Every year I drive down to plant some flowers, to remember, to talk to Mom. I know she's not there, but that's where I talk to her.
This year, I brought scarlet and purple Petunias...it takes hardy plants to survive southern Oklahoma weather and the almost constant prairie wind. The south wind sweeps up the prairie hill west of the little town, full of memories, especially memories of the last years of her life.
It comes up out of Texas, across the nearby Red River, like she did to live with us years ago, Francis Faye Culp Clark.
Clouds scudded across the sky above the little Jefferson County seat where we once owned the newspaper.
I bring a jug of water for the planting, but for the first time this year, it wasn't needed. Yesterday's storms and those earlier than that have saturated the ground. Creeks were full, water was standing in fields, and when I used the trowel to dig, it sank easily and mud sopping with water came right up.
Today her gravestone is almost 35 years old, and it records her name and the years of her life.
|The Culps--"Sissie, " ET, Mom, Ima, "Son," and Gladys|
And I can’t either, except from too few memories, and looking back through black and white snapshots, and from stories my uncle and cousins have told me.
But I can imagine more now, as I watch my daughter—who looks remarkably like her grandmother--holding and feeding and cuddling and talking to and laughing with and disciplining her daughters and son. I see the eye contact, the touch, the strongest bond on earth, and I learn what I experienced—what every fortunate son and daughter experienced—before they could remember, but not before they could know deep in their souls.
I saw the same bond recently when a tall, 60-something man slowly led his frail mother, by the arm, into a restaurant to have dinner with her, listening to her chat away.
I wish I could do the same, but I can’t. But I will do the best I can. Today we talked about my brother and I, and our memories, and how proud she'd be of her grandchildren and now her great grandchildren, one of whom carries her name.
And we shared a cup of coffee, spiritually at least. Mom always loved coffee. Wish I'd shared more with her when she was here. I finished my cup, and told her I miss her, and I love her. And drove away down the gravel, out the gate to US 70.
I hope you can talk to your mother, face to face this Mothers’ Day. Don’t wait until it’s too late.