Dan Corkery: Mom gets a card, but we receive so much more

Dan Corkery: Mom gets a card, but we receive so much more

Today, 113 million greeting cards will be opened (if Hallmark's statistics are accurate). That's a lot; third most, behind Christmas and Valentine's Day.

It's a challenge looking through the Mothers Day cards at the drugstore.

Some are too mawkish or too cliched. Others too inappropriate.

"Our family is beautiful, our home is happy ... all because of you."

"If everyone had a mom like you, the world would be a better place. ... Less crime and hardly anyone would get their nipples pierced."

"Mom, thanks for bringing me into a world where love can be expressed electronically."

I won't be sending my mother a greeting this year by mail, text, Facebook, Twitter or email. My mother died 14 years ago, a sad but common reality as we approach and join the Medicare age.

"There's no award for being a great mom," the cover of one card says. There's no disputing that.

If we're paying attention, however, our mothers — whether alive or not — give us "awards" every day.

For example, the man in front of you who held open the door — his mother raised him to be a gentleman. That was a frequent reminder in our house.

Likewise, stand up when a lady enters the room. My brothers and I failed to do that once. Even though purgatory is not in the Bible, we experienced it.

Dinners at home mean important family time. But there's a practicality not captured in the Norman Rockwell moment. We save money and unnecessary calories when we eat at home.

My parents, who lived the Great Depression from grade school through high school, made that their lifestyle.

So it follows that I and my wife (whose own parents had their fill of the Depression and World War II rationing) lunch at home nearly every day. A few dollars saved and superlative company.

My mother-in-law, Donna Wagner, told me last Sunday that she knits while watching TV. Productive even while sitting.

My mother did the same — making entire outfits for herself. It was another way of economizing, which my brothers and I benefitted from when it came time to go to college.

Mom knew all about saving for college. She worked six years to save up enough (Sheaffer Pen in Fort Madison, Iowa, and Curtis-Wright in St. Louis). A natural student, she could have entered a number of fields. She chose engineering — not the typical path for a woman in the 1940s.

Then again, she was a born problem-solver. And so is Dad.

I must have learned something being around those two. Solving problems is what editors do.

Enjoy the awards. Moms have been handing them out for years.

Dan Corkery is a member of The News-Gazette's editorial board. His email is dcorkery@news-gazette.com, and his phone is 351-5218.

Sections (2):Columns, Opinion


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