By Doris Meredith
Mother's Day is approaching, and Mike will buy me flowers. They will remind how beautiful our yard always was. Do you remember the corner you dedicated to Oklahoma wild flowers? When we drove to town you would make Daddy stop every time you saw a wildflower you didn't already have. Daddy's face would turn grumpy after six or seven stops. Not that he ever said anything; he was a very reserved man except when he and Uncle Charlie argued every Sunday after dinner. Did you know that what we called dinner is called lunch now?
Your wildflower garden had Indian paint brush, black-eyed Susans, and, I don't remember what else. We had morning glories on the west fence, honeysuckle that draped the side of the garage, straw flowers that surrounded the propane tank. But it was the rose garden in the corner of the yard closest to my room that I loved the most. No hybrids, just the old-fashioned kind of roses that smelled so sweet and were covered with thorns.
Do you remember the summer afternoons when we would play board games--Checkers, Chinese checkers, dominoes? We always played on a card table set up in your bedroom, because in those days when there was no air conditioning, your bedroom was the coolest room in the house.
My daughter Megan always liked to play board games, too, but you know that, don't you, even though you've never met Megan in person. She likes to sew, to, even has a sewing machine, and makes gifts for all the ladies in the family. She is even going to learn to quilt. I never much cared to sew, never liked so-called handwork of any kind. But I'm glad Megan is interested in sewing. It gives her something in common with you.
My son Matt, but you know him, too, even though you've never met him in person either. He was a kind boy and grew up to be a kind man. I visited him once before he married. He had two cats and would rescue any little critter they caught. He even rescued lizards. He's married a nice girl you would definitely classify as a lady. You always wanted me to grow up to be a lady, but I never did. I never learned to play the piano either, despite how much you wanted me to.
As I write this letter, so many memories come back: the Christmas Santa Claus brought me my doll house, Daddy reading me the comics every Sunday; but most of all, how you always listened to me when I read you one of my stories, even though I hadn't learned how to write. You gave my scribbles all the careful attention you would pay to a play by Shakespeare. You were my first critic, but you never criticized, you encouraged. Encouragement at just the right moment is the most precious gift a mother can give.
One of my last and most poignant memories is that Sunday morning, Mother's Day, when we cut two roses to wear to church. It was the custom, to wear a rose on Mother's Day. A red rose if your mother was still living; a white rose if she was not. I was ten years old that May morning. I don't remember what dress I wore with my red rose, but I remember what color dress I wore that Tuesday in September at your funeral. It was yellow. And I was still just ten years old.
I still remember you, Mama, and I still miss you.
D.R. Meredith is an award-winning author of nineteen novels, both mysteries and historical, and numerous short stories. A fan of mysteries since a childhood obsession with Agatha Christie and Rex Stout, D. R. Meredith has written three mystery series set in the Texas Panhandle, a little-known area of the state even to other Texans. For more information about her books visit http://highwatermysteries.wordpress.com/