Sunday, May 8, 2011

10 Things My Mother Taught Me

1. To value family traditions and to pass things on to the next generation - like good family stories, old photos, and the recipe for Grannie's Christmas eggnog. Also the family silver.

2. To plant iris - never too deep, never too shallow and not until July. It seems to work that way.

3. To drink tea - hot or cold, with lemon or cream (never both!) and not all those herb beverages - real English tea - Earl Gray, English (or Irish) breakfast, darjeeling, or assam.

4. To swim. A strong swimmer herself, she saved my life once in the ocean and made it her mission to be sure that I would not need her the next time.

5. "It's only hair." And, no matter how bad the cut or curl, it will grow out! I've needed that one a lot recently.

6. Grammar matters. She was right about that. In this world where good grammar is going the way of Fat Sam, there are still plenty of us hanging onto the old rules, and trying to keep the world a more pleasant place for conversation... and writing.

7. To cook - well, not so well. Mother was an unadventurous cook and kept things simple. Spaghetti was a pretty fancy meal for her. Someday I want to take some classes and become more adventurous and move outside my small comfort zone.

8. To upholster. She would strip a chair down and dive into re-doing it without anything but guts. "It's all in the process," she'd say. "Just start at the back and work to the front, then work your way back." She was right. It works.

9. To wear good (by that she meant "not holey") underwear. You might be in an accident and wouldn't want the folks at the emergency room to see you had on old, worn underwear. I choose to interpret that to include lace as much as possible.

10. To always have some money put away. Mother (like her mother) was adamant about this. I've had a bank account since I was 10 and always a little put aside. She always made sure I had at least one nice piece of jewelry.... in case I needed to sell it for quick cash.

What did your mother teach you?

A very happy Mother's Day to all!