During the Thanksgiving season of the mid 1960’s, the basement kitchen of the Coats Grove Church was busy with the activity of children preparing fruit boxes for the elderly. What great memories! I was one of the privileged children and my mom was the woman who provided us with that irreplaceable lesson in giving.
For this project, my mother used her flair for being creative on a budget by covering shoe boxes in aluminum foil. I just adored the results! The assembly line process we used to fill those boxes with apples, oranges, bananas, and cookies was great fun. Once filled, we took them into nursing homes where residents with dementia might call out to us or try to grab us. Mom told us not to be afraid, but to smile and say hello. We learned to work as a team when we sang to the residents and took turns reading them a verse from the Bible. We saw what joy we could bring to others and it gave us purpose in our young lives. It was all because my mom took her time and talents and used them on us and on the people around her.
Last fall my heart skipped a beat when I came across an old picture of my sisters and myself in our Halloween costumes. Even now a smile comes across my face as I close my eyes and remember the ironing board set up in my mother’s bedroom and the sheer excitement of coloring the very fabric that Mom would use to make our clown costumes. She heated the old sheet-turned-art-project with her iron. Then my sister and I would color large spots on it using every color that we had in our tin can of crayons. Once the fabric preparation was done, my mom used her skills at sewing to make the most fabulous costumes in the world! My sisters and I learned to be like Mom: resourceful, creative, and finding enjoyment in teaching our children to do the same. Mom, you have blessed not only us but you have blessed your grandchildren as well.
This story would not be complete without the memories of decorating Christmas cookies. The hours that went into making the dough, baking the cookies, making the frosting, and spreading out all the decorations. It had to be the biggest project of the year. I remember how beautiful Mom’s cookies were. To this day I cannot create anything close to what my mom made. And I don’t even care to. Somehow it would spoil the memory of what an artist she is. She used those artistic talents sometimes to sell decorated cakes as well. But there was no more lasting value in where she used her talents than when she used them for the cakes and cookies she made for her family. Mom, you taught me that motherhood is the most special career I’ll ever have. Thank you, Mom. I love you.
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