Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. I was so excited about my annual inaugural spring bike ride that, although I remembered Mother’s Day, I forgot to write about it. So in today’s column I have a few thoughts I would like to share.

We celebrated Mother’s Day the Saturday before with a picnic at my daughter’s house in Atlanta. It was a beautiful day and we had the picnic in the front yard. We maintained social distance, and everybody brought their own lunch. Further, this was a group of less than 10 people.

I wanted to hug the grandchildren, whom I have not seen for over two months. But I kept my distance. In spite of social distancing, we had a really good visit and enjoyed the beautiful day together and we took some really great pictures of the children.

Not long after I arrived, my daughter presented me with some presents, one of which was a beautiful silhouette of each of the children. I simply cannot wait to get the silhouettes framed and I know exactly where I want to hang them in my office.

Remembering Mama

My mama was the original steel magnolia. Poised and regal in stature, she was a woman of few words. Oh my goodness how I miss her! Everything Mama ever attempted was very well done. When she was at Berry, she made the dean’s list every single term. She kept an orderly home, was a very talented seamstress, and an excellent cook.

Mama in the kitchen cooking and baking is my most typical memory of her. Our kitchen was tiny. There was not much counter space and so the kitchen table was the counter space. That little kitchen is where she prepared many a delicious meal and where she baked many birthday cakes for her friends.

A godly woman, Mama was a very strong Christian and was well versed in Scripture. Many times through the years she’d say, “Pam, I think it’s great that you and the children underline and highlight Scripture in your Bible ... but I can not bring myself to do so.” I have Mama’s Bible and have been delighted to discover many great passages of Scriptures that Mama underlined, in pencil.

Mama had strong opinions

About everything. Like collegiate education department chairmen whom she adamantly maintained operated in an ivory tower. She said they didn’t know what happened in a real classroom. For several years she supervised the student teachers from Shorter and Berry. She would often say to her students as they began their student teaching, “OK (called the student by name). We’re going to give Dr. (named the professor) what he wants. But I am going to tell you how it really is!” That was gold to the mid-life career changer who was finishing a degree in education.

When I think of Mother’s Day, I am reminded of several women who loved us — their children’s friends — through the years. The late Elaine Strickland, the late Alice Rose McAfee, Anne Culpepper and Shirley Fincher Lee all come to mind. These women were interested in us and how we were doing. They were always glad to see us. When they said, “Hey Pam! How are you?” I knew it was not rhetorical. I knew they really wanted to know how I was. These women loved their children’s friends and what a great blessing that was.

Mama said ‘Look up’

I miss Mama. She passed away in 2012, at 91 years of age. She had a sweet, gentle spirit and always knew exactly what to say. She always had an encouraging word for us. During a difficult time, Mama would often say, “This too shall pass.” At other times she’d say, “Look up! Things will get better.” I looked up. Things always got better. The difficult times passed away. Mama was right.

I frequently think about Mama, and she was uniquely on my mind on Mother’s Day. I will continue her example of looking up. I will continue living my life with plenty of optimism. I appreciate Mama and the legacy she left us. Godly woman. High achiever. A happy life well lived.

Roman Pam Walker is a paralegal, a writer, an avid cyclist, history enthusiast, and an ardent reader of Southern fiction. She is the author of “People, Places, and Memories of Rome.” Readers may email her at pamterrellwalker@gmail.com.

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