Friday, May 27, 2011

A mother's love

5/4/11 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

As a child, I used to think that Mother’s Day was a one-way street —a day for children to give their mother gifts to show that they loved her. When I became a mother, I fully realized that if life is all about love — then children are the sweetest gift of all.

As a mother, my love for our children was so deep and wide that all I ever needed was to be with them and share their youthful exuberance. But tangible gifts are traditional on Mother’s Day and this Sunday, families will gather to tangibly demonstrate their love. Later, everyone will realize how happy mom was just to have her brood of chicks gathered close.

When I was growing up, Mother’s Day, much like today, was about family, flowers and food. Homemade cards and dime store purchases were usually the gifts of the day. Clutching our little purses, my sister and I would walk into Woolworth’s and leave with a bottle of ‘real’ French perfume i.e. “Evening in Paris” for mother and grandmother.

Dad would also take us shopping on Sat. to buy mother and grandmother exquisite orchid corsages to wear to church. We would place our order and wait while the corsage was crafted and packed in a fancy silver box along with a gigantic faux pearl-topped pin to secure the corsage. At home it was refrigerated until the next day.

Sunday morning, we girls would get all dolled up in our frilly dresses, matching gloves and fancy hats. Mother and grandmother, of course, were also wearing corsages and Evening in Paris. The guys (young and old) wore suits and ties with spit-shined shoes and off we would go to church — the boys squabbling all the way!

After church, we went out to eat. Mother and grandmother never cooked Sunday supper on Mother’s Day. They got to choose the restaurant and there were no picnics or barbecues. It was a holiday from cooking and dish washing for the entire family.

Today, many things have changed — especially the dress code. I seldom see ladies wearing a corsage, hat or gloves at church. (Most of us wear dressy pants suits because we can’t find suitable dresses for a woman past the mini-skirt age!) A few men still wear suits and ties but most wear open neck sports shirts. And it’s not unusual to see jeans and sweatshirts on worshippers and diners of all ages.

We ladies certainly will not be spritzing on Evening in Paris ‘toilet water’ or cologne. After a long successful run in department stores for over 30 years, it completely disappeared by 1969. Chanel now owns the patent and has reformulated it but the reviews aren’t good.

Packaged in a cobalt glass perfume bottle, it debuted as ‘Soir de Paris’ in 1928 in France and in 1929 it was named ‘Evening in Paris’ to sell in the United States. According to the “Fragrance Encyclopedia” it was believed to be the most popular fragrance in the world in the 1950s. Now it can only be found on eBay!

Some Mother’s Day traditions, however, never go out of style. Hugs and kisses and the gifting of a simple homemade card are still mom’s true treasures. As the day ends, memories are tucked away with the card, to be remembered forever.

Taking mom out to dinner is still a popular treat albeit with a new twist. Now, there are opulent brunches that the whole family can enjoy. Everyone can graze the serving tables, pick out their favorite foods and go back for seconds!

Flowers are still a gift that never goes out of style. Mother used to put her orchid corsage in the refrigerator to preserve it to wear the following week. Today, I notice that the busy mothers in our family (my daughter Kathy and daughter-in-law Betsy) are always gifted with bouquets of flowers by their sons and husbands.

Now, in my retired, honorary mother status, I have added a different kind of bouquet to my wish list — a field trip to one of the many public Oregon garden sites. Maybe it’s something your mom would enjoy too. Check out my now-in-bloom location list and ask the mom in your life if she’d like to enjoy some flowers that she didn’t have to weed!

1. The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn. Their annual, month long tulip fest ends May 8. With 18 acres of flowers, pony rides, wine tasting and a gift shop, there’s something for everyone.
2. Adelman Peony Gardens in Salem opens its doors and fields to visitors May 1 to June 15. You can buy a variety of bouquets or potted peony plants to transfer to your garden.
3. Shore Acres State Park is delightful in any season. Located SW of Coos Bay/ North Bend and Hwy 101, the 5,000 tulips are winding down but the 100s of rhododendrons and azaleas will bloom through mid-May. Later, the 600 rose bushes, 250 dahlias, annuals and other perennials will bloom.
4. Locally, the Village Green Resort ‘s garden is in bloom. Last week after dinner at the restaurant, we wandered the rock-lined paths through its peaceful gardens. A Bluebird watched us soak up serenity, punctuated with vistas of a labyrinth, lilacs, tulips, daffodils, bleeding hearts and more. A local feast for the senses.

There are many ways to show mom that you love her. But you can never go wrong with the gift of time, a big hug, a heartfelt note and a bouquet of flowers. Mom loves you anyway but any of these will be icing on the cake!

This year I will miss being with my children and grandchildren and you can be sure that I will shed a few tears. Fortunately, I have a huge memory bank of love to draw from.

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.

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