By Otis Griffin
When it came time to go to church, Momma always said, “don’t forget to clean up good, wash your ears and comb your hair.” I must have used half of the Mississippi River cleaning out my ears. I had a crew cut about a quarter inch long, but it had to be combed. Why? ’Cause Momma said so, that’s why! No sass. Be sure you match your socks and don’t get them inside out which wasn’t a problem as I didn’t have but a few anyway. Back then there wasn’t any turning and twisting around as the shirt collars had so much starch that they felt like a butcher knife was on your neck, so you had to “behave and ack-rite.” A famous term.
Friends, Momma attended every social function; school plays, ball games, church socials that I participated. She would usually sit up front beaming and pointing so that everyone could see, that’s my boy, even if I messed up. I’ll admit that I always looked for her, even though I didn’t want her to know it.
There are some hard times when you first go to high school. You can’t drive a car, so you can’t get a date. No freshman or sophomore girl in her right mind would be seen with a low life freshman, as they dated the juniors and seniors with cars. You are too old to ride a bicycle, so this presented a problem, and you are left out in the cold. Rabbit, Tommy, Emerson and Phil all had the same problem. I thought I’d never get a drivers license, but Momma would just say, “I know Bo, but you’ll be are-ite.”
I look back at the times I banged up my knees, cut my arms, or just got hurt, and would run home to Momma. She would hold me and say, “I know Bo, but you’ll be are-ite.” Once I had some teeth pulled and Momma was rocking me while I TRIED to recover. Often, I would wake up and see blood on the front of her blouse, and she never said a word, just kept rocking and taking care of me. Unconditional. Mommas taught us how to say our prayers every night, where you get on your knees beside the bed and say, “Now I lay me down to sleep”…you know the prayer.
Remember? The doctor told you when he gave you a shot that it won’t hurt. He lied. The coach told you (135 pounds) to tackle the fullback (220 pounds) it won’t hurt. He lied, ‘cause I had a bloody nose and a headache for a week. When you borrowed money at the bank, the banker said, “Aw this small payment won’t hurt you.” He lied.
Also, the used car salesman sold you a lemon that lasted three months before it melted? He told you, “it’s just like a brand new one.” He lied. But the one person that never lied to you was your Momma. Unconditional Love. You whispered secrets to Momma that you would not dare tell anyone. Surely you haven’t forgotten?
Right now you ‘ort’ to ease over, hug and kiss your Momma tell her you love her, and thank her for all she’s done for you. I’ll guarantee that you will feel a whole lot better as it will bring a tear to a glass eye. Otherwise, call her. The first thing she’ll say is, “I’ve been worried about you.” Mommas always worry. Tell her, “I love you, miss you but will see you real soon.” She’ll appreciate it a lot more than you’ll ever know.
Neighbor, if your Momma has gone on to her great reward, pick up some flowers, get on your knees and place them on her grave. Say a little prayer, thanking her for all she did for bringing you up. Let her know that you will try to follow in her footsteps and raise your young’uns like she raised you. Even though the circle is broken, you will be with her one day. She’ll hear you and if you feel some rain—-remember, there are holes in the floor of heaven.
Don’t worry about getting your britches dirty, ’cause yo’ Momma never did. You will be a lot better person, just take the time to thank The Good Lord for a God-fearing Momma. Precious Southern Memories Linger Forever…Glory!
By Otis Griffin