May 11, 1986
The nuns who taught us in the grade school saw to it that we learned early and well the importance of Mother’s Day. Like we always did at Christmas and Easter, we hauled out the crayons and drew a special card for mom.
We spent so much time with the crayons, doing those cards, that it’s a wonder we learned to read and write and do our ciphering. But we did, and the cards were, in our minds, works of art.
I remember sister Mary Chrysostom best. She was my teacher in the 4th or 5th grade. She would draw a sample card on the blackboard and we would copy it as best we could.
She would come around and help the less gifted, and that’s one of the reasons I liked her. She spent a lot of time with me, so my card always came out looking pretty good.
The cover would have maybe a hill or two, some birds, a tree and a flower, and above it or below it or across it would be the word, “mother.” I was best at drawing hills and the sun. I was fair with the birds, terrible with trees and flowers.
Inside were two things. One was the message, expressing our love for mom. The other was called a “spiritual bouquet.” It was a list of prayers we had offered – or we were promising to offer – in mom’s behalf.
Even way back then I was into deficits. I’m afraid I padded my bouquet.
We would fasten these crayon-covered sheets together with colored string, or brass paper fasteners and then, at the proper time, present the card to mom.
She would express genuine pleasure at the total effort, an equally genuine surprise at the numbers button being promised. She never said anything, but I probably wasn’t fooling her.
I probably never did fool her. I know I didn’t the day a couple of other foolhardy adventurers and I skipped school to go downtown and hang out for awhile, and then go to a special high-noon baseball shootout between the Oklahoma City Indians and the Tulsa Oilers. Continue reading