This year, behind our church, someone planted a flowering plant that I have not seen in over 70 years!  I recognized it right off!  Way back in the 1930’s, as a teenager, I planted a packet of  “old-fashioned garden” seeds and as they grew my mother identified them for me — cosmos, hollyhock, marigold, sweet William, and the plant by the church which I think she called “balsam.”  The flowers are tucked up close to the stalk, amid the leaves.

When I googled “balsam” there were pictures of a number of plants, none of which looked quite right.  But I did learn that those long-ago plants are called “antique flowers” and there is a online catalog of those old time flowers with really beautiful flower photos.  Remember zinnias?  When is the last time you saw a zinnia?  Or a common cosmos, for that matter?

I got to thinking about all the things my mother taught me besides flower names – like how to say the German alphabet (at age 5), how to know which shoe goes on which foot, how to dress so things are not inside-out and backside-front, how to sew on a treadle sewing machine, how to thread a needle, and on and on.   Is it not good of God to put us on earth with a mom and a dad to watch over us?  Dad worked and Mom was at home so she did a lot more teaching.   How to make cream of tomato soup so the tomatoes don’t curdle the milk, how to say please and thank you, how to cross the street.   How blessed is anyone who comes to earth with a half-way decent mother!

One day while we were looking at the garden,  Mom told me she had never deliberately hurt anyone.   I had no trouble believing it.  I cannot remember her ever hurting me in any way.  I remember only truth and caring.

In those days money was scarce, I was the oldest of five,  and I had an idea that my Dad was  looking forward to my graduating from high school and getting a job.   I was awarded a $100 scholarship to the local junior college and when I told Mom I wanted to go the college she said, “You’ll have to speak to Daddy.”  How well she knew the family dynamics!  I did, he said OK,  I ended up with a Bachelor’s,  and never was a financial boon to the family.   Note that I wasn’t asking for help to go to college, just for permission!

Mom taught me the first prayer I ever learned:

  • Angel of God
  • My guardian dear,
  • To whom His love
  • Commits me here.
  • Ever this day
  • Be at my side
  • To light and guard
  • To rule and guide.

The current politically correct version, of course, reads “To whom God’s love, commits me here.”  For some odd reason, it is deemed not proper to refer to God the Father with a masculine pronoun.   Go figure!  Next we’ll have to stop saying “Our Father.”

This, I guess, is a tribute to mothers.   I’ll top it off with a link to Danielle Bean’s “I sob because I care.”




A Christian who does not have Our Blessed Mother is a Christian orphan. — Homily, Fr. John Perez

Do whatever He tells you.  — Mary, John 2:5