Our mother died suddenly on September 15, 2008. There was no warning, no lingering illness, just a phone call while I was at work from Bobby, my sister's husband, telling me as gently as he could that mama was gone. I say our mother because it seems selfish to claim her as mine alone. My sister Rhonda, and my brother Jimmy, and I lost our mother.
I have no doubt that there are many others who on Mother's Day think of loss, memories, and wishes. I hope that you also find comfort in your remembrances.
When we were children, my mother listened to the radio and sang along. My own love of music and my eclectic tastes in artists is linked directly to her. She listened to Aretha and Patsy, taught me to appreciate James Brown and Johnny Cash.
In the summer, when the days were long and hot, we liked to go outside late in the evening, in that lull before dark when the fireflies were just barely visible and the evening breeze had begun to blow a little coolness into the air. My mother would chat with our next door neighbor and my sister and I, and one of our playmates would inevitably form a line and pretend that we were the Supremes, or Martha and the Vandellas, or any one of the myriad girl groups that were a part of popular culture. I wrote the following poem years ago. Thank you mama for giving me a soundtrack to my life.
To Martha, Aretha et. al.
On warm nights my sister and I
danced the streets,
do whopping up and down the block.
Singing “stop” and
“ooh baby love”—
doing a slow soul strut under a summer moon
as the night breathed fire in the step.
The Marvelettes performing "Mr. Postman." Please hit the pause button on the player in the left column prior to watching the video. This is still one of my favorite sing-a-long songs.