We celebrate Mother’s Day once a year when we should be celebrating it 365 days, and yes, one more for Leap Year.

Every mother, who is indeed a mother, deserves no less.

My brother and I are among the fortunate whose mother knew the meaning of “motherhood.” Mom was always there for us, even those times when I wished she weren’t.

Mom was nosy. There was nothing private or sacred about my room nor my brother’s. She pried into everything, through the closet, under the bed, behind the headboard. About the time I figured I had a surefire hiding spot, she discovered it.

Understand, folks, this was back in the ‘40s and early ‘50s; another time, another world. I really had nothing to hide. The only drug around was alcohol. I didn’t smoke. Oh, I’d sneak a cigarette or try a corncob pipe. That sort of thing. But I always got sick.

I have to honestly admit, I never got away with a thing. She always knew when I was up to no good. She threatened, cajoled, warned, encouraged, cautioned, reprimanded, praised, and protected me.

Mom was born up in Montague County near the Red River in North Texas. She had three sisters and four brothers, and when she was still a child, Papa Holley loaded the family on a train and headed west to Childress. There he bought a wagon and team, then proceeded to haul his family and belongings seventy miles north to Wheeler County.

Mom was a farm girl. She graduated from high school when there were only 11 grades. All she knew was farming, and she learned early that life doesn’t go around handing out anything unless you work hard for it.

She was an indomitable woman. Her parents had moved out on the Great Plains by Lubbock. She wanted to visit. We had no car, no money for a bus, so she and her sister took me and hitchhiked three hundred miles. I was only three, but I can still remember them using me to get rides by having me hook my thumb.

The war came; Dad left; Mom carried on, planting corn, harvesting the crop, then taking me and my brother to nearby town to sell the ears from door to door.

She did her best to instill that work ethic in me, and I like to think she succeeded.

Mom never hesitated to do without for her sons. I didn’t understand at the time why she always served herself last at the dinner table, but years later, I realized it was because she wanted to make sure her children had plenty to eat.

You see, mom and dad didn’t like to owe anyone, and if they didn’t have cash, then they didn’t buy anything. One of our staple suppers was a platter heaped high with fried potatoes. Another was cornbread and sweet milk. Oatmeal was breakfast.
When my wife first met mom, our supper the first night was potatoes. Gayle glanced at me and whispered, “Where’s the meat?”

I think back now, remembering the extra jobs she took to buy items she felt her sons needed.

And she was always opinionated, a quirk that frustrated me, but that was the way she was. Oh, we had our disagreements, but they never lasted.

After Dad passed away, Mom, always tough and spirited, found a way to keep going by looking after her great-grandson.

I’ve often thought to myself that if Leonardo da Vinci painted a mother, she would possess the countenance of my own. 

Robert Frost wrote a poem in which he states, “Home is something you somehow don’t deserve.”

I could paraphrase it to say “A loving mother is someone none of us deserve.”

That was mine.