ROSES FOR MOM
By Doc Lawrence
My mother was a child of the Depression and World War II. During my baby days, she was very ill, in and out of hospitals, but somehow managed to carve out a career with one of the South’s legendary retail stores, Rich’s. I still have folks stop me while I’m shopping in Atlanta, asking about her.
With apologies to all the talented chefs I have the privilege to know and admire, my mother could take almost nothing and miraculously create a banquet. Sunday dinner (she never skipped church) was a spread of congealed salads, perfectly seasoned fresh vegetables, fried chicken, roast beef, biscuits and gravy plus cornbread and desserts. Tea was brewed and the table was set with boundless love.
To this day, I’ve never had a better dessert that her lemon custard pie with graham cracker crust topped with billows of soft meringue. And if she owned a cookbook, no one ever saw it.
I learned that Elvis died when my mother called me. Rain or shine, she attended his concerts in Atlanta. She adored the Atlanta Braves. A joke in our family was that mom would not die during baseball season. She departed on a cold December night.
Sunday I’ll make the journey to the cemetery with flowers. Mom is buried next to her youngest son who predeceased her by three decades, an unimaginable pain she carried with unwavering dignity.
The roses will be bright red. The prayer in gratitude. The memories precious. Somewhere from the backroads, I’ll hear her favorite hymn, “How Great Thou Art,” the version by Elvis and the Jordanaires. I’ll be back for sure on her September birthday. Maybe then the Braves will be in first place with a chance to win it all in 2012.
Nothing would make her immortal soul happier.