October 22, 2006
Originally published June 27, 2004
I went to visit my mama today.
When I arrived at her house, nobody was home, so I went next door to see my 93 year-old grandmother. Her birthday was in May, but I kept forgetting to bring her the present I bought back then, so I gave it to her today. Better late than never. We had a nice, long talk, during which she kept trying to get me to eat something, anything--- just EAT.
My grandmother comes from the old hillbilly school of hospitality that says any guest who visits must be FED, or it's not good manners. I told her that I wasn't hungry, but I probably should have eaten a bowl of Cheerios or something to make her happy. Even if it's just a piece of candy, you're supposed to eat SOMETHING when you go to Mommie's house.
Mama came home from church about an hour later. She was wearing a bright pink dress and a wide-brimmed hat. She looked better and healthier than I've seen her look in a long time. I believe the reason she looks and feels better now is because she stopped going to all those doctors who were cutting slices out of her, injecting her with lethal chemicals and probing in places better left unprobed.
Mama walked two miles yesterday. She's back to doing her morning walks and that's a good sign. My mama ain't happy being bedridden and too weak to get around. She's always been a fiesty wench.
Mama sang in the church choir for years. After she got sick, she was too weak to go to church, so the church came to her. People brought her food, offered to clean her house, take her to the doctor or just come and sit with her if she needed company. I am not a religious man, but I truly am touched by what the church has done for my mama.
That's Christian Spirit in action.
The preacher came to visit a week ago and asked mama to come back and sing with the choir. Mama said, "I've got no hair left on my head, it's too hot to wear a wig, and I would feel ridiculous being up there with the choir wearing a hat."
The preacher said, "If you will come and sing, everybody in the choir will wear a hat." Mama took him up on that promise, and guess what? Everybody in the choir showed up wearing a hat that Sunday. Mama thought the entire affair was hilarious, but she appreciated the gesture.
It got even better this Sunday. Mama walked into the church and discovered almost EVERY WOMAN in the congregation wearing a hat. And these were not ordinary hats. Those wimmen made them out of collanders, with kitchen utensils dangling off them, out of paper bags, out of whatever they could find, and the more ridiculous the better. It was like a clown show out there.
But the message was clear to my mama: There's no shame in wearing a hat to church, and we love you even if you ARE bald. I'm not sure who teared-up worse when she told me that story--- me or her--- but I had to put my sunglasses on in the shade.
I love you, too, mama. Hat or no hat.
All content © Rob Smith