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Mike Bellah

Mom loved to experiment with color. In 1956 my dad bought a pink-over-charcoal De Soto sedan, and mother soon had the exterior of our house trimmed in dark gray highlighted by a solid pink (honest, it was hot pink) front door.

 

 

 

 

My mother, like all parents, had her faults, mostly caused by too much--not too little--concern for her children.

 

 

 

 

I don't know why American men have a hard time showing our love and appreciation for those we love best, especially our mothers, and I am no exception.

Happy Mothers' Day

In the oldest picture I have of my mother and me together, we are enjoying my 5th birthday party. The table is decorated with a western theme, and mom has a toy six-shooter, holstered western-style, hanging from her hip.

During our preteen years, birthday parties were a big deal for my siblings and me, mostly because mom made them so. With formal (usually handmade) invitations for guests, elaborate decorations (always built around a unique motif), lots of food, organized games and plenty of presents; mom saw to it that our special days were, well, special. And in so doing she did what all good mothers do best--she made her children feel special.

My mom was an artist. Maybe in another life she could have been a professional one, but, with staying home to raise four children (four moderately spoiled children), she didn't have the time to pursue a higher education in her craft. However, she did practice it: decorating for birthday and school parties, designing special cards for special occasions, and decorating our house.

Mom loved to experiment with color. In 1956 my dad bought a pink-over-charcoal De Soto sedan, and mother soon had the exterior of our house trimmed in dark gray highlighted by a solid pink (honest, it was hot pink) front door. As a gag, her friend Frankie Swatzell gave her a pink commode seat that year for Christmas. My mother not only installed it; the piece was still with the house when we sold it.

Mom and Frankie were best friends, as were their children, and they loved to do things together, especially shopping. I remember one trip to Dallas in the late '50s to browse antique stores. Their bounty was so great that Frankie's son Mike and I were sent back to Amarillo on the train (ostensibly to make room for the antiques, but I now believe the decision had more to do with the personalities of the two Mikes than the size of Frankie's station wagon).

My mother, like all parents, had her faults, mostly caused by too much--not too little--concern for her children. She worried about us too much (she still does), and she intervened too often to deliver us from crises of our own making. I remember a call to some fellow-parents that kept me from having to face two angry young ladies who had both been invited to the same prom by the same young man (some advice for teen-age boys: despite what your friends say, don't ask another girl to a dance until you have a definite "no" from your first choice).

I suppose my mom's greatest legacy will be her unique blend of self-sacrifice, creativity and energy (I think the energy comes from the creativity, but that's a subject for another column). Now in her mid-70's, and with hands crippled by rheumatoid arthritis, my mom still decorates her home for special occasions, and she still finds the time and energy to hand-paint cards for friends and family.

I don't know why American men have a hard time showing our love and appreciation for those we love best, especially our mothers, and I am no exception. Through the years, I have given too few thank yous, too few hugs, too few "I love you moms." And I know today's column cannot make up for all those oversights, but I offer it anyway.

I love you mom. Happy Mothers' Day.

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