Monday, May 13, 2013


Mom's Handkerchief, Jamestown, NC

This recent Mother’s Day is always a good time to pause, reflect and give thanks for the mothers in our lives, assuming we’ve had mostly good experiences. Of course, even if we haven’t, I always believe that we can learn from both good and not so good models of behavior from moms to managers. We can simply emulate those attributes we embrace and do the opposite of those we abhor.

I was folding laundry this morning and came across a worn handkerchief that I had recently carried with me during the spring allergy season. It’s a rather unassuming piece of cloth that really shouldn’t merit much attention. After all, a handkerchief is a rather plebeian part of life. And a plain white one is even more so. But this one finally caught my attention after the over fifty years since I received it, but never parted with it.

I happen to be the first generation to be born off the farm on both sides of my family. I’m proud of that hard-working heritage and I know that I still have dirt coursing through my veins. I actually enjoy any outdoor activity including yard work and gardening. I used to subscribe to the old monastery story I read years ago that we should plant one row of vegetables for the body and one row of flowers for the soul. Now, I must admit that I shop the Farmers Market for fresh veggies but still enjoy planting flowers.

My grandparents were not rich in the monetary sense, but were rich in the sharing of love among us. My grandmother Davis, who all of us many grandchildren called Mom, was the vibrant glue that held it all together. And I remember my grandfather on more than one occasion chiding her about the fact that their cash on hand was seldom on hand. And a simply wrapped present always seemed to appear for someone’s special occasion. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that after a while, I was less than enthusiastic about receiving one of these gifts, as it was almost always a simple, plain handkerchief—not the latest and greatest expensive toy du jour. Then the years passed and we’ve lost both our grandparents and our parents. Mother’s Day has evolved into a special day of remembrance and thanks for priceless handkerchiefs wrapped in motherly love. The same motherly love available to all of God’s children every day of our lives—many times featuring special home delivery from His older children.

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