History first: Mothers’ Day was conceived by a lady named Anna Jarvis, who was very bummed out over the death of her own mother. So she sent 500 white carnations to the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Now that was a tribute. President Woodrow Wilson made the holiday official in 1914. Anna also started the tradition that when you went to church the second Sunday in May, if you wore a pink or red carnation, your mother was alive and if you wore a white one, it meant your mother was with God. At the time, Wilson was having trouble trying to stay out of the First World War, so any good publicity was a winner.
The greeting card people went to work and came up with the idea of celebrating not just your mother, but grandmothers, aunts, and close friends. It caught on faster than the First World War. In the end, Anna Jarvis was unhappy to have started Mothers’ Day because she felt it was too commercial. It worked for some folks. The football coach at Notre Dame, Frank Hering, used to make his players write a note home to their mommies each month. That was about 1914. I am not sure they still have that rule today. Go Irish.
When my brother Arch and I were little, Mother’s Day was also the day good little girls got to “Crown the May.” At Corpus Christi Catholic Church, they took a statue of Mother Mary and built an altar outside. Children brought spring flowers to honor the May. It was beautiful with lilacs, peonies, tulips and bridal wreath. We wore pastel dresses, and the boys wore white shirts and a tie. We sang traditional songs to honor Lady Mary. The “best” little girl in the 8th grade got to put a crown of flowers on the head of the May statue. Funny, I never got to do it, kindergarten to 8th grade. Somehow, I never made it. So maybe that is why I am sometimes crabby on Mother’s Day. We continue this today. I have a statue outside my front door, and oddly I am always chosen to put the flowers on for “Our Lady.” My brother says I am going to… make a confession about how it all works.
My son Will, his wife, Kirsten and three young ladies, Caitlyn, Mackenzie and Victoria, treated Bill and me to lunch at El Pinto clear up North 4th. We sat on the patio outside and it was wonderful. Kirsten’s folks, Tom and Anne, plus Kirsten’s brother, David, were with us. We were seated at two tables so as not to have a problem with “social distancing.” The weather was perfect and the food a taste treat.
Our second son, Tom, and his wife, April, with Ellie and Robert, their daughter and son, held a combo birthday party for Ellie and Mother’s Day party for all the mommies that came. More food, pizza from Dions and salad. I thought we would burst. We enjoyed both parties and love our children.
Thank you, Anna Jarvis. Anyone who has raised children, whether you are blood kin or volunteer kin, you deserve a day with cards, flowers and fine food. It is fun for La Familia to get together and have a meal. While we enjoy May, we need to look forward to Father’s Day, the third Sunday in June. No flowers for the guys. We’re talking BBQ and hot sauce. They really are different, aren’t they? Hope you had a great day. Remember, “A house is not a home without a mouse.”
Note to those following the saga of the Mouse: We haven’t caught El Bandido yet. Just to keep you up on the Edgewood Mouse Hunt. Roaring Mouse, picking wildflowers. Out.