Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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May 9, 2014

Mother’s Day time to celebrate the greatest

Athens — Mother’s Day is Sunday.  Obviously, it signals the celebration of one of the most important human beings, if not the absolute most important, that we as humans experience.

According to an online site, the modern holiday of Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in Grafton, W. Va.  She then began a campaign to make Mother's Day a recognized holiday in the U.S.

Although she was successful in 1914, she was already disappointed with its commercialization by the 1920s. Jarvis' holiday was adopted by other countries, and it is now celebrated all over the world. In this tradition, each person offers a gift, card or remembrance toward their mothers, grandmothers, and/or maternal figure on Mother's Day.

The website indicates that various observances honoring mothers existed in America during the 1870s and the 1880s, but these never had resonance beyond the local level.

I can remember so much about my mother, though she has been deceased since 1994.  She was totally beyond description, as far as telling how truly wonderful she was.

She was born Esther May Turner in Coshocton, Ohio in 1927. Over the years she learned  so much from her own mother through all the Great Depression years, and also what it was like to lose her mother’s son in World War II.

My mother learned so much through both happy times, and through deep tragedy.

My mother’s father divorced her mother, and remarried, traveling to Portland, Ore.  My mother went to Oregon to visit him, and live in that town to help him with whatever he needed.

While she was there, while not having a car, she hitchhiked a lot. At a time when things were perhaps a little safer, people were  still very careful.

My mother was walking down a road one night, and my father-to-be stopped in his pickup truck to give her a ride. She was very hesitant, then noticed two apples roll off his front seat onto the ground near her.

She picked up the apples, put them back into the truck, and for some reason, thought this ride was the one to take.

My father was in the U.S. Army, last stationed somewhere in the state of Washington.

Eventually, they were married in Washington, and moved back to Texas, near the farm where my dad grew up near Kaufman.

That was quite a change for my mother.  And, also for the Riggs family.  They had never met anyone from the Yankee states, and none with “that accent.”  And, for sure, never a woman who smoked, just like the men did.

I hear-tell my mother went into my grandparents’ home, lit up a Chesterfield, like she was doing something as innocent as looking out the window. She did this right in front of my Grandfather Riggs, of all people, who was king of the country palace.

I wasn’t born yet, but I hear-tell all my uncles backed up significantly to avoid whatever would happen next.  And the women found a reason to go into the other rooms of the house.

My Grandmother Riggs reportedly went to another room, and looked around the corner to see what would happen next.

Reportedly, my mother offered my grandfather one of the Chesterfields, and he reached out and took it. Surprisingly, from that time on, they were best of friends.

Sounds something like the mother in “Giant,” where Rock Hudson brought his new wife to meet his parents in rural Texas.   The results were about the same.

My mother made me proud to be her son.  But isn’t that one of the prime duties of either parent?

She tried to follow the Word of God, and guided me the same way, as much as she could. She made attempts to teach me to be truthful, be fair and do the right thing.

In my opinion, she was the model mother.  And, if everyone would have done the things she did, and would have had the attitudes she had, this world would have become a better place today.

I love you, Mother!

Jeff Riggs is Associate Editor of the Athens Daily Review.


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