Sunday, February 3, 2013

Week 5 of 2013 - Remembering Mom

Leah Anderson Smith – February 3, 1928 – January 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom! Today, you would have been 85. I think about you everyday. I suppose that should be no surprise. You taught me to do so many things that I can't help but think of you when I am doing them.

Sewing, which I do a lot...makes me think of you. I remember sitting on the black wood chairs in Romeo in front of the sewing machine. I remember that I wanted to learn to make doll clothes for my doll. I thought sewing little things would be easier than sewing big things! Funny how a young brain works... Took you a long time to convince me that sewing small things were much more difficult than larger things because they are so small. So we started with a doll blanket for my doll. A nice square piece of left over fabric would work for this job!

Cooking makes me think of you. I still make many of your recipes, just like you did...dumping a little of this in and a little of that in...I don't remember if you even owned measuring spoons when I was a kid...... I will never forget that first grilled cheese sandwich you let me make for myself. It was by far the best grilled cheese sandwich I ever tasted! And your trick for fixing a slightly over done grilled cheese sandwich....I have used it many time just scape the burnt part off with a butter knife and it is a good as new!

Doing dishes... everyday when I do dishes, I think of you. I remember standing on a small stool in front of the sink and barely able to reach into the dish pan to wash dishes... (or play in the water.) At that time I was too young to realize it was work! It is one of my first memories of me and you....Pam and Sue went to school and I had to stay home because I was not old enough to go yet. You let me do dishes after lunch. It took me a long time but it sure was fun. It became my daily chore. I usually needed a change of clothes by the time I was done because my whole shirt would be wet. You know what, Mom? I am still like that today. Rarely does a day go by that I don't splash water down the front of me when I am doing dishes even though I have a new deep sink. When I do, I hear you..”Jan, be careful, you're getting water all over!” And I remember when I was a few years older and now I had to do dishes and it didn't seem like too much fun. There was always something else I would rather do. Remember it?  All three big girls standing in front of the sink, arguing over who had to do what!

“I don't want to dry!”
“You washed last night!”
“Stop splashing me!”
“The washer has to rinse too!”
“ MOM!”

I am sure that you remember the time well! Today, washing dishes has become a bit of therapy. Gives you time to remember, time to think, warms your hands on a cold day and it warms your heart. When “the sisters” are all together, we all join in. No yelling, mostly laughter and fond memories.. No fighting over who gets to wash or dry anymore. It has come around full circle!
Every time, I open a jar of canned tomatoes. I remember the year that you helped me learn to can. We had moved into the house on South Almont Ave...our cracker box house. It was all we could do to afford the mortgage much less buy food so I needed a plan B. Plan B was the need to learn how to grow food and preserve it so we had something to eat in the dead of winter. I helped our neighbor, Lyle, with his garden. By mid summer I realized that we would have a bumper crop and I was going to be very busy! I bartered and traded vegetables for fruit and you taught me to preserve what was left. You came and spent at least one afternoon a week with me showing me how to preserve everything. We bought a small used freezer and what did not go in jars, went in the freezer.

We think of you every time we sing Happy Birthday. You would beg Dad to sing the birthday song nicely and that was Dad's and our cue to sing it even more off key. And it warmed my heart on your 80th birthday when you proudly sang it with us off key and in front of all your friends!  And just so you now, our method of singing has caught on in other Smith families too!  So when you hear a loud ruckus you know we are just singing Happy Birthday to you!

We think of you every time we go camping as each one of us tries our best to poke the fire just like you did. When the fire died down camping, you were always able to get one of us to get it going again. Once we had our fireplace in Romeo, I do not remember too many winter days that we did not have a fire in it. You were always able to get Dad or one of us to light one. In the years that  you spent Sunday afternoons at Sharon and Micheal's,  in the winter, Michael would start a fire for her.  You did not start them but you sure enjoyed them! 

So today Mom, I am thinking of you again on what would have been your 85th Birthday. 

So her goes in my best electronic off key birthday song.....

HaPPy biRThdaY 2 U, haPPy birTHDay to YOU, HapPY BirtHdaY, Dear MoM!

hapPY BiRtHdAy 2 YOU! 

Happy Birthday!

Love, Jan