By Alex Berger
I was walking down Northern Boulevard the other day when I saw a woman get off the bus. I noticed that her blouse was pulled up on one side. As she came closer, I called her attention to it. “Lady,” I said, “you are exposed.”
The woman looked down, then looked at me, and exclaimed, “Oh, my goodness! I left my baby on the bus.”
One morning, little Beryl went into her mother’s bathroom and remarked on the size of her tummy. “Well, dear, you see, Daddy has given me a little baby.”
The girl rushed into the bedroom and cried, “Daddy, did you give mommy a little baby?”
“Er, er, yes, I did,” stammered the father. “Well,” said the toddler, “she’s eaten it.”
May 11 is Mother’s Day. It is a holiday celebrated annually on the second Sunday of May. A few mothers will request that they not be sent any Mother’s Day gifts. They don’t want to be reminded. A mother’s work continues even on Mother’s Day.
Many a mother on Mother’s Day will receive calls from their darlings asking, “What’s for dinner?”
This year, I hope the mothers answer “takeout.”
“What kind of takeout?”
So don’t call your mother this year to ask what time she is making Sunday dinner. Take her out. Despite it all, mothers cheerfully appreciate their annual, one-day recognition.
Did you know that the celebration of Mother’s Day was first observed close to a century ago through the efforts of Anna Jarvis? She thought that her mother, as well as all mothers, were very special people. She marveled at their role and the many things they do.
Anna grew up in West Virginia in 1865, shortly after the Civil War. There was friction between brothers from the same family who fought on different sides during the war. Anna’s mother wished there were a holiday called “Mother’s Day.” She firmly believed that brothers would be better able to make peace with each other on their mother’s special day.
Anna eventually began a campaign to carry out her mother’s wish. Regrettably, Anna’s mother died before the wish could be fulfilled.
Anna spread the idea for Mother’s Day, and in May 1907 she arranged a special church service in honor of all mothers. The services proved so popular that the following year many Philadelphia churches held such services on the second Sunday in May. By 1911 there was not a state in the nation without some observance of Mother’s Day.
Anna wrote to the president and other world leaders, encouraging them to make Mother’s Day an official holiday. In 1914, with Congress’ official approval, President Woodrow Wilson finally did. The second Sunday in May (as she requested) was designated “Mother’s Day.”
Since that time, Mother’s Day has become more of a celebration than an observance. Children of all ages give cards and gifts — usually candy, cake or flowers — to their mothers. I am certain the candy and cake is offered so they will have much larger mothers to love.
The remarkable growth of Mother’s Day in a relatively short period of time can be attributed to the fact that everyone has a reason to celebrate it. Everyone has, or had, a loving mother. Despite the many jokes and comments to the contrary, we still appreciate all that mothers do for us; therefore, it is only fitting that we set aside a day each year to honor them.
Many of us remember the homilies our mothers taught us that stick to our ribs longer than their soup: “You can’t sit on two horses with one behind; if you fall out of that tree and break your leg, don’t come running to me; always wear clean underwear in case you are in an accident; don’t wear good underwear when you go to the doctor, or your bill will be higher.
“It is just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is with a poor one; you only nag the ones you love; never drink out of a water fountain because you don’t know who has been there before you; remember, you are a reflection of me, so never go to anyone’s refrigerator.
“If you swallow the pit, a cherry tree will grow in your stomach; if you swallow your gum, a horse will grow in your stomach; when you go on a date, never order chicken or spaghetti because there is no way to eat either neatly; I don’t care if Moses is tap dancing on TV, turn it off and come to dinner this minute.
“If you are going to kill each other, do it outside; you better pray that it will come out of the carpet; because I said so, that’s why; will you look at the dirt on the back of your neck; and, I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”
All children believe that their mommies are the best, even in the animal world. On one Mother’s Day, Sammy the skunk said, “I think my mommy is best of all. No other mommy has a white stripe running down her back.”
“No,” countered Debbie the deer, “my mommy is the best. No other mommy has such beautiful brown eyes as she does.”
“Not so fast,” replied Elmo the elephant, “My mommy has a trunk.”
“Mine has a mane,” remarked Louis the lion.
“Mine has the best eyesight,” exclaimed Esther the eagle.
“Mine is the fastest,” uttered Chester the cheetah.
“No, no, no,” they all shouted, “My mommy is the best.”
The animal mothers heard all the noise and came running over. When they found out what the fight was about, they laughed.
“Children,” they said, “don’t you know that for each of you, your mommies are the best? Mommies come in all shapes, colors and sizes, and for each one of you, yours is the best.” How true.
My own mother was a driving force in my life. I remember her pearls of wisdom: “Stop hitting your sister, Shirley. She may hit back.” (Shirley did.)
“Wait until you have children of your own.” (I did and, oh, boy, was she right.) And the first time I brought Gloria home, Mom took one look and said, “Marry her!” That was the best advice she ever gave me.
So, mothers everywhere, stand tall, be proud and stay out of the kitchen, at least on this one day of the year. Let your children treat you to a nice Italian, Korean, Japanese, Jewish, Chinese etc. dinner. Happy Mother’s Day!
And, Mom, I dedicate the lyrics of that old Italian song to you: “Nothing can ever replace, the warmth of your tender embrace. Until the day we’re together once more, I’ll live in these memories, until the day we’re together again.” Thank you and sleep well. Happy Mother’s Day.
Reach columnist Alex Berger by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 140.