The last 10 years of her life, Mama once said, were the happiest of an extremely happy, fulfilling life.
Daddy had “gone to the Lord” a decade before Mama, for the last chapter of her life, Mama could “Loafers ”and do whatever she wants, whenever she wants.
She no longer had to get up at dawn to prepare a pan of buttermilk biscuits and cook a hearty breakfast with eggs, country ham, grits and sauce. And when it was time for dinner, she didn’t have to cook any more meals. Instead, she either ate a bowl of cereal or fried a pan of cornbread and enjoyed it with a glass of sweet milk or buttermilk.
Don’t make a mistake, however. Mom cherished the years she stayed home to raise four children and diligently care for her husband.
The day before her sudden death, she talked about the 87 years before.
“God was so good to me, ”she said. “All I ever wanted was a wife and a housewife. As a little girl that‘That was all I wanted – grow up, marry a good man and have kids. God gave me everything that I‘I’ve always wanted. “
Mama was good at being a housewife. Our house was always dusted and properly looked after. Her morning routine included cooking breakfast, making beds, washing dishes (she never had any dish water, although I’ve longed for it all my childhood), sweeping floors, and watering her flowers in the summer before the heat in a wave of moisture attacks.
Probably because I witnessed mom’s joy every day‘s housekeeping, I wanted to be a housewife. I think that‘s one of the most beautiful words in the English language. For me this is a noun “Housewife “is wonderful and one of life‘s main professions.
Mama taught me how to do the housework – although you can do it on any given day‘I would probably deny that considering what a mess my kitchen is, with the mail strewn from end to end – how to sew, cook, and bake. (Every time I think of her strictest commandment: scrape every drop out of the bowl and don’t waste anything.)
To my delight, these lessons from mom‘s were added to three incredible exercise bikes, 4-H and FHA (Future Homemakers of America) clubs by our Electric Membership Corporation’s home economist, the wise woman who oversaw housekeeping for the district expansion agency.
All of these women beamed with happiness as they explained gardening, canning, attaching a concealed zipper, customizing a pattern, and knitting a sweater.
Ms. Jean Trotter, Ms. Gloria Ray and Ms. Lydia Daniels Park were instrumental in my learning. Mrs. Ray beamed with joy as she taught us how to fold a fitted sheet by tucking the corners together. I think of her every time I wash sheets.
My grandmother taught me to crochet, but Mrs. Trotter taught me the more complicated art of knitting, while Mrs. Park, always laughing, introduced me to cooking other than southern cuisine.
All three women still invest in me by supporting my projects and cheering me on.
I prefer that they all knew and loved Mama. When we were in high school, we once had two student teachers from the University of Georgia. As the time for her return to Athens drew near, Mom cooked a great Southern dinner and welcomed all of these lovely teachers.
Now when mom cooked to impress, it was really impressive. Fried chicken, roast beef, huge vegetable platters, a pie and a cake.
One of the young teachers, named Arilla, wrote mom a nice thank you letter and took the opportunity to teach our class the importance of writing. “Bread and Butter ”Notes.
“Whenever someone takes you up at home, you have to write a thank you. “
This is my bread and butter note to these wonderful women. Thanks very much.
Ronda Rich is a bestselling author from the south. visit www.rondarich.com to sign up for their free weekly newsletter.