I can't count the number of times they fixed delicious dinners for us. Mama was the master chef and Daddy was her assistant. He carefully chopped the veggies according to Mama's exacting standards, "smashed potatoes" or tenderized meat for Swiss steak. There was not much conversation around the dinner table when Mama's food was served. Everybody was too busy wolfing it down.
My niece Becky and my sister, Louise, occasionally picked up a couple of the kids for a few hours. High schoolers Margie and Patty Muller baby-sat the children on many occasions. Margie once baby-sat just a day or two after having an appendectomy.
In the summer Mama and Daddy would often take a couple of the kids to their cabin in Live Oak Springs. Our girls, Mary, Gina and Debbie spent so much time with them that they occasionally spoke English with a Swiss accent. They would sit on the porch at night with Mama and knit or play Chinese checkers with Daddy.
For entertainment they watched Channel 6, the single television channel available in the mountains. They became familiar with "Leave It To Beaver," "I Love Lucy," "Popeye," "Gilligan's Island" and "The Fugitive." Saturdays they liked helping Mama wash clothes with the ringer washer.
Mostly my parents blessed us by truly enjoying the children. They would have huge smiles as they watched the children devour food they had prepared. Their eyes would light up when they were shown report cards or listened to them play some musical instrument at a band concert. Even when they were in high school my kids would hug and kiss my parents whenever they saw them.
As Mother's Day approaches the power of women has reached a new high. Women outnumber men and outlive men by an average of nearly five years. They are the beneficiaries of 80 percent of all life insurance, they spend 85 percent of the family income, own 80 percent of all real estate and possess 50 percent of all stock in industrial corporations. But the greatest power of all which women hold is the power of motherhood.
I recently read that George Washington formed his habits of orderliness and business from his mother.
When Nobel-prize winner Arthur Compton was a little boy, he was given a small telescope by his parents because they saw his interest in astronomy. Some neighbors thought they were impractical to let him sit up all night studying the stars. It was his impractical love of the stars that brought him the Nobel Prize.
An old Spanish proverb says, "An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy." Many a son or daughter, about to tumble over the precipice of temptation to destruction, has been rescued by a piece of mother's apron string that caught on something and held the child safely.
Although Mama died 16 years ago, the things she said and the things she taught me are still fresh in my mind. I miss her every day.