Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day...May all your roses be red and your catfish be big!

Mother's Day is tomorrow and flowers are a popular gift. So this seems like the appropriate time to talk about the traditional language of roses...and catfish!

Did you know that since Victorian times, the different color of roses had different meanings?

For Mother's Day, at least in the South, it is traditional to a wear red rose corsage on Mother's Day to signify a living mother, and white roses to honor a mother who is no longer alive. My mother passed three years ago in February and there are several lovely white buds on my rose bush out in the yard this year. I think they will be full blown by tomorrow.

When she passed my sister went through the ancient suitcase that held all her pictures and divided them up three ways. One for each of Mama's three kids...bless her heart, that couldn't have been an easy task. I know because I haven't touched that white plastic box she brought over here until today. I went looking for a good picture of Mama to put on this page since I wanted it to be a tribute to her. I figured I'd find enough that I could pick and choose among them but oh, no, that's not what I found at all.

What was important to Mama was in the box....baby pictures of her three children taken at a time when film and development was not cheap and Mama was a single mother. My father thought the grass was greener on the other side of the fence so she raised us on her own. There were pictures of birthday parties when Mama said, "Sure you can bring your whole school class to the party. I'll make the cake bigger." Pictures of every single phase of my life and then pictures of my kids and grandkids lives. Birthday parties, graduations, spring concerts, proms, weddings, grandkids births and when they graduated from kindergarten and then it started all over again with each generation.

There were letters I'd written to her more than forty years ago still in the envelopes, newspaper clippings about when I got married, when the kids were born and when I finally published my first book. I even found an envelope that said "Lemar's diaper pins and shower" on the outside in her handwriting. He was her first grandchild so she tucked away his little blue diaper pins and the shower invitation for me, knowing fully well that as often as I moved, I'd never keep up with them.

  But the only pictures of Mama were those with her and the grandkids and dear hearts, to put one of each of those on the post would take all day because she had eight grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and half a dozen great-great grandkids. The ones who did not get their picture on Ma Essary's story? Let's just say there'd be hissy fits thrown across Oklahoma and Texas. And Mama would haunt my dreams if I "slighted" one of the kids.

After I wiped away the tears and put the lid back on the box I started looking at the framed pictures of her in my house.

There's one of her when she's about seventeen and one of her back when she was still healthy and full of spit and vinegar. One of her with her three kids taken on the last birthday party that we gave her...and she got to invite the whole class...which was everyone in the nursing home that she'd checked herself into when she couldn't take care of herself any longer.

 But the one that took my eye was the one of her and the catfish.

Lord, Mama did love to fish! And believe me no one baited Mama's hook, took the fish off the hook or cleaned the catch when she got it home but Mama. And no one in the world could fry up catfish, hushpuppies and fried potatoes like she could either. She caught this big boy on a rod and reel and it took her a while to haul his bad boy butt to shore. It wasn't easy but once Mama set her head to do something...well, not even an enormous catfish on a ten pound test line argued with Mama.

Now the funny story that goes with this picture. The year that Mama caught that fish, she had dozens and dozens of copies of the picture made and put them in her Christmas cards (Remember...I did say that she loved to fish!) and her three kids got framed copies of the picture in their presents that year. Any time anyone mentions a picture of Mama, we all say in unison, "the fish picture!"

Mama taught me to stick with it if I really wanted something. She taught me to live on a shoe string if I had to and give thanks for the shoe string. She taught me to love unconditionally but she never, ever taught me to love to fish!

So here is Mama with her 28 pound catfish...Merry Christmas everyone...and Happy Mother's Day Mama! I'm not wearing a white rose this year because in my world you will never be gone.

To celebrate Mother's Day, I'll give away a signed ARC copy of Cowboy Seeks Bride. Mama would have liked it because she loved old western television shows! And the hero and heroine do go fishin' in a pond in the story! So leave a comment to get your name in the red boot for the drawing....which will be held tomorrow night.

30 comments:

  1. Ahh, Carolyn, what a beautiful Mother's Day post. It brought tears to my eyes. I lost my mother to breast cancer a few years back, and she was a best friend to me. I still wish we could go on trips together. :) Happy Mother's Day!

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  2. Wow! Should've known you'd have a catfish-catchin' momma! Great post, and Happy Mother's Day to you and all the moms out there in bloggerland!

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  3. Terry...thank you! Sometimes I still go to the phone to call her for a recipe or just to talk.

    Cheryl: Oh, yes, and she liked to go huntin', too. She was a crack shot with her little rifle. I never liked to do that either. I think it had to do with chiggers and sweating! LOL

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  4. I loves it! When my kids were younger we went fishing all the time! I have plenty of pictures like this, but none this huge! I still love my mom, but squabbles in the family have kept is apart for many years. Not by me though. My mother in law caught a huge fish like this years ago and when she had it almost to the bank the line broke. Nope she didn't lose it, she jumped in and wrapped her arms around it! I wish we had a picture of it. It weighed 28 lbs on the bathroom scales!
    Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there!
    Thanks for the Giveaway. Carolyn is one of my favorite authors and I would love to win!

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  5. Awesome post Carolyn! And my what a huge fish!!!! Most of the time when we went fishing when I was younger it was my dad and uncle who took us. Though I can remember one time my mom and I went fishing in Tishamingo. Just the two of us. Not sure how that happened since I have two sisters. We didn't catch anything but I enjoyed the time with just the two of us. Happy Mother's Day and enjoy your weekend!

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  6. Zippy: Thank you for reading my books! Mama cooked that fish and invited everyone to her house to help eat it. We had a wonderful time and made great memories!

    Sher: I was raised in Tishomingo so I betcha I know right where y'all were fishing! Memories sure are great!

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  7. What beautiful memories of your Mama.We were the lucky ones to have such wonderful mothers.I miss mine everyday.My mother always kept her pictures in an old suitcase too, which I still have.I loved hearing about your Mama's love for fishing and then to be able to see her pictures put us right there.Thank You Carolyn for a wonderful look in your Mama's life

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  8. What a great post to prepare us all for Mother's Day. Thanks so much, Carolyn.

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  9. Wow! That is quite a fish! I have only been fishing twice...and shocked my brother by actually catching a fish (in the dark, no less)...I am sure that everyone on the lake knew I had caught it when I started yelling...what do I do now? Fortunately, they came out to show me how to get it onto the dock and we ate it the next day! Thanks for sharing your lovely story and the wonderful pictures.

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  10. Oh Carolyn, you have me sitting here crying and then laughing when I saw the last picture!

    I loved the story of your momma and know she is just so proud of you, sitting up there looking down knowing she did right by you and her family.

    I called my hubby in to check out the "fish pic" What a gorgeous catfish!

    Have a wonderful mother's day!

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  11. What a wonderful post and tribute to your mother. I just love that picture of her and that catfish! Sounds like she lived a full and wonderful life, so sorry for your loss. Happy Mother's Day to you and all the mothers out there.

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  12. Thank you for a wonderful story.

    Happy Mo. Day to all the moms out there. Your mom would be proud of the tribute. Mine is 93 and I am happy she is still around.

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  13. Lovely story. Thanks for sharing.

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  14. Happy Mother's Day! I am not one to fish, but I sure love eating them! lol =)

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  15. I haven't been fishing since I was 15, but my uncle sure woulda been proud of that fish of your momma's! I never quite caught my uncle's love of fishing but I did catch my mom's love of reading!! Because of her, I've been reading since I was 3! :)

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  16. Pat B- Reminds me of years ago a neighbor went fishing and dropped off a catfish knowing my Mom loved fish. Only problem was it was still alive and Mom couldn't watch it breathe its last. So it went into the bathtub until next day when it was returned to the water. Happy Mother's Day!

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  17. What a great post and great pictures!! She sounds like she was a beautiful lady. Happy Mother's Day to you.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

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  18. Tears in my eyes reading the story of your wonderful mom, but a wonderful story.

    Happy Mother's Day to all.
    gmapeony@yahoo.com

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  19. Kathy, Mama was one of those women that when her feet hit the floor in the morning, the devil said, "Oh, crap she's awake."

    LSU Reader: When I realized that my day to post was the day before Mother's Day, I was so excited that I could share Mama's fish picture with everyone.

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  20. Elf: We sure enjoyed that fish when Mama cooked it! She always knew just exactly how hot to get the grease to make it just the right crispiness.

    C.H. Admirand: She was so so proud of that catch. And a 5x7 of the picture is framed and out for the whole world to see!

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  21. Sheryl: Mama was living a full life even in the nursing home. They voted her Mother of the Year and had a big party in her honor a couple of years before she passed.

    Pat L: That is just great to still have your mom when she's 93. Make lots of lovely memories with her!

    bn100: Thanks for stopping by!

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  22. JPeezy: I'm in the boat with YOU! I never did learn to like fishing. When we went as a family, I took a quilt and a book. But I didn't have a bit of problem eating them after Mama cooked 'em.

    Kelli Jo: Yes, ma'am. Mama could go fishin' anytime she wanted. I'd gladly stay home and read a good book!

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  23. Pat: LOVE that story of your mama's fish!

    Martha: Mama had to be tough to raise three kids by herself but she had a heart of gold and that made her beautiful!

    Pat L: Thank you...she was quite a lady, let me tell you!

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  24. Such wonderful memories. I love the fish picture lol. I am extremely lucky to still have my mother with me - she turned 90 last year. Other than her short term memory not being great (neither is mine lol) she is in wonderful shape. May everyone have a wonderful Mother's Day, even if it's in memories!

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  25. What a wonderful story. My mother didn't like to fish, but she could cook up the ones my father caught. She loved to read (I'm not sure if I rubbed off on her or she influenced me), and we had so much fun discussing the books we read. I always shared all my books with her so she never ran out of reading material. I lost her almost ten years ago and I still think of her every day.

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  26. Catslady: I just hope at 90 that I can remember my name. Happy Mother's day to you and your awesome mother.

    Barbara E: That's a lovely, lovely memory to have about discussing books with your mother. What fun you must have had!

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  27. oops forgot my email (just in case lol)

    catslady5(at)aol.com


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  28. Thank you to everyone who has commented and Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there in cyberland!

    Mr. Random has drawn a name from the famous red boot. He says person number 3...Zippy...is the winner of a signed copy of either an ARC of Billion Dollar Cowboy (June) or Cowboy Seeks Bride (August). Congratulations Zippy...if you will send me your snail mail address to ccbrown66@att.net and your choice of the two books, I'll get it in the mail!

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  29. What a sweet post. I feel so lucky to have my mom, who is currently in Paris! Lucky lady!

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  30. Holy WOW! That's one helluva fish!

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