My father passed away last June, so this is my mom’s first Mother’s Day without him. I know it will be difficult for her. They were married for nearly 64 years.
When I was a kid, Mother’s Day usually signaled the beginning of landlocked salmon and brook trout seasons in northeastern Maine. It was also prime fiddlehead time. We usually foraged enough for an army.
I remember one Mother’s Day weekend we went trolling for salmon and my mother tore them up. I was about ten-years-old. Overloaded, we ventured out onto the lake in serious choppy water. Just when we got comfortable, the spray slapped us in the face. The waves bounced us around like crazy in that little 14-foot boat, but nobody got seasick, just cold.
We had a boatful of fishermen, but she was the only one who caught any keepers. Boy, did she tie into them! I think she caught seven legal-sized fish in less than three hours, which any salmon fisherman will tell you is hitting the jackpot.
The rest of us kept changing flies to duplicate the nine-three streamer fly she was using but to no avail. It didn’t matter. She had everyone’s limit. We came back to the dock cold and wet, but I can’t remember many fishing excursions I enjoyed as much as that one. I had another reason to be satisfied. I tied the fly she caught all the fish with.
Mother’s Day morning we let Mom sleep in. She stayed back at camp and we didn’t catch a thing. Still, we had a great Mother’s Day feast. For the next few days, we ate very well. Fresh baked or grilled salmon is hard to top.
That fishing trip was extra special, because my grandfather (her father) had just bought her a new fishing rod and reel and that Mother’s Day weekend was the first time she ever fished with it.
I think it’s important for families to establish their own traditions and not rely on the status quo. For most folks, Mother’s Day is not about fishing or foraging for greens. It’s for giving that special woman a day off and maybe some flowers too. If that’s the case, we might wonder about the most appropriate flowers for this day.
Carnations are the unofficial Mother’s Day flowers. Pink and red are most traditional if she is still living. If she isn’t, we can adorn her monument with white ones or have some at home in memory of her.
The first official Mother’s Day holiday was in 1917. The second Sunday in May became the chosen date, but Mother’s Day isn’t just an American holiday. It’s celebrated in numerous countries all over the world.
My mother is 86 and will be working at her church and at the local museum on this holiday. Nothing seems to slow her down. I won’t be able to be with my mother this Sunday, but I’ll be sure to call her Sunday evening and see if she received her bouquet of red and pink carnations.
This is a picture of my mom and dad not too long before my dad’s passing.
Here’s one of my mom, my sister and me back in 1960 or 61.
Ted Manzer teaches agriculture at Northeastern High School.
What a lovely tribute to your mother! Every mother would feel honored to have her son write such a sweet memory. Each holiday for the first year after a loved one’s passing is always difficult.