May Is For Mother’s


The day was warm from the sunshine, the clouds puffy in the sky and I was drawn to take the long walk from my Forest home and meander through the whispering pines, my feet resting softly on the pine-needled path leading me to my destination. Mother’s Day was approaching and every year as I had done with my own mother and grandmother as a child, made my way through the towering pines finally reaching an open meadow in bloom with all matter of wildflowers.

Off in the distance stood a long-abandoned cabin built back in the seventeen hundreds. The logs hand cut from the forest to build it spoke softly this May as it did every May since I was a child myself. The meadow had once been its own forest of trees cleared to plant crops by my ancestor’s for their survival as a new country having just given birth began finding it’s way.

In the year seventeen ninety in this tiny little cabin with its dirt floor and large hearth for cooking was born a tiny female child. The young couple named her Abagail, the able American born during what was really two storms, the gale force winds, and rain of a May thunderstorm and the coming manifest destiny of a new nation.

In honor of his lovely bride having worked side by side with him in the wilderness helping build their tiny log home and clear the land for planting, he honored her with a special gift, a white climbing rose bush and whispered in her ear, “a gift for the mother from your lovely daughter Abagail.” He planted it two feet from the chimney so that during the harsh winters bearing down the warmth from the hearth would offer a gift of honor mother to daughter the necessary protection it would need to make it through the harsh winter’s known to come upon this new land they called home.

Abagail thrived under the watchful eye of her mother and learned many things…the greatest of these was integrity, the steadfast adhering to a high moral standard keeping her wise, sound in her judgment in whatever life’s path might come calling once she was grown to full womanhood and perhaps become a mother of her on one day.

It seemed as though every year just before her birthday white roses would bloom in beauty and abundance. Abagail would pick a large bouquet and hand them to her mother, “for you mother in honor of all you do for me”, she would say and kiss her mother gently on the cheek.

“My sweet granddaughter, I have brought you here today in silence as we walked to tell you the story I told your wonderful mother in her youth. I wanted you to hear it from me now that you are grown and traveling on your own life’s path. I want you to remember it and store it in your heart for the next generation, your generation dear.

There is a wave of change that has come upon this Nation some of it’s grand other’s not so much. I may be old but I’m not deft to the goings on and I am of the opinion that mothers are being given the short end of the stick these days. You see dear in my day when my grandmother became old she became even more valuable. The same held true when my mother became old and no longer able to care for herself. In the olden days as your mother’s generation calls them you didn’t see signs that said “A PLACE FOR MOM” or commercials touting how well the elderly were being cared at the pleasure of stranger’s all the while longing for the love of their children, a phone call or a visit even. Families were not separated in those days by states and countries even as they are today.

It has left the wisdom of the old wasted, shut up so as not to be a bother to the busy schedules of these mothers that sat up all night rocking, praying and raising the next generation of this grand Nation. Instead, their mother’s languish in these brick and mortar prisons with pristine cared for grounds filled with flowers, trees, and scrubby little-shared spaces to sleep inside only seen by understaffed healthcare workers of the elderly in their care. Isn’t it lovely the manager dressed in a suit more suiting a wall street broker than an old folks home pointing out the grand entrance and how well decorated the empty social room is with windows large so the light can spill in in this ‘PLACE FOR MOM’? It’s overwhelming and if mom can afford it a daughter or a son will be saying, let’s get the paperwork in process. Mom doesn’t seem to have a say, after all, today she’s only a mom on a walker with a crinkly face living alone in her big house WITH EQUITY.”

“Oh, my grandma did you forget to take your Metamucil today? You seem to be out for bore hunting today; good grief you’ve got a bur in your saddle what’s happened to bring this on?”  “Helen Waldrop, that’s who!”

“Helen your friend that lives in that big house on Walnut Street in town, she responded.” “Yes Helen, I thought I would pay her a visit since I haven’t heard from her in a while and it’s unlike her not to call to chat from time to time.” When I arrived at her home, I saw a big for sale sign in her front yard. There was a real estate agent was standing on the front porch. What’s up with that I wondered so I parked my old five-speed pony and went up to ask him, where’s Helen she lives here what’s her house doing with a for sale sign in the front yard?” “Oh, he says to me her children thought it was time she went into assisted living and I’ve been charged with selling the place would you like to take a tour it’s open house day today for prospective buyers?

Miffed I inquired, “What I want to know kind sir is where is this place is her family has moved her too? “Yes, he answered it’s called Shady Grove about forty miles from here in Clark County.” “Thank you I replied, I know the place. I should know the place it’s on every other minute advertising itself on the early morning news. Soooooo granddaughter I and my pony made tracks to Clark County and I followed the signs right into Shady Grove. “

“Did you see Helen grandma and really, you need to breathe you’re madder than a wet hen right now and I’m worried something bad is wrong.” “Something worse than bad is wrong, her children have put her in just such a place I’ve been trying to tell you about…A PLACE FOR MOM. It gets worse and you may as well here it from me before you hear it from anyone else.”

“Okay grandma what happened?”

“Well, dear I parked the pony and thought WOW isn’t this grand nothing like I’ve been hearing on the news about how the elderly are being mistreated so in I go. That’s when it happened.” “What happened grandma?”

“Darling they thought I lived there and I got fussed at for being in the grand lobby without permission to leave. I tried to tell them I was there to visit my friend Helen but instead, Miss dressed to impress called for one of those bullies they have there to tell me to get back to my room if I knew what was good for me. She put me on the elevator pushed the button for the third floor and said, “Helen you had better not be caught doing this again if you know what’s good for you. Good grief dear I walked the halls until I felt like a plow horse after a long day in the field. Finally, I found Helen sitting in a wheelchair in one of the hallways. She was all alone and crying. “Helen it’s me how’d you get here anyway, I ask her”? She told me her children just got together and decided none of them wanted to be responsible for her so they put her house up for sale, packed her a suitcase and told her how much they loved her and how this was for the best then drove back to their homes.”

“Grandma these things are sad but you know that will never happen to you I know the story of the white climbing rose bush and I’ll take care of you.”

“Did you know dear that a group of what you call yourselves the ‘millennium generation’ at Virginia Tech has come up with a Place for Mom that can be hooked right up to their son or daughter’s home? Oh my goodness it even comes with soft floors in case of a fall that would otherwise break an old person’s hip. It’s like an apartment just for them. It’s all high tech and it’s brilliant. The grandchildren can just walk out the front door of their house and knock on the door of grandma’s house. They go by lots of different names, Granny Pads, etc.. You should google it for your mom. “You do know she’ll be old someday don’t you?”

“Will you be going back to see Helen anytime soon I would be happy to go with you if you like and you can tell her all about it, maybe her children would want that for her?”  We better gather up some of these pretty roses because there’s more dear you need to know other than the story of your ancestors white rose bush.”

My granddaughter broke into a hysterical laughter when I told her the rest of the story of why I didn’t think I would be allowed in to see Helen anymore ah like that was going to stop me. You see I pushed her in the wheelchair back to her room and ask her if I could borrow her cane. I left her room with the cane took the elevator down to the first-floor lobby and waltzed my tiny hinny into miss fancy pant’s office and wacked it right across her fingers. Then I told the X-generation crapper she was just about to sell on dropping off her precious mother if she ever loved her mother to google Virginia Tech for a place for mom. She left just as the police rolled up and hauled me off. Your poor granddaddy had to bail me out of the huscow for assault and battery with a deadly weapon. I had to go before the judge yesterday dear, but when I told him about what happened to me and poor Helen at ‘THE PLACE FOR MOM’ he said, if I promised not to carry a cane and take the law into my own hands anymore I was free to go. As life would have it he needed to close court right away and go pick up his mom, you see she’s Helen’s roommate.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Where is your mother? Are you holding her hand as she held yours? Have you called her, walked with her, listened to her silent cry of loneliness? Have you any idea what wisdom she holds that you and your children need. So what if she repeats herself didn’t you or can’t you remember your youth when she held your hand and explained again for the hundred’s time what this or that was for until you remembered it enough to do it for yourself.

I say to you with mother’s unable to share your home, please don’t be too busy for your mother any given day of the year. Look at her then take a good look in a mirror because in time a sweet old crinkly face will belong to you.

Pass the Knowledge On!


Arlene Switzer Flynn
Arlene Switzer Flynn
ARLENE retired from a long and extraordinary career in real estate, both residential and commercial, followed by ownership of her own mortgage broker company. She is a member of Who’s Who for Executives and Professionals in America. She returned to her ‘”forest” with thoughts of retirement, and a new love entered her life – writing. Her first novel “Buzzard’s Glory” hit the market running, and the sequel is hot on its trail. She also writes short stories of humor, old sage advice and inspiration.

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    • Mother’s endure many things some are heartbreaking others filled with joy. It would be a great gift for you and those you are separated from if you were to keep a journal filled with thoughts, love, prayers and hopes you have for yourself and for your family. Words are powerful when filled with wisdom, joy and humor.