, ten minutes to put on their shoes and thirty minutes to move from the front of the house to the back and that is saying a lot because houses weren’t that big back in the day.  My mother didn’t play that.  No, no, if Lucille Marie sent you for something you had better be back within seconds.  Don’t make momma get up and come looking for you, no sir.  

My momma was one of those high yellow gals.  It ain’t good to make those yellow gals mad.  Those yellow gals are what you call mixed breeds.  A mixed breed is worse than a pit bull with a headache.    You rather cross a tiger than to cross momma.  Momma had a unique relationship with each of her children. She knew our strengths and weaknesses and made sure strengths were acted upon and weaknesses were developed into strengths. Momma taught us to be independent and to give back to others.   

My maternal grandmother taught me many euphemisms.  Like most mothers back in the day, discussions about sex were taboo.  Granny never taught me anything about sex but she always told me to “keep my dress down.” Y’all know what “keeping your dress down” means.  Another euphemism was “if you live long enough, you will get to that too.”  That was in reference to me snickering about her burping from gas.  I was just a kid then; kids think that everything is funny.   

Now that I have lived long enough, I am burping, slurping and doing all of the other things seniors do.  I can remember my grandmother telling my brother “manners will take you where money won’t”.  Translated, it means people will go out of their way for you when you are respectful.  No one wants to come to your rescue if you are disrespectful.

My brother put the euphemism to test when he boarded the city bus without paying.  When confronted by the driver, he responded he had “manners”. He was invited off the bus until he could produce his fare.   That boy didn’t have much sense then and still doesn’t have much now but thank goodness he still has good manners. Don’t act like y’all don’t know.  There is always one in each family.
Unlike my grandmother and mother, who would whip the color out of us, I didn’t have to do much whipping.  Don’t get me wrong, I whipped butts a time or two. I patterned raising my children after how my mother and grandmother raised me.  It sort of reminds me of that old time religion “if it was good enough for my momma, it must be good enough for me.

Today, as I reflect on my mother and grandmother and the many sacrifices they made for me, I am saddened but a better mom because of who they were.

Special tribute goes out to those mothers who have passed on:  Great grandmother, Sarah Robinson; Grandmother, Lula Robinson Williams; Grandmother, Susan Gadson; Mother, Lucille Marie Williams Gadson; Aunts Christina, Mozelle, Jenny, Carrie Bell; Mother-In-Law, Francine Burch; Adopted Mothers, Rosa Mae Latten, Alice Gooding; St. Claire Greene, Pearl Barnett, Louise Ham, Ronester Bobo, Eartha Lee Braction & Julia Gist.

Living, Beatrice Scott, Lillie Hill, Vermelle Jarideau, and  Dorothy P. Mack.  Thank you for caring and sharing and for influencing the outcome of my life.  You have given me what money or education could never buy--values.  Thank you so very much!

Special thanks to my sister, nurse and sidekick, Ethel Greene, who has stuck by me through my illness.  To my sister, Gwen Bobo, who is momma look alike and thinks she is momma, thanks for all that you do. And, to all of my sisters and sisters-in-law, you are the greatest.


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