‘Shake Hands with Mother Again’Published 9:08am Wednesday, February 13, 2013
If a thorough examination of lyrics in often-sung ballads and spiritual hymns/ballads in the mountains of North and South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee was made, the most prevalent personage being sung about would, most assuredly, be a mother.
Keyed to the more positive views of motherhood in the old idiom, ”the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” these ballads spoke of her unconditional love, protection, teaching, disciplining, praying and sacrificing to provide the best for her offspring.
Even a wayward child that got away from her teaching and sold out to a devious world of pleasure, feeling little remorse for his or her actions, still would listen to a mother’s plea.
In losing a mother, perhaps prematurely, children yearn to reacquaint themselves with her spirit in an especially close or more casual way. The latter type of reunion is the basis for this old, well-loved spiritual hymn/ballad.