Archived Story

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, past and present.

Published 10:00pm Thursday, May 8, 2014

May sunshine has brought out many a lawn mower to battle grass lately. Grass-mowing gets less and less attractive as time passes: I remember the days (when dinosaurs roamed the earth) when we kids either were pushing a mower or riding one when we were old enough, along with tilling, hoeing, hauling brush or wheelbarrow loads of mulch. That brings to mind Mother’s Day: my column from last Mother’s Day is excerpted below. If you still have one living, hug her and take her a hand-full of flowers you picked.
Out in the garden, fragrant irises bloom, delicate petals bruised by weekend rain, but resolute to enjoy their moment of glory. Many of mine came from my mother’s garden: Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and I find myself remembering her among those hardy iris blooms.
My mother grew up in the throes of the Great Depression: her family grew and picked cotton and had a truck farm, working fields with a mule and plow. At Christmas, they were lucky to have an orange. My grandmother did laundry in large cast-iron pots with homemade lye soap. Water came from a spring or hand-dug well. There was no plumbing: just an outhouse, and you always looked before using…just in case a black widow was lurking in the dark.
Over the years, my mother and I had a rocky relationship, but I know she loved me: my innate toughness and love of nature comes from her. We walked many a field gathering creasy greens, watching birds, hunting arrowheads, wandering paths and old logging roads through forests where old gold mines and Indian mounds were.
Her flower gardens were the envy of many: although when I was growing up, it was not exactly my cup of tea to help mow acres of lawn, haul mulch, water, and weed. We kids were not allowed to sit in front of the television all day: although we got to watch Perry Mason, Walt Disney, and I Love Lucy if we behaved, and sometimes cartoons on Saturday morning IF we’d cleaned our rooms.
She knew how to trap rabbits, fish, set a broken bone, shoot a rifle, iron laundry, sew without a pattern, entertain as if she was in the White House, balance a budget, read, crochet and drive like a bullet.
She knew how to find the North Star, had been close to polar bears, watched Eskimo whale hunts, been to the Arctic Circle and watched Alaska’s Northern Lights in Point Barrow. She believed in equal rights. She loved Elvis, Johnny Horton, Johnny Cash, and dancing. When cleaning, she’d hum or sing old church hymns from her childhood, with an angel’s voice. Her temper was Irish as was her red hair. Hickory switches were her weapon of choice with three kids; and she’d make you cut your own. She bought herself a full-length mink coat when I was 12, and loved big gaudy diamonds. She had a compost heap, recycled, loved good coffee and was a voracious reader. As a young woman, she’d worked at a WWII ammunitions plant, and then headed to Macon, Georgia for her nursing degree. Going to Alaska as a young nurse, she left behind the red clay fields of the South.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, past and present, out there that make this world go round.
Saluda Welcome Table is every Tuesday, with dinner served from 5:30 – 7 p.m. in the fellowship hall of Saluda United Methodist Church. All welcome; donations accepted. Saluda Tailgate Market is now open every Friday starting at 4:30 p.m. at the city parking lot off Main Street. May 9 is the first of “Top of the Grade Concerts” at McCreery Park, 7 – 9 p.m. Saluda Community Land Trust can help you utilize dying or dead hemlocks by getting logs made into fence rails, etc. Visit saludaclt.org for more info or call 828-749-1560.
Art Notes: Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the Saluda Arts Festival on May 17. Live music, art, and fun in our small town with a big heart!
Happy May Birthday to Amy Copeland, Corinne Gerwe, Chris Anderson, Mark Jackson, Cary Pace, Lisa Hipp, Trevor Young, Jemme Latell, Paul Marion, Jesse Thomas, Margaret Sease, Elizabeth Baldwin, Chad Baldwin, and Lynn Cass. Please add your name to the list!
Thank you dear readers, for reading this column! As ever, the goal is to make you feel like you’re enjoying a front porch visit and small town life in a friendly little mountain town called Saluda.
You can contact me at bbardos@gmail.com; or 749-1153, visit my website at bonniebardos.com for more writing and art, or find me on Facebook.

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