Saturday, February 22, 2020

I Was Blessed

My mother has been on my thoughts lately, so for no special reason, I'm writing about her today. She died nearly two decades ago, but she never really left me. A fashion piece, she was not, although in my favorite picture of her, she appears quite stylish.
It's not her birthday, although she'd be a hundred and nine this coming November, so that counts for something. It's no longer Valentine's Day. She was too practical and would cringe whenever my father brought her flowers. She was a product of the Great Depression, after all, and spending money on such an extravagance went against her nature. It's not Mother's Day, the one day she did allow flowers, on corsages, white orchid for her to wear to church in memory of her mother, red rose for me because, as tradition dictated, girls whose mothers were still living wore red flowers in their honor. We only went out to eat at a restaurant once a year. Mother's Day. Even when we traveled we did not eat at a restaurant. We packed a meal or we brought out the Coleman stove and cooked beside the wayside picnic table on site.

She had gone on a cross country adventure of her own aboard a tour bus before World War II and before air conditioning. Each evening the bus stopped and unloaded cots for the women to sleep under the stars. She had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every single day for the three week duration of this adventure, consequently she never served me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Never. I had no idea they existed until I was further up in age.

I might have been deprived of a pb&j childhood, but I wasn't deprived of the wanderlust gene that I was fortunate enough to receive from both my mother and my father. They traveled around the United States dragging my brother and me into the most obscure museums ever invented. When they both retired, they traipsed across Europe visiting places they never imagined they would see.

Their life long goal was to see Alaska. That dream ended when my father passed away unexpectedly, so my husband and I picked up the dream and drove the Al-Can highway in his honor, dragging our two children to the most obscure museums ever invented. A few years later my mother accompanied me on a trip to Alaska where we traveled by state ferry instead of a luxurious ship chocked full of glamorous delights.

She wanted to see more of the world, so she promised her grandchildren she would take each one of them to any place on the face of the earth as long as she had not been there before, which narrowed the list a great deal. Her oldest grandchild, my niece, picked Ireland, and off they went. My nephew chose Greece. My daughter picked the Netherlands. And my son, the baby of the four, chose a safari in Africa.

Last fall my cell phone rang. My younger granddaughter was on the other line. "Granny Gretchen," she started. "You know how Daddy's grandma took him to Africa and Auntie Jenny to Holland?"

Where she heard the story, I didn't know, but "Yes."

"When are you going to do that for us?"

Guess what is in my future! Thanks, Mom. You're the greatest ever. I was blessed.

Catch of the day,



  1. Dear Gretchen,
    I enjoyed reading about you and your Mom. So neat that your granddaughter called after you were reminiscing about your sweet Mother.

    Never Give Up

    1. Thanks for the comment, Joan. My older grand is in the planning stage! Life is good.