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How my mama raised me

My mama raised me to

Wash my face and brush my teeth before you eat

Have breakfast before the bus comes or figure out how to take it on the bus – yes, even pancakes

That’s how my mama raised me.


My mama raised me to

Say blessing and recite a memory verse before you eat

And don’t repeat the same one each day

And don’t say the same one your brother or sister just said

And definitely don’t say Jesus wept each time.

That’s how my mama raised me.


My mama raised me to

Cook cornbread from a black cast-iron skillet

Mash homemade butter into molasses until it was golden brown and sop it with homemade biscuits

Pour fresh cow milk through a cloth to catch dirt and if a fly is sitting on top of the cloth, don’t worry, it will still make the best homemade butter, cream, and buttermilk

Watch for the bubbling broth in the pot to know when and where to plop the dough for dumplings

That’s how my mama raised me.


My mama raised me to

Eat mush made from cornmeal but disguised as grits, potato patties made from leftover mashed potatoes

Be surprised when you open a plastic container in the frig because it was most likely leftovers – not butter

Despise soup day if it was your turn to wash dishes because you knew it was made from leftovers sealed in every single one of those plastics containers

That’s how my mama raised me.


My mama raised me to

Understand the significance of the anatomy of the dogwood tree

The four petals form the shape of His cross

The dark edging – His blood

The raised center – His crown.

That’s how my mama raised me.


My mama raised me to

Pick wild blackberries and poke salad

Hang clothes on the line in freezing temps, bringing stiff pants inside that could nearly stand on their own

Thread a needle and sew on a button, fix a hem, and “take in” pants or a skirt

Make your bed and pull back the spread just right so you can have enough spread to flip over the pillows and tuck it under

That’s how my mama raised me.


My mama raised me to

Look forward to our church’s Christmas gift of a brown paper bag filled with fruit, nuts, and hard candy

Say thank you with a happy face if Miss Ella draws your name and gives you a bag of rags

That’s how my mama raised me.


My mama raised me to

Make a proper picnic lunch with fried chicken and potato salad and watermelon

Put a cloth on the picnic table at Lakeside Park and share food with the cousins

That’s how my mama raised me.


My mama raised me to

Learn poems like Two Monkeys were Sitting in a Coconut Tree

And songs like the one about a little girl named Kathy who fell in a well

That’s how my mama raised me.


My mama raised me to

Like or lump it when it came to listening to Marilyn Hickey on the radio in her car on the way to work and don’t talk back because her hand was swift

Like it or lump it when it came to watching television because it was going to be Jimmy Swaggart and Billy Graham on Sunday, and Lawrence Welk, Hee Haw, and Mutual of Omaha on the weekends, maybe wrestling and roller derby if Papaw was visiting

That’s how my mama raised me.


My mama raised me to

Love all people

Not make fun of those who have less than you do

Never mention the fact that they are wearing the clothes that you gave them.

That’s how my mama raised me.


My mama raised me to

Keep your legs closed

Do well in school and go to college if you want to

Raise a family and be faithful

That’s how my mama raised me.


My mama raised me to

Love God

Serve in the church as delegate, usher, devotion leader, or choir member or all four if needed

Set up the church Christmas performance in the basement – complete with stage and curtain threaded on a rope

Learn speeches for Easter, Mother’s Day, and Christmas

Stand in front of people and speak talk with your head up

That’s how my mama raised me.


My mama raised me to

Accept Jesus at a young age

Read the Bible

Pray on bended knees beside your bed

That’s how my mama raised me.


Thank you for raising me well, mama.


May 2020



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