At the Stockman's Cafe this past winter a discussion arose that stuck in my mind. It was during a particularly cold time when calving season and bitter cold collided. The discussion was about cows that are either "good mothers" or "bad mothers". This of course played a tremendous role on the survival of the new born calf in the very bitter conditions. Some cows will find a good sheltered draw out of the wind, have her calf with temperatures well below zero and save the calf. She'll nuzzle, lick and moo at him until he gets up and nurses. Some cows won't.
That got me thinking (which might scare some of you) about nature and mothers. I once seen a hen take on a coyote to protect her chicks while the other hens scattered; watched as some cats brought food back to the kittens while other cats stood at the bowl and meowed to be fed; seen some sows build "nest" when they were getting ready to farrow while others laid in the mud to stay cool. Some just have a natural "mothering" ability.
Now I know women don't like to be compared to hens or cats (and especially not cows and sows), but it's true, there are good mothers and bad mothers in the human race too. All one needs to do is sit at a mall somewhere and watch for a few minutes, you'll see the difference quickly. I was fortunate enough to be blessed with a good mom.
Mom taught me to laugh. I can still see her start snickering when she would see or hear something funny. And if the "funny" kept going she would break out in a full blown "ha ha". Then she'd get red-faced and embarrassed and go to fanning her self.
Mom taught me to squirrel hunt. We'd walk the woods after the leaves were off the trees and she'd point them out for me. Then she'd tell me how to sight him and would give all sorts of encouragement especially if I missed.
Mom wasn't afraid of spanking us kids either. As a matter of fact she gave me my last spanking when I was in junior high. I still remember it quite well, don't remember exactly what I done, but do remember I KNEW I had it coming!! A few times I remember Mom sending me to bed without any supper. Then a couple hours later my older brother would show up with a piece of cake or a couple of cookies (Mom would never bring it herself because that would have been going against the punishment!)
Mom taught me hospitality. Never was she inhospitable to anyone. No matter who us kids or Dad would come dragging home, she'd make them feel like family. And if they left hungry, it was their own fault cause she could cook. Whether it was a picnic at Bolin Bridge or a family dinner with all the trimin's there was always room for one more.
Mom also taught me to sing. She had a wonderful alto voice and us kids grew up on four part southern gospel music. Some of her favorite hymns were written by Albert E Brumley who was sort of a shirt-tail relation. His songs included I'll Fly Away, Did You Ever Go Sailing, If We Never Meet Again and many more. There are a few songs I have trouble singing today because it opens the floodgates of memories.
Mom has gone home now, but the lessons she taught us will forever live within each of us kids and all that she met. I truly was a blessed man to have a mother with natural "mothering" ability.
Addendum: Not only was I blessed with a great mother, but I was blessed with a wife who also had that natural mothering ability. And her daughters are following closely in her footsteps.