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Southern Raisin': You don't have to search for a mother's love

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Mother’s Day is one of the greatest days to be celebrated.  The best kind of love is unconditional love that your momma always gave you.  When you were born, the first person to hold you, pet you and feed you was your momma.  All that squalling and carrying on you were doing was because you wanted your momma to feed and take care of you.  Even though you were only a few minutes old, you knew who to call on.  You never saw a new born calf running around looking for his daddy.  No sirreee, they wanted their momma, and as always, she was right there. Ever since I can remember, momma knew what to do, handled any and every situation that came up, but I didn’t realize it at the time.

Growing up in the South, country boys have some hang-ups, but mommas know what to do.  I was about four years old and I had this little blue tricycle that I rode; the love of my life , I was riding around on the back of it practically all summer.  Well, Lynn got him a big brand new, red high-powered tricycle, all shiny, and my love jilted me for him.  When she departed, I ran home crying to momma all tore up, just knowing I was fixing (Southern for going to) to die right there on the spot.  As always she would hug and kiss me, and say her favorite words to me: “I know Bo, but you’ll be are-ite.”  During my life I have heard that expression about two million times, but you know she was always right!  Unconditional love.  How do mommas know to say all the right things then and now?

Friends, momma always made sure we had clean clothes every day, and plenty to eat, fixed just right.  Do you realize that no one on the earth can fix your meals just like your momma?  I don’t care where you go.  Eggs, fried chicken, cornbread, peas, gravy, biscuits and everything she ever put on the table was “just right.”  She would turn the plate of chicken around where my favorite pieces would be right in front of me so I wouldn’t have to hunt for them.  Forget the liver, as I can’t eat it today.  She would fix it more ways than Carter had little liver pills, but I could smell liver cooking four miles away.  I would threaten not to go home, run off and join the circus, even suggested going up North, but she knew that wasn’t true.  

When momma called us for supper, as soon as you hit the back door for 300 years, she’d say, “Don’t forget to wash up.”  See, I found out later, she didn’t want me to get sick from all those germs.  At suppertime, we all ate together and talked about everything as the radio was turned off.  We didn’t have a television, cell phones, beepers, CD players or a telephone, so we had to talk to each other.

Back then, as soon as the table was cleared, daddy would go in the living room to read the Press-Scimitar, while Momma inquired if I had any homework.  She knew the teachers always sent us home with all our books.  Well, she would sew, while I studied. 

Neighbor, momma must have worn out 75 needles, and used 90 spools of thread trying to keep me in clothes.  But she was always there to help me answer the questions ‘cause I had to make good grades.

Southern memories of a momma’s love ... Glory! To be continued...

Otis Griffin is the author of the book “Southern Raisin.” He was born in  Charleston, Tenn., and attended Rosemark Grammar School and Bolton High School.

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