Every good southern, country boy calls his mother “Momma”. Our city cousins might call their mother “Mom” but Momma just seems right to us. The sound of Momma conjures up thoughts of home cooked meals late in the afternoon, warm quilts on cold nights, and big hugs at hellos and goodbyes that would almost crack a rib.
In the quest of our fathers to make us into men; Momma was always there to keep it in the bounds of civility when Daddy was playing drill sergeant or jail warden. If we ever went to boot camp or jail she was the one crying through her prayers for God to watch over her baby. Momma’s babies never grow up in her heart they just get a little taller.
“Momma!!” was our distress call like a squealing pig to a sow when our sky was falling. It was amazing how such a gentle woman could turn up her fury when one of her little ones was in trouble. Urban legends are told of mommas lifting cars off of her “younguns”—I never knew if it was so, but if anyone could, it would be a momma.
When we men grow up from saplings to trees, the young lasses that catch our eyes are nothing like Momma. By the time we begin to notice girls in earnest, Momma’s years are starting to catch up on her or maybe it was the stress in raising us that was to blame. We don’t look for our Momma in girls necessary. The females we see are in their prime—no wrinkles, no sags, and no misplaced fat deposits.
After many pursuits that end in failures, we finally find one that will have us. We take her home to meet Momma; not knowingly to get Momma’s approval but to show her we could catch one that will smile back at us. We were too proud to admit it but we liked it when Momma said, “She seems like a nice girl.”
Momma bought a special dress for the wedding and smiled through tears to see her baby boy say “I do.” We were so excited to begin our lives that we were blind to Momma’s pain of knowing that her life with her baby boy would never be the same.
Years pass and we put bundles of love into her arms that were the produce of our love garden. We always thought she was the grandest Momma but right before our eyes she went through a metamorphosis into Grandmomma. Her eyes were now with keener rays of kindness; she burned her switches, turned her time-out corners into play centers, and filled her pantry with all the goodies a kid could ever want. Her “Stop that right now!!” turned into a “Do it again!” Personal Note: My Momma’s time-out-corner was where we went to cry after she peeled the bark on a hickory switch.
If one change was too much for this ole’ southern boy to take; now my sweet little candy drop turned into another Momma. My offspring cried in the night, “Momma!!” When they grew big enough to travel the road alone and call back home, I would hear on the other end of the phone, “Hey Daddy, can I talk to Momma?”
Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mommas
Harry L. Whitt