The grand salute to Mother’s Day likely began many decades ago, but is now fondly celebrated along with the joy of spring in over 40 countries throughout the world.
This wonderful and so deserving tribute honours the dedicated Mothers of every family of all nationalities and all walks of life, as well as recognizing and proudly respecting the life-long and vital traditions of motherhood, maternal bonds, and the ongoing influence of Mothers in society.
As we all prepare to toast, pamper, and remember all Mothers of yesterday and today on May 14, I would like to pass on this delightful tribute for each and every one of those amazing ladies who for countless decades have, and will always passionately ‘rule their roost’ and share their affections and treats in such a kind, gentle, and mostly patient and amazing way of ‘tough love’ all year round, no matter what. To honour our Moms and Grand-Moms the Fort Ostell Museum will be hosting their annual Mother’s Day Tea on May 12 from 2 to 4 p.m., and all are invited.
The jolly life of a farmer’s wife in 1923
Each and every farmer’s wife has absolutely no excuse for not being cultured and up-to-date. All she has to do each and every day, beginning mostly before the sun comes up is to: empty the ash can split and some kindling to start a roaring fire in the stove, and then get the men folks and all the kids out of bed, cook breakfast for 10 and make lunches all before sitting down to join the rest of that always hungry crew. After sending the kids off to school and hubby out into the field with a good lunch and a quick kiss, it will be time to wash the dishes, make the beds, mop the floors, scrub or sweep the steps, wash some clothes and iron the linens, and then mend the socks and patch a whole lot of pants and socks.
After a quick cup of coffee she will head outside to milk the cows, churn the butter, feed the chickens gather the eggs and set the hens, pick the geese, tend to the garden, rake the lawn and water the flowers, and then carry in a big armful of stove wood. Throughout her always busy week the usual assignments would likely include: canning the fruit, bathing the children and cutting their hair, polishing the silver-ware, string the beans, sort the apples, sift the ants out of the sugar, shaking the rugs and beating the carpets, baking the bread and making her fabulous cakes and pies, dusting the furniture, keep track of the men’s collar buttons and best ties, and airing the feather-beds. Along the way if all goes well she may even have a few moments to sit down and chat on the phone, write a letter to her mother, plan the meals for the week, and then order the groceries. Before preparing lunch there may be a few moments to blacken the stove, straighten the window shades, clean-out the attic, and quickly wiping up the mud that father and the boys tracked in from outside, especially in the spring.
Life was never boring, as emergencies were always popping up around every farm, like having to dash outside and drive the pigs out of the garden, shoo the chickens off the porch, chase the cat out of the milk house, set the dog on the tramps, and constantly fairly but firmly settling the children’s ongoing spats, putting on a band-aid on a skinned knee, or wiping a tear or two. Occasionally someone would drive into the yard, many good folks for a surprise visit or a little help and while she always loved to dicker with the ‘rag man,’ there would always be those pesky insurance men, book agents, and salesman who had to be politely told ‘no thanks’ in various degrees of feminine verbal domination. Finally when all calmed down there might be a few moments to read a few pages from her new romantic, fashion, or pattern book, and maybe even have a nap?
In the afternoon after the dishes were done the early farm mother often kindly agreed to look after the neighbour’s baby so she could go to town, willingly made up a batch of delectable pies for the district Sunday after church picnic and ball game, or once a month she will toss aside her apron and graciously put on her best dress and hat to attend a missionary meeting where she will work with other ladies for many volunteer hours on causes to help others in need. Has it really changed that much over all those years for these very precious ‘guardian angels’ from our rural and urban homes and farms, who have now become working mothers in a new modern and hectic world, but will always be blessed with many of the same day-to-day schedules and chores?
Along the way this grand tradition of Mother’s Day has created many exciting spin-offs over the years, which have included annual gala celebrations to salute our Fathers, grandparents, and siblings, all in honour of the strong love and importance of family, which we must always protect and strive to carry on forever.