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Dear Cousin,

 

May comes into our hills with her gentle ways, nourishing the earth with tenderness. The verdant hills grow lush and flourishing as she caresses them with a loving hand, and dormant growth comes alive at her touch. May is a nurturer of the earth, a mother to our hills. She coaxes the spring flowers to come forth and bloom, and encourages the woodland growth to spring forth and multiply. It is fitting that a special day to honor our mothers comes in the maternal month of May.

Much has been written about mother; she is honored in poem and song. Yet the love of a mother can never be measured. It is an unconditional love that goes on loving no matter what happens. Children can disappoint a mother, break her heart and try her very soul. Still, her love does not die for that child. From Elbert Hubbard's notebook comes this observation, "Mother-love is the great, surging, divine current that plays forever through humanity. We see it manifest in the dumb animals; in the mother bird who dies rather than desert her young; in the tigress that is invincible when she has her babies to protect. How much men of genius owe to their mothers will never be told in cold words, because love cannot be analyzed, nor placed under the slide."

We are too prone to take our mothers for granted, assuming that they will always be here for us. All through the years, it was Mom that we turned to for advice, for information, for help in any situation. She was a fount of information; knowing a little bit about any subject mentioned. My own children would call her instead of asking me. Now her steps grow slow and halting, and her thoughts sometimes jumbled and fleeting. Her greatest enjoyments now are the great-grandchildren (and great-greats) who play about her feet. They love "Mom-Granny" too, and supply her abundantly with baby kisses and hugs. Proverbs tells us to "Hearken to thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old." How can anyone ever despise his or her mother?

Our roles are now reversed. I give her a shower and shampoo her hair, silver hair that was once light blond. (I think of the multitude of times that she combed my hair into neat braids, and tied the ends with bright ribbons.) I help her dress and tie her shoes (wonder how many shoelaces she tied for seven children?). She thanks me warmly for each thing I do for her, and always compliments me for the food that I prepare. I am afraid that I was not grateful enough for the same things she did for me when I was young, but just took her for granted because she was "Mommy."

A godly mother is the most important person in a young child's life. To learn to pray at an early age; to be taught the things of God from a time even before understanding comes - nothing can ever replace this early training. I am thankful for the way Mom - and Daddy too - taught us a deep reverence and love for God. The example of their lives and the prayers that they prayed for us live on in our lives. Edward Carpenter wrote, "Motherhood is, after all, woman's great and incomparable work." I could not agree more. What greater accomplishment can a woman ask for than to look upon the children she has borne and nurtured, and see them grow into responsible men and women and carry on a godly heritage?

Ann Landers once conducted a survey of parents, and it was astonishing at how many responded that they wished they hadn't had children - and wouldn't if they had it to do over. A lady confided to me last week that she had never had children; she never wanted any. I have no quarrel with those people; it is their business. As for me, I thank the Lord every day for each one of mine. Raising children is hard work; it is hectic and frustrating at times. But they are little such a short time, and there are sweet rewards all along the way. Adult children are a joy as they leave childhood behind and become not only friends, but also comfort and support as well.

My mother has been the nurturer of my childhood, the guide and conscience of my adolescent days, the helper and adviser of my young motherhood days, and has been my friend for years. I am so thankful that she chose motherhood as her career in life, and in doing so, she set an example for the daughters that follow in her footsteps. To all mothers everywhere - I wish you joy and happiness on your special day, and for every day of your lives. May you reap the reward of being a faithful mother as you see your children grow and prosper in the things that count. May they rise up and call you blessed.

Thunderstorms have dominated the weather in our hills for the past several days, wreaking havoc in many places with uprooted trees and fallen power lines. The streams and rivers run muddy and full, but the month of May continues to spread shades of green everywhere.

From lowly blade of grass to mighty tree, from woodland glade to mountaintop, all have been brushed with green from the Master's palette. May is perhaps the most delightful month in our hills. With wildflowers in her hair and the crystal song of the whippoorwill on her lips, she skips her merry way through the sun-filled days. May touches the roses with a crimson blush, sprinkles dew sparkles on the spider webs, and flings a handful of bright butterflies at the sweet-scented honeysuckle vine. She fluffs up the fleecy white clouds to grace the blue sky, and wafts a gentle breeze to cool the baby birds in their nest.

She is so fond of pink - she sends a cool pink sunrise and closes the day with a warm pink sunset. She touches the rhododendron bushes and they burst into pink and purple blossoms. The white ash bushes explode with their feathery white bloom and heavenly scent. Ah, May - you are unrivaled in your spring beauty. I can't bear to waste a single hour of these golden spring days. When the first streaks of daylight awaken the songbirds, and their ecstatic chorus begins, I also awaken. Then when the sun taps a bright "Good Morning" on my window, I can't stay in bed another minute. It was on such a glorious May day that I made a trip to Spencer a few days ago. With a light heart and eager anticipation of a day to myself, I traveled the winding country road from our camp to my destination. There was a balmy light wind blowing, and a few clouds in the otherwise blue sky.

Daisies were beginning to bloom along the roadsides, with their cheery faces bringing back memories of playhouses and daisy chains. The underbrush was full and green, and the trees lifted leafy branches to the sky. My heart was lifted up also in thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father who has made the world so beautiful for our enjoyment. The old familiar line from Psalms kept running through my mind, "This is the day that the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

I parked at Wal-Mart, locked the car, and shopped leisurely. Just as I got back to the car with my purchases, I had that sinking feeling that I had locked my keys in the car. I had. Feeling foolish and embarrassed, I went back to the service desk and explained my plight. The clerk there was quite helpful and called the city police department for me. They said they would send someone out to help me. With my Baskart of purchases, I went back to stand by the car, which was parked right in front of the store, and looked helpless. I was helpless. I could see the key sticking in the ignition, but it was far beyond my reach.

In a few minutes, a police car pulled up with a young officer behind the wheel. With charming courtesy and friendliness, he proceeded to work on the door latch. In the meantime, great, billowing clouds rolled across the sky and the wind increased. The sky looked ominous, as the clouds grew darker.

People scurried across the parking lot and I thought, "Oh, great! All we need is a tornado!" I wish I had taken a survey of the people who stopped to commiserate with me. This is what I like about a small town - the concern and friendliness that are shown to a stranger. The young police officer was no exception - he made four trips back and forth trying to help me. He called a locksmith in another town who told him that a Geo Prism was the hardest car there was to unlock. We knew that by now.

The only other time I remember locking the keys inside my vehicle was when Criss had bypass surgery. I was so upset I couldn't think straight, and went to the security guard for help. He told me he could open it if it wasn't an S-10 truck. It was. After more than two hours and enlisting the help of his friend Eric who worked in one of the garages there, Cpl. Ronald Eads succeeded in opening the back door. He was a young man of perseverance and determination, and went much beyond the call of duty to help an old lady in distress. This is why I love my home in the hills, and the small towns that are scattered here and there across the terrain. Where else can such kind of people be found? When I got home, I had two duplicate keys made. I think I will wear one of them around my neck.

 

Love, Cousin Alyce Faye


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