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Here’s a Fresh Take on the ‘Mother’ Song

Mom, then and now. (Dave Spencer Family Archives)

You know that old song “M-O-T-H-E-R?” You know how it goes…something like “M” is for the MANY things she gave me. “O” is for the OTHER things she gave me. And, so on and so on. Actually, those aren’t the lyrics exactly (in fact I think that’s from an old Saturday Night Live episode), but you know what I’m talking about. Well, I’ve come up with a variation.

Since it’s Mother’s Day, I decided to share some memories about my mom using the letters in “mother.”

M

…is for the Marvel Comics she bought me. I was a big Marvel Comics fan–Spider-man, X-men, the Avengers–and most of my allowance was spent on those titles. And my allowance came from Mom. Dad’s paycheck went to bills and vacations. Mom’s was for household stuff and our allowances. I never missed an issue, starting from the time I was 6 years old.

QuadAssassinCustoms/Flickr

I had teachers who scoffed because they weren’t exactly great literature. Well, duh! Of course they weren’t. But they did improve my reading skills greatly. So, forget the awesome storylines, if you must. Comic books were a part of my education. And Mom never cared.

In fact, she never did censor what we read. How many of you read something like “The Shining” by Stephen King when you were 13? I have friends who say that explains a lot.

O

…is for the old buffet cabinet in the dining room. Back in April of 1983, this part of the tri-state area was plagued by heavy flooding. In fact, it was the only time I can remember during grades 1-12 that school was called off because of rain. And, it just wouldn’t stop raining. Water had flooded our street, come up into our yard, and had gotten to the first step of our front porch.

It was at this point that my mother decided we needed to elevate the old buffet cabinet or lift it up and put its legs in something  in case water got into the house. It was an irreplaceable antique and the only thing she was really interested in protecting.

So, she and I lifted the thing up and put the legs in coffee cans. That likely wouldn’t have helped once they started rusting, but it’s all we had. During that process, her back gave out. And she’s had varying degrees of trouble with it ever since. By the way, water never did get up into the house.

Figures.

T

Photo by Dave Spencer

…is for turtles. Lots of turtles. Turtles over here. Turtles over there. Turtles. It seems that most women pick an animal and use it as their decorative “theme.” Every female I know, friend or family, does that. My mom went for the turtles.

She would get different types of turtle statues for Christmas or birthdays. They were everywhere. We even had pet turtles on the strength of it. And that was cool. They were pretty low maintenance. They were pretty small, too.  I guess that’s where I get my tendency to help turtles to the side of the road when I see them while out driving…even if, sometimes, it doesn’t turn out to be such a great idea.

H

…is for the hypodermic needle in the calf’s butt.

Now, I thought for a second that I’d leave that alone and just let you wonder. But, no. It’s too good a story.

When I was a kid, we’d go out west every other year, on vacation, and spend a few weeks with my mom’s family in New Mexico. We’d usually start out at my aunt and uncle’s place just north of Silver City in a tiny little community called Mimbres.

lowjumpingfrog/Flickr

Uncle Charles has always been a ranch foreman so he and Aunt Jo would always live in houses on these great big ranches. One time, my mother was called upon to give a calf a shot. I honestly cannot remember the circumstances. But I do remember riding out to the corral where all the cattle were kept.

This calf was not a happy camper and my cousins had to wrestle it and keep it still long enough so my mother–who got this golden opportunity because she was a nurse–could give it a shot. I believe it was some sort of antibiotic.

That was some sight. And Mom told her nephews to make absolute certain that that calf was immobile before she went anywhere near it. Calamity Jane she was not. Good times.

E

…is for egg sauce. Now this grosses Chad out. But he never has to eat it. My mother submitted this recipe for the St. Jude Cookbook. But I don’t have it handy or I’d include it here. Once I get it I will post it.

Andrea_Nguyen/Flickr

Egg sauce is some of what my mother calls “poor food.” Back in the 1940s, when she was a girl, times were tough and money was tight. My grandparents had just gotten a divorce and my grandmother was scrimping and saving wherever she could. And that meant stretching her food dollar.

One way she did this was by making a gravy and then adding chopped boiled eggs and pouring it over toast. I guess if you’ve never seen it before, it might look a bit unpleasant. But it’s one of the foods I grew up on. And I love it. And, by necessity, it’s cheap and easy. That was the idea, anyway.

R

…is for the rack! No, it’s not as serious as it sounds. In fact, it’s pretty funny.

A long time ago, when my dad would work nights, he’d come in long after my mom had gone to sleep.

wrestlingentropy/Flickr

There was a coat rack just as you rounded the corner to go down the hall. One night, he draped his overcoat around the rack and put his hat on top of it and put the whole thing in the wash room and closed the door.

The next morning, Mom got up and opened the wash room door and screamed like a banshee. Of course, then she realized what it was. But for a second it looked like someone standing in the wash room. She was not pleased. She thinks it’s funny, today. I think it’s hilarious…then AND now.

“R” is also for reminiscing, a great thing to do on a day like today. Every family has funny stories. Tell ‘em. And Happy Mother’s Day.

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