A Mother’s Day To Remember!

 

My Mom and Dad had lived out their first 35 years residing in northern Minnesota… Iron Range country. Following their nuptials in the waning days of August 1948, their honeymoon route to their Michigan destination had spanned approximately 1288km (800mi). However, their long drive wasn’t entirely romantic, it involved an economically time sensitive issue, too. You see, at their journey’s end, the public school bells would soon be ringing… and a newly opened, teaching position already awaited Dad.

Both of my folks had wound up waving good-bye to parents, siblings, dear friends and old haunts. I do believe Dad had made the emotional adjustment far easier… or perhaps he had just been too overworked and under-appreciated by his new superintendent / boss to notice the social vacuum? As for Mom? Basing my observations upon my own first hand experiences, I can wholeheartedly attest to the fact that the mindlessness and drudgery associated with domestic duties usually leaves one far too many opportunities to ruminate and regret.

The sad situation… was (still is) how… from time immemorial… society has devalued teachers. Even when, prior to her first pregnancy, Mom had briefly taught in the same school system as her husband, their combined incomes still meant too little money to pay for what they deemed to be life’s “luxuries”. For example, they simply could not justify the cost of attending far away, family reunions. Hell, they even considered placing a long distance phone call to be living high off the hog. That fully explains why Mom and her family got in the habit of mailing letters to each other at least twice per month… with postage being only 4 cents it was the best way of staying in touch.

Sadder yet… is how such lifelong, monetary woes do tend to chronically persist… even in death. My folks’ need to economize had established a whole new meaning to the wedding vow, “till death do us part”. My Mom and Dad wound up interred in two separate, many miles apart, Minnesota family plots.

The saddest part of all… Since my three decades long retail “career” (sales / management) never had drawn the big bucks… at present… I, too, have experienced, first hand, the need for a barebones, belt tightening budget. To e.g. this further…

It’s now been 30 years since Dad passed on and 15 years since Mom died. And throughout this entire time, I’ve yet to justify taking on the added expense of traveling to pay my gravesite respects.

Of course, I’ve tried to be philosophical about it all. My consolation? Well…

The the light years immensity of our intergalactic universe, in comparison to the insignificance of that interstate distance of 1288km, will likely go unnoticed whenever I’m paying my respects to my folks from afar. To add a bit more spin, should not such remembrances prioritize the warm, qualitative feelings over the cold, quantitative statistics?

And… speaking of qualitative…

Because the very first Mother’s Day following my Mom’s passing on had occurred on Sunday, May 11, 2003, I was feeling strongly motivated on Friday, May 11, 2018 to pay my long distance respects. So, I opted to extend my morning constitutional… to power walk towards the very finest parkland my lifelong hometown has to offer… and I kid you not… it’s located right next-door to the cemetery.

For the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with my past posts, to give you some sense of the splendor of this nature reserve, let me offer up this brief illustrative passage as it appeared in my April 18, 2016 blog, titled: A Sliver of Sunlight…

Though my words won’t do it full justice… we’re talking about 50 acres of rolling terrain, wetlands, nature trails and the calming “white noise” generated by a long winding river. This is the home turf for a diverse ecosystem of flora and fauna… this serenity beckoning all free spirits to… wander beneath towering pines, elms, oaks and maples… traipse through fields of clover… behold a vast variety of wild flowers and groundskeeper planted perennials… hear the buzz of bees… the honks of geese and quacks of ducks… the birdcalls of sparrows, robins and countless other feathered species… eyewitness the occasional visiting deer, foxes and waddling woodchucks.

While some of you might call me spiritual… others could easily dismiss me as delusional. But, as far as I’m concerned, this park is akin to a mystical land where, on several occasions, I’ve experienced some of life’s “Oh Wow” moments.

I even interpret such events to have been my late Mother’s way of communing with me. It’s not just that these events DO occur, it’s how they all require such perfect astronomical and meteorological alignment and timing. These phenomena cannot possibly be mere happenstance. Allow me to relate my most recent experience…

My arrival had occurred twenty minutes into this past Friday’s sixth hour. Since the overnight overcast skies had persisted into the dawn, with no dew on the ground, I had found the conditions favorable for wandering throughout the park-grounds. Shortly before 7 a.m., just as I sat down on my favorite bench and had begun communing with Mom… just as I was facing northward and overlooking the river’s small waterfall… out of the corner of my left eye, all the sudden, I had noticed the pervasive, dismal, grey funk suddenly lightening and brightening up. I glanced westward and upward at precisely the right moment to behold a few stray sunbeams… notice how they had penetrated a very slender break in the cloud deck and woven just enough of their gleaming light to illuminate the treetops… just the treetops. And then?

Within sixty seconds of this light show’s onset, it had ended. Pivoting to quickly face the eastern skies, the thick grey clouded curtains had already closed, which confirmed no encore would be forthcoming. But… at the risk of repeating myself I now remind…

Should not such remembrances prioritize the warm, qualitative feelings over the cold, quantitative statistics?

And, I certainly could feel the warmth of my Mom’s love, everlasting, interwoven within those sunbeams. Most assuredly, this had been a Mother’s Day to remember!

 

 

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