In My Mother’s House


In my mother’s house, there were few strangers and always room for one more. Every Saturday morning was cleaning day, and Sunday morning (& Sunday night and Wednesday night) was church, no matter how tired you were or what a devil you had been.

My mother’s house was all about sitting up straight, cleaning your plate, and learning to act like a lady. (You ARE going to wear a slip with that, right?) My mother’s house was cornbread, butter beans, and salmon patties–the poor man’s crab cake. It was sweet tea and minding your manners, please and thank you, and don’t tell your grandmother I let you get your ears pierced. It was also Dottie Rambo, the Speer Family, Bill and Gloria Gaither, and Mull’s Singing Convention. My mother never cussed, but she was known to s-p-e-l-l a cuss word once in a while. Somehow that didn’t count.

My mother’s house smelled of Pine Sol on Saturday and Pot Roast on Sunday. My mother’s house was a place where we were likely to linger over a dinner table for hours while Mama and her friends told one story after another. They were long stories, so you figured “might as well get comfortable” while they went “all the way around their elbow to get to their wrist,” as she says. But in Mama’s house, you learned to appreciate the beauty of a tale well told.

My mother’s house was about being there for others, walking with them through their joys and sorrows. It was about not being “ugly” to others but learning to look for the best.

My mother’s house was the place where I was trained to understand: This is what love looks like. It is the place where I saw a model of a life devoted to God and to family. In her house, I know that even though I drive my mother crazy because we are so different, she loves me just as I am. And in her house, I learned to believe that I could accomplish anything with faith in God, with belief in His ability to work in and through me, and with the love and support of family.

What a gift. Thank you is not enough, but it is the least I can say. I love you, Mama. Happy Mother’s Day!


© 2009 L. Kay Johnson, L is for LaNita. All rights reserved.


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