(Not So) Merry Month of May
The best thing about the merry month of
May is this: Mothers have a day all to themselves, to be honored and loved
and showered with gifts.
My own dear mother is gone, and I always
get a little mopey around Mother’s Day. I make it a point to steer clear
of the card aisle. I mute, or skip through, TV commercials. On the “very
day,” my sister and I manage to share a meal that one or the other of us
has cooked (these days, that would finally be me!); yet, we also manage not
to mention the actual reason we’re doing it.
Even though I try to avoid dwelling on
the mother aspect of May, sometimes it sneaks in and whops me upside the
head, so to speak.
It happened three years ago in Wal-Mart.
I had bought myself a cluster of bright pink carnations. I spotted a
sweet-looking little older lady walking past. She reminded me so much of my
own mother that I was instantly swept into that aching, teary place. I
glanced down at my basket and grabbed the bouquet.
I ran up to the lady, a complete
stranger, and said, “Ma’am, you don’t know me, but you really remind
me of my late mother. I’d like you to have these.” I thrust the flowers
at her. “Happy Mother’s Day!” The look on her face was priceless. I
felt wonderful for days afterward.
To my surprise, about a week later, I
found a lovely lavender envelope in my mailbox. It was a thank-you card from
the lady. I forget to remember that my face is plastered in this magazine
and two newspapers I write for; this was another
reminder to strive to be on my best behavior at all times.
The years marched on. A couple weeks
ago, there I was in Wal-Mart again. I noticed another sweet little lady who
immediately reminded me of Mom. She seemed to be
moving slowly and unsurely. I wanted to run up and ask if I could somehow
help her. But unsolicited help from overbearing strangers is not always a
Instead, I lurked about over by the
artichokes and watched the lady. If she falters, I told myself, I will
indeed run over there.
Then, I noticed an older man intently
watching me as I was watching her. I smiled at him. He came up to me.
“What is your name?” I told him, and he said, “I thought so. You’re
the one who gave the flowers to my wife a few years back.” I felt a little
foolish. Turns out, I had zeroed in on the same lady, years apart, and had
The man took me over to his wife and
introduced us. She let me hug her. It was a wonderful way to get a little
teary in the produce section. “I will never forget what you did,” she
said. “That was the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me.” Well, I
won’t forget her, either.
And now, a humorous story where the
tables are turned.
A man shopping in a supermarket noticed
a little old lady following him around. She kept staring at him. She finally
overtook him at the checkout, turned to him and said, “I hope I haven’t
made you feel ill at ease; it’s just that you look so much like my late
son. I know it’s silly, but if you’d call out ‘Goodbye, Mom’ as I
leave the store, it would make me very happy.” After
she left the checkout, the man called out, “Goodbye, Mom.” The lady
waved, and smiled back at him. Pleased that he had
brought a little sunshine into someone’s day, he went to pay for his
“That’ll be $121.85,” said the
“You’re kidding! I only bought five
“Yeah, but your mother said you’d be
paying for her things, too.”
A reader of this magazine recently sent
me a wonderful book she’s written, Oh, Mama. It is Jan Watkins’ touching
tribute to her late mother, Beulah Wright. If you’ve not yet found some
special Mother’s Day gift, this book might be the perfect thing. Jan
publishes it herself. It costs all of six dollars, and you can order it by
sending Jan Watkins an email at email@example.com. And, if your mother is
already enjoying her heavenly reward, just go ahead and treat yourself. You
deserve some comfort in this merry month of May.