Archive for May, 2014


The Three Faces of my Mother

   Posted by: Mel   in Life

My Mother, Clora Mae Coates

I was born late in life to my parents, Thomas & Clora Mae Coates. I was the youngest of the ten of their children. I often tell my siblings, “They finally got it right!” My earliest memory of what my Mom looked like is the picture above. As far back as I can remember, this is what she looked like. Really did not change much over the years. Hair got a bit grayer. Few wrinkles here and there. I did not know as a kid that my Mom was over weight. I never noticed, till she lost so much weight that I could see a difference. She was “Mama” and that was all I needed to know. So for most of my life when I closed my eyes or heard people ask about my Mom. This is the face I would see. This is the face I still see, even when I see her now.

My Parents: Thomas Sr. & Clora Mae Coates

Thomas Sr. & Clora Mae Coates

When I was about 15 years old, I was going through my Mom’s box of pictures (I still do this at least once every six weeks). I ran across the picture above. I had never seen (that I knew of) a picture of my parents when they were younger. My Mom told me it was her and my Dad. “You were so pretty!” I remember telling her. She replied with “What happened huh?” I told her that she was still a beautiful woman. At this time my Mom still looked like she did in the picture at the top of this page. The picture of my parents when they were younger was their wedding day. March 14, 1953. So now I had two faces to my Mother. The one I knew here and now. And the one that married my Dad at just 16 years of age.

I really did not know much about my Mother when I was younger. Just the average stuff a kid knows. Birthday (May 10, 1936), Where she was born (Broken Bow, Oklahoma), Her family (The Taylors) and her famous cake she baked for almost all of the church bake sales, Milkway Cake. But I really did not know details of her. Her hopes, dreams, what made her marry my Dad at such a young age. But as the years went on, I began to learn more and more about my Mom. After the passing of my Dad we got very close. And since that time, we have gotten extremely close. There is absolutely nothing that I can not tell my Mother. Though I do not always share everything with her. The freedom is there should I want to do so. There is no shame, judgement or disappointment in anything I might share with her. That is a true gift to any daughter from their Mother.

Clora & Matt <br>Great Grandson

Clora & Matt (Her Great Grandson)

So this brings me to the face of my Mom, now. Still amazingly beautiful. But now I see my Mom in a different light. I don’t just see the beauty when I look into her eyes. I see the 78 years that she has lived on this earth. I see a young girl with joy for the future, marrying a man eight years older than she was, at the age of 16. Giving birth to her first child at 17, the day before her own birthday. Giving birth to the second daughter 11 months later, to the day! I see a disciplined woman who raised 8 children (7 girls, one boy) in the house of the Lord, there was no excuse for not attending church. Who was not afraid to put a little thunder in the diaper when needed. But had soft arms that not one of us could resist laying on, curdled up talking about our hopes and dreams. I also see a Mother who has endured more grief than any one person should go through,  who buried two children just a few years apart from each other (RIP Thomas Jr. & Veronica), who I have never once seen her shed a tear over. I see a wife that lost her husband the day before their 46th wedding anniversary. Though I seen and heard many tears, she bravely went on about her life. She is a Gold Star Granny (RIP Pfc. Matthew W. Wilson). And buried her oldest child just two short months after Matt’s death.

But among all the heartache, the dreams, the joy and the loss. I see “Granny”. What she loves for her grand kids and great grand kids and great great grand kids to call her. I see the lady who has went through all of that to become the woman she is today. Though most days she is tired, finds it difficult to stay awake, hard to remember most things and can no longer walk without the aide of something or someone. Her mouth drawn just slightly because of the stroke. Her face has indeed changed with age and with health issues. But this same face that tells the story of her life, is the same face that lights up any time one of her great grand kids or great great grand kids crawls up into her lap. Her eyes smile without even trying. And it is then when I notice it. It’s the same face that my Mother had when I was born. The same face I seen through out my life, the same face that I never realized was getting older. It is the face of unconditional love, at its finest.


Weeding a Garden

   Posted by: Mel   in Life

There comes a time in every gardeners life that you must weed your garden. Now this is a rather easy task, if you stay on top of it. See one weed come up, quickly pull it. Lay down some compost. Plastic. Whatever it is that you use to keep the weeds down.

But if you do not stay on top of it, you can get yourself into a lot of trouble. That one weed you failed to pull, it is now a tree, over night. You heard the saying, “Growing like a weed!”. That’s no joke. A weed can literally double and sometimes triple in size, over night. It really doesn’t need any water. It doesn’t need fertilizer or anything else your veggies need to survive. Just dirt. And maybe some sun.

Now usually if you have one weed that grows, that you have failed to pick out of your garden, you find yourself within a week or so with a whole bed/row full of weeds. Now you’ve really got yourself into a pickle! Because what could have taken just a few minutes, has turned into an all day event. Those weeds now have thorns on them, not easily gotten, even with gloves. Roots that were only an inch deep, now are a foot or more down into the ground. And the real problem, now some of the weeds roots are entangled around your veggie roots.  And you know that when you reach in to grab it, two things are going to happen.

1. You are going to get poked with the thorns, even with your gloves on.

2. Some of your veggies are going to come up with the weeds, because they are entangled. The least that will happen, you will disturb the vegetables growth.

So what do you do? Well first things first. Water the area where the weeds are. This will loosen the ground around the roots and do the least damage to the vegetables. Because if a veggie starts to go sideways, because the ground is wet, you can easily build up the dirt around it. You may stunt the growth of the vegetable a little. But it will recover nicely, you’ll still get a harvest, just might not happen when you wanted it to. But it will happen.

Next you will want to make sure that when you are grabbing for weeds, you don’t mistaken a very small vegetable plant (one that isn’t as grown as the others) as a weed. So grab carefully. Letting your eyes guide your hands before you do any grabbing of the weeds.

Now for those weeds with the thorns. There are several ways you can get rid of them. But here is the most efficient way of doing it. Grab from the bottom. As close to the dirt as possible. Make sure the leaves come up a bit, use them for a covering over the thorns. Grab firm, but not so firm as to let the thorns pierce your skin. Now pull straight up. You may have to turn loose a couple of times and get a better grip. You may have to apply a little more water and soak it. But using this technique will work eventually. While pulling up be sure to pull slowly, don’t get impatient. As you are pulling slowly, you will feel each root as it gives way. Till that final huge root is set free.

Now, as careful as you are, you may still get a poke from a thorn, you may pull out a veggie that wasn’t quite as big as the others or you may disturb the growth of one that is well established. But all is not lost. When you see that you have been wounded by the thorn, apply a triple antibiotic as quickly as possible. If you pulled a veggie you didn’t intend to, check to make sure it can’t be replanted. If it can not, see if you can use it some where else (soups, compost pile etc). And lastly the plant you disturbed, unintentionally.

First build up some soil around it. Make sure it’s watered well, check on it daily. Apply water, fertilizer and whatever else you think it needs, don’t baby it. It will never be able to thrive if you do. It will rely only on you to get it through. But most of all, talk to it. Every living thing, whether in dirt, walking around or disturbed likes to be talked to. You’ll be surprised how far this step will get you! Especially if done in love!

So whether you are literally weeding out your garden bed. Or maybe the garden bed of your life. Be gentle, stay on top of it, don’t let it get away from you. But if you do, get on top of it as quickly as possible. Applying the steps above, however they need to be applied.

Here’s to a great harvest season!

“So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.” - Galatians 6:9-10 MSG