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Light Notes: Help! What would Mother do now?

Lucy Luginbill, Tri-City Herald on

Published in Religious News

My mama knew tough times.

Childhood poverty, the Great Depression, and World War II taught her as surely as my grandma's hand rocked the cradle. Together they formed her moral compass.

Even now, bits and pieces of her story are etched in my memory. How she swept their family's dirt floor, an end of day chore; how her feet ached in a big brother's hand-me-down shoes, the soles lined with cardboard inside where holes peeked through; how a dress from flour sack cloth was a grateful step-up from overalls, the faded denim worn by a string of brothers.

My mama knew tough times.

Childhood poverty, the Great Depression, and WWII taught her as surely as my grandma's hand rocked the cradle. Together they formed her moral compass.

Even now, bits and pieces of her story are etched in my memory. How she swept their family's dirt floor, an end of day chore; how her feet ached in a big brother's hand-me-down shoes, the soles lined inside with cardboard where holes peeked through; how a dress from flour sack cloth was a grateful step-up from overalls, the faded denim worn by a string of brothers.

 

My mama knew lack growing up when strength of character wasn't scarce. She hoped to instill the latter in me.

Strict as a teacher with a wooden ruler, my mother expected good behavior, wise choices. (The afternoon my little neighbor friend and I tap danced all over her 78-RPM records spread like a black shiny floor, wasn't one of them.) But as I grew out of patent leather Mary Jane's and into trendy high heels, Mama was my example, my guide.

Even now, my late mother's compass still points the way. I call it my WWMD moments ("What Would Mama Do?"). Those sticky times when I can choose to do the right thing or just say "it's okay", no one the wiser.

Like the day not too long ago, when two bright yellow canisters of sanitizing wipes stood together on an otherwise barren shelf. My impulse was to hoard them both.

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