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Thursday, May 10, 2018

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, OLYMPIA!


Today is my mother’s birthday, had she lived she would be 100-years old! It always seemed to me to be most appropriate when her birthday fell on Mother’s Day! She was a beautiful lady, shy yet tough, she loved her children and expected the same amongst each other. I was the one she most worried about, her only son of her five children.
Jesus was a prophet, he worked the Middle East and became famous, telling parables and making things perfectly clear with miracles and teachings that made an impression on people. Someone even wrote a book called the ‘New Testament' about him.

Mom was a prophet also. She didn't walk on water unless she was mopping the floors, she could turn a fish and loaf of bread on short notice if the company turned up unexpectedly, and while every knee bent and head bowed at the name of Jesus, I kind of ducked and avoided Mom's wooden spoon therapy. She was an amazing teacher, going to great lengths to get a point across, usually four or five laps around the dining room table in hot pursuit, wooden spoon waving menacingly in the air, inches from my head.

Jesus reminded us of the gates of Hell, Mom reminded me in her own way. Jesus was nicer about it.

But Mom had ominous predictions to her teachings. Here are a few of her better ones.

"Wait! Just wait until your father comes home!"

"Wait, just wait until YOU have kids!" She was big on waiting.

"What, do I look like I’m related to the Lighting company? Shut all these lights!"

"You are going to make me bust!"

"How much butter are you putting on that toast?  A whole pound of butter???"

"Whoa, stop wasting, what am I made of money?"

"Mom, how come we don't go on vacation more?"
Mom: “I need a vacation, leave me alone!”

Mom was a very good money manager;
"Joseph, go ask your father for some money for the collection, we leave for church soon."


Being a churchgoer, Mom made me one at the tender age of 6. She had two hands and I had two ears, and so off we went, ear in hand to church. One Sunday Mom ordered me to go to Dad, wake him up and tell him I needed money for the church. Dad gave me two nickels and off to church I went, ear in hand with Mom. Mom had a pious look akin to Mother Teresa without the nice. if she detected an infraction upon her world order someone would pay, me! I decided one Sunday after I shook down my dad for the two nickels I would substitute the nickels with 2 silver buttons. This was a mistake, especially when it came to money for Jesus. Since I had an eye on spending the two nickels on something to eat, the usher showed up, stuck his bamboo basket under my nose and so I released the first of my buttons. Mom watched but said nothing. The second collection came along, and just like the first, I released the other button, right under Mom's nose and once again, she said nothing. In fact, she said nothing all the way home, in spite of my willingness to initiate conversations. That all ended on the third floor in front of our apartment door, where I was dragged inside and reminded all day long that, maybe it wasn't such a good idea!

But the best thing she ever gave me was her love. She felt that I should be better than I am she had faith in the idea and strongly enforced that concept. Later in years, I realized what she was telling me was I needed to be there for others someday especially my children, to give them a good example and lead the way by example. So, I always made available to MY kids 2 nickels!

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