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Monday, 11 May 2009

Mother's Day

By Johna Ferguson

During summer vacations, my the young boys and I would move lock, stock and barrel to my folks old summer cabin at the end of Puget Sound. One year when the two oldest were still in grade school, Easter vacation and Mother’s Day fell during the same period and we went to spend that vacation time at the beach.

During the off-season the only people living there were an older couple and their daughter. As a special treat, my husband invited me to go along with him to Portland to spend Friday night there while he attended a meeting the next day. The neighbor’s high school daughter offered to baby sit, so off we went, my head in the clouds since I was to finally get a break from three noisy boys.

After we left, the boys pondered what to do for me for Mother’s Day. There was one small grocery store but it was five miles away and anyway they didn’t have any money. The youngest, then five, later told me they decided to walk into the woods above the house and look for early blooming flowers for a bouquet.

At the top of the hill there was an American Native Indian grave. This had always fascinated all my cousins at the beach for they thought that there were also buried treasures. They talked of digging them up, but of course they knew that would be unwise, for then the ghosts might follow them for the rest of their lives. But that didn’t prevent my boys from digging around outside the fence, just in case something else was buried there. After all they had not found any flowers suitable for their mother’s bouquet.

Actually, they hit pay dirt as they dug in the brush. First they discovered a big bone. I’m sure they thought it was a person’s leg bone so they kept at their work. Eventually they dug up the parts of a horse carcass. They had the head, perfectly intact, a shoulder bone, some leg bones and the ribs.

Since there were no flowers, they decided this would be their Mother’s Day gift to me for after all, it also came from the dirt like flowers did.

Carefully they brought the bones back down the hill to the beach house. There on our bedroom floor (thank heavens it was covered with linoleum), they laid them out; head, shoulder, lower front leg bones, a couple ribs thrown in and two hind-leg thigh bones. What a wonderful gift they had for their mother on her return.

My husband and I didn’t get home until late Saturday night, but the boys were up, anxious to see my pleased face when I opened the bedroom door. Too bad we didn’t have an Instamatic camera to catch that unexpected moment for I am sure my face would have registered utter shock. How many mothers are prepared for a horse skeleton covered in peat-moss-like soil sharing her bedroom?

The 3 boy’s faces were just beaming with joy, so what could I do but say thank you and exclaim, “what a different gift.” I would like to have swept the entire smelly mess out the door but I knew that would be wrong. My husband and I would just have to endure it until morning when we could think of something more appropriate to do with it.

My youngest was completely awed with the entire venture. He held me close and whispered in my ear, telling me they couldn’t find any flowers so this seemed like the perfect gift, and didn’t I think it was just wonderful?

What more can a mother ask for? Love filled with thoughtfulness at a child’s level. Digging in the dirt in a garden or just digging in dirt for something is, in my mind, about the same. Granted when one plants seeds lovely flowers or vegetables grow, but digging for joy and bonding together is also important. It’s a present I will never forget.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Great story!
Having had boys of my own plus my sister's four boys, I can relate!
One day before Mother's Day I took my nephews shopping for something special for their mom and grandmother. After serious consideration, and several times counting the change they had for their purchases, they decided on flower seeds for Grandma, and because she liked to sew, thread for their mom.

Johna - What a neat story! I've heard of 'digging up bones', but this one 'takes the cake'!

I can't imagine coming back late at night and finding a horse skeleton, even a pony skeleton, in our bed room. I suppose at that younger age, there was no need to get up at night and navigate that 'mine field' until daylight.

Great tale! - Sandy

Thanks for the wonderful story. It reminded me of the time my 5 boys tried to save all the fish for me in an pond down the street that was being drained for new construction. They filled evey garbage can, pot, pan, my newest expesive basket with dying fish and carried them to my driveway .. all to save the smelly dying catfish! All for ME!! It took me a week to slowly get rid of each dead fish, but as I slowly collected newspaper for the big ones, and toilet paper for the little ones, still now after 20 years, i remember the delighted looks on their little faces as they thought they were giving ME the best gift of all.

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