‘Tis a gift to be simple

Published 7:58 pm Friday, May 12, 2023

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“Tis a gift to be simple’ tis a gift to be free. Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be.”

Mama had the gift.

My mama died when she was 76 years old. I never once heard her say that she wanted anything or wished for something.

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Mama had the gift of contentment — the gift to be simple. She loved home and she never wanted “dark to catch her “away from there.

“When the sun goes down, I want to be at home,” Mama would laugh and say. Home was Mama’s heart.

Her preferred early morning connection to the outside world was the telephone. Daddy called her “Ma Bell” and he referred to Miss Mattie Hughes and Miss Alice Bowden, as Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. Daddy said they broadcast the news over the telephone line before it came on the television set.

We always ate at home for two reasons: Mama was best cook in the world and Daddy was tight with his money.

I can close my eyes and taste Mama’s banana pudding, made with real custard, waiting on the kitchen table and see her fresh blackberry pie with a warm, slatted crust. Mama’s yeast rolls would have put Sister Schubert’s rolls back in the oven. 

Mama’s favorite television programs were the soap opera, “As the World Turns” and the game show, “Wheel of Fortune.”

Mama would laugh and say, if her “soap” was on when the train to Glory came by, she would ask if there was a later train.

Many nights, when “the Wheel” was on, Mama would call and say to come on down, she had made a pot of vegetable soup or had a bowl of turnips left over from dinner. We would sit at the supper table long after we’d finish eating, just talking, just enjoying being home when dark caught us.

Mama taught me about the simple things of life. About the joy of washing dishes together, about lingering at the supper table and that a kindness is never wasted.  Mama taught me that life is about, as Helen Keller said, the things that can be felt with the heart, that simple things can  often be the most meaningful and that time together is what means the most.

So, I don’t have a dishwasher. Anybody that eats at my table, will be handed a dish rag, the way Mama always handed one to me.

And, the conversation at the kitchen sink somehow always comes around to, “Do you remember the time Granny ….?” And, yes, we remember.

I was blessed to have a Mama whose gift was to be simple.

To borrow a phrase from Lewis Grizzard, on Mother’s Day, “Hug your mama today. I sure wish I could hug mine.”