This Memorial Day found me in the home that my Dad and his lovely wife share.  Dad and Mom lived here together for many years before Mom’s death from cancer in 2008.  Many things in the home are just the way Mom left them, thanks to the respect of Dad’s new wife for him and us kids. 

One of those things is the rag drawer.  I’ve misplaced the case for the lenses that magnetically attach to make my regular glasses into sun glasses, and I knew just where to look for a scrap of material in which to wrap them. 

Mom liked soft clothes, so the drawer is full of flannels, knits, and cottons.  She hated binding clothes – she’d cut tee shirt necks and remove their sleeves.  There were several pairs of shirtless sleeves of various colors and lengths, all neatly folded.  Plaids she wore in the garden, a paisley, a flowered print – mostly light colored, some worn and thin, some new cast-offs from a garment she’d made; all soft.

I found myself petting the scraps as I dug deeper in the drawer, smiling at the tactile memories.  I settled on a once-nice man’s dress shirt, which Mom undoubtedly wore more than Dad ever did.  It has fine stripes of light blue-grey and white, paint spots matching the walls in the house and stains from the glazes she used on her pottery.  There was only the one side of the shirt with the breast pocket attached, and I cut around and removed the pocket with her dull pinking shears, which were still in their original box with a 50-cent garage sale sticker on it.  I left a little tab of the shirt above the pocket to fold over my lenses once they were in their new little “case.”  Mom would have appreciated my ingenuity.

It’s very nice to have a day that’s dedicated to memories, but they’re really always there, and it only takes a few moments to stop and enjoy them.  I see Mom when I look in the mirror; I emulate her when I get dressed in my soft clothes; I draw inspiration from her experiences when I garden or cook or can or refinish furniture, or when I need to make do, or when I feel out of my league – I remember that Mom conquered all that and more. 

She and Dad lived the American dream.  They started with nothing but strong love and a sense of adventure, and through hard work, frugality, perseverance and prayers, they raised 5 kids, made a lot of friends and a lot of money, and retired early to travel the world.

Thank You, God, for my Parents and the example they’ve given me.  Thank You for the new wife You’ve given my Dad, and for the health with which You’ve blessed them.  Lord, Thank You for the life You’ve given my husband and me, and may we glorify You in it, and may we work to restore for our children and their generation the blessings of freedom which we have enjoyed and more.  Amen.