2014-10-23 / Editorial Page

Dear Hearts and Gentle People

Words of wisdom

My mother has been gone for two months now and the hurt is as fresh as ever. Almost everything reminds me of her…sounds, smells, phrases. Every time the phone rings I expect for a second or two it must be my mama. And oh, the times I’ve wished I could pick up the phone and call her to tell her all my troubles. She put Dear Abby to shame in the advice department.

I find myself repeating things my mother used to say. Just wait; if you haven’t, there will come a day when you will look in the mirror and your mother will be staring back at you. There are no words to say how very much I miss her. Riding by her house sends a dagger through my heart and I have to look the other way.

I’ll never forget all my mother taught me, nor will I ever forget her own repertoire of sayings that she used, to try and teach her girls how to become strong, responsible, kind adults.

Concise, catchy phrases fraught with meaning. Not even Henny Youngman has as many one-liners as my mother did.

I don’t know how many of them were original with Mama but I suspect she learned quite a few from her mama, who learned them from hers, and so on. You get the picture.

The scary part is this: sayings my mother used on me and that used to grate on my nerves something fierce are now coming out of my own mouth….and at a rapid rate. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m proud to be like my mother. Not a few times have I been told that. It makes me smile.

Don’t laugh dear hearts, if you haven’t looked in your mirror and seen your mother staring back (and sooner than you think, you will) it’s inevitable. All girls become their mothers and all boys become their fathers. I think it’s the law.

Sayings, or mom-isms as some call them, change from generation to generation so don’t be surprised to hear yourself tell your son one day, “Just look at girl’s skirt! It’s tighter than the bark on a tree.” He’ll then look at you like he’s sizing you up for a straight jacket.

My mother used to tell my sister and me, “This room looks like the Wreck of the Hesperus!” Never once did we ever think to ask what a Hesperus was, we just knew that by the tone of her voice, it wasn’t good.

And yes, one fine day when my boys were about six and three, I lit into them with the same line, “Get back into that room. You’re not going anywhere. Your room looks like the wreck of the Hesperus!”

Only this time kid number one says, “Mama, what’s a hex-paruss?” I had to look it up and guess what dear hearts, now you will, too.

All of you have your own set of mom-isms, I’m sure, and they probably sound a lot like mine. Here are a few that have been handed down by my family to me:

If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?

But I’m not everybody else’s mama, I’m your mama!”

Don’t pick at it, it’ll get infected.

Don’t use that tone with me.

Don’t roll those eyes at me.

You’d better wipe that smile off your face or I’ll wipe it off for you. (Say what??)

Close that door. Were you born in a barn?

They’ve got more money than they’ve got sense.

I would never have talked to my mother like that.

Are you going out dressed like THAT?

Don’t sit so close to the TV. It’ll ruin your eyes.

Don’t make me stop this car!

Nobody ever said life was fair.

There are always people worse off than you are. Try to help them.

I’ll treat you like an adult when you start acting like one.

I didn’t ask you who put it there. I asked you to pick it up.

Wait until your daddy gets home!

Bit dog always hollers.

You WILL eat it and you WILL like it.

You didn’t learn that in THIS house!

Look at me when I’m talking to you.

It’s no use crying over spilt milk.

If it had been a snake, it would have bitten you.

How do you know you don’t like it if you haven’t tasted it?

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

I hope you have children who act just like you.

So it’s raining. You’re not sugar; you won’t melt.

Beds are not made for jumping on.

Don’t go out with a wet head. You’ll catch pneumonia.

Enough is enough.

Well, people in hell want ice water, too.

Because I said so, that’s why.

Always wear clear underwear in case you’re in a wreck. And a few more that always bring a tear to my eye:

You will always be my mama no matter how old you get.

I am so proud of you.

I just want what’s best for you.

Call me collect, anytime.

Be good.

Remember who you are and where you came from.

The Bible says a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.

I love you and I always will.

I’ll meet you at the Pearly Gates. I’ll be there, Mama. I miss you and I love you, always.

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