The Paw Paw River Journal
EDITOR’S NOTE: This entry in the Paw Paw River Journal was previously published in the Tri-City Record and repeated in recognition of Mother’s Day, May 13, 2018. Somebody’s Mother Back in the day when I was working for the government (not entirely by choice), we used to march incessantly in Basic Training. Miles and miles… and a directive came out that all of us in Air Force training should sing as we marched. So we did, and had an amazing repertoire of songs. One came to mind because Mother’s Day is approaching. The song went like this: “Be kind to your web-footed friends… for that duck may be somebody’s muuuuuuuuther (long & drawn out)… she lives all alone in the swamp, where the weather is cold and domp (damp)…” Now this may seem a rather light and irreverent approach to Mother’s Day, but I do not mean it as such. I was thinking about mothers, and that song just popped in there. And I do want to talk about them. Everyone in this world has a mother and a father. Unfortunately, it is a fact of life that many kids now do not have both present in their lives. Once in a while it is an absent mother… but usually it is a scarce dad. Years ago, when we were moving into our home, it caused a small neighborhood sensation. Trucks in the driveway, people coming and going… carrying stuff into the house. A group of small neighborhood urchins gathered around to watch. My Chief Accountant (who has always liked kids) stopped to talk to them. One little boy was hanging back on the edge of the group. Another… obviously trying to find some subject of interest to this big person, pointed at the kid on the fringe and said, “He ain’t got no Dad!” My partner in life squatted down and said to them earnestly, “Now, kids, I want to tell you something… everyone in this world has a Mom and a Dad. Some of them are just in other places!” The poor little urchin beamed at her… she had made a friend there. And there is a germ of truth in that. It takes two parents to bring a child into the world. What happens after that is one of the great tragedies of our society. I have known a lot of people who made it with only one parent… but that person was strong and could do the work of both. It may not take a whole village to rear a child (although it would help), but the best solution is to have both a mother and father present and working at it. I guess Marion and I were both lucky to have two parents who took their job seriously. My mom was there to bind up our childhood wounds, and my dad was ever present to instruct me on how not to have that happen again! My mom gave me a colorful “Indian” blanket to take in my Radio Flyer coaster wagon to go camping. With a couple of friends, I pulled the wagon up to the corner where we made our tent and had a meal of white crackers (with graham crackers for dessert!). I’m sure she must have watched us from the window to see that we did not go beyond our property. Marion remembers living on the farm with her family, and they all pitched in to help. Their mom gave Marion and sister Dolores a big dish and said, “Why don’t you pick some blackberries and take them to Mrs. Taylor (an older widow who lived just down the road). She likes to make jam.” Marion says now she realizes her mom was teaching them to help others, especially older people. And how we chafed and squirmed under the strictures of parental control. That is natural… fences are made to be tested. But somewhere along in there something happened. Perhaps it was parents of our generation… having gone through a Depression as children, then World War II… they said, “My kids are not going to have to go through what we went through!” And they lost sight of the fact that it is the fire that tempers steel. Now those children of permissive post-war parents have grown up and have children. And those children have grown up and have children. Have we gotten back to any sane footing in the parenting world? I don’t think our society has improved any. In the name of freedom of expression, entertainment has gone way past what I believe to be suitable. I know this sounds like doom and gloom… a recently retired teacher I know very well has said that there are new parents who realize what is wrong… and we have better kids on the horizon. I hope so. Recent video displays of teen-agers beating on each other do not inspire confidence. What can we do? Is the genie out of the bottle? Has the toothpaste been squeezed out of the tube… and cannot be put back in? I know what I think would help… better parenting. Better two parenting! And respect for others. It’s almost too much to ask that young people delay gratification of the senses. Some time ago, people had to earn adulthood. Not anymore. Kids take on the trappings of adulthood at an ever earlier age. If any younger people are reading this, please take time this Mother’s Day to honor the woman who gave you life. I do not mean to say that my generation was perfect. We were not. Just recently one night I dreamed about my mom. I walked up to her and she was young and attractive… probably looking much like she did when I was a wee lad. In my dream, I put my arms around her and said, “I love you.” She smiled at me and said, “It’s easier to say that now you are older, isn’t it…” How true!
Coloma Library News Story Hour
Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Toddlers and preschoolers are invited to hear a story, make a craft and sing a song with Miss Amy. There is no sign-up or fee required. It is asked that all children be supervised by an adult during Story Hour. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, May 17 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “The Zookeeper’s Wife” by Diane Ackerman. Generally, depending on demand there are titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club regularly meets every other Thursday and is always looking for new members. Memorial Day closings The library will be closed Saturday, May 26, Sunday, May 27 and Monday, May 28 to celebrate Memorial Day. Call 468-3431 with questions on any Coloma library activity.
Watervliet District Library News
In Stitches Knitting Group May 11, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. Second Friday of every month, bring your needles and join the fun! Limited supplies available; beginners are welcome. Third Monday Book Club May 21, 7 – 8 p.m. Great books, fabulous conversations! Ask for a copy at the desk. This month’s adventure is “Stitches” by David Small. Teen Table Projects – May: “X, a Novel” by Ilyasah Shabazz. Take home your own copy, read it and share your inspiration in art – your choice of format – and take home a fedora in classic zoot-suit style! Special Stuff for Kids – May: Check out this year’s Michigan Ready-To-Read book, “I got the Rhythm” and take home a rhythm instrument craft! Library Garden Park – Purchase a Legacy Walk brick and celebrate a memory! Bricks are $75; 13 characters, 2 lines. Pick up a form at the library. Yoga: Monday, 9 – 10 a.m.; Wednesday, 7 – 8 p.m.; Chair Yoga, Wednesday, 6:00 – 6:45 p.m. Call 463-6382 for questions on any Watervliet library activity.