My Mother

My mother was the wisest person I’ve ever known. Too bad I didn’t realize it until she was gone.

Looking back, I can think of numerous times she advised me to do or not to do something and I ignored her wise counsel.

“Cledaisms.”

Mother was special. She had all kinds of quotes, to which I refer to as Cledaisms.”

One of her favorites was, “everybody’s crow’s the blackest. “ Let me interpret what I think she meant. We all think our kids are the smartest, cutest, or most talented. It has to do with people bragging about something. Or, maybe that’s not what she meant at all. But whatever the meaning, it’s etched in my brain, and I’ve caught myself saying it on occasion.

Another favorite of mine is, “you never fly so high, but what you don’t let.” Huh? The grammar police would have a field day with this one. Grammarly is pinging me as I type. But this pertains, I think, to people who are “uppity” or believe they are better than others.

My all time favorite quote is “we were so poor we didn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of.” Mother did have a way with words.  This one is self-explanatory. She lived in Kentucky and times were rough. They were dirt poor. But the move to Ohio gave them opportunities to have a good life outside the “hollers” and they did.

Grandmother

My mother made it clear she didn’t want to be called “grandma” when her grandkids were born. She was “Mom-Mom.”

She was the best “Mom-Mom” a grandchild could have. Maybe that was because she knew her mother had missed the mark with grandparenting.

Her grandkids meant the world to her. Which brings me to another “Cledaism.”  My sisters and I always thought mother showed favoritism toward her son. Of course, being the only boy, I guess that’s understandable.

As her grandchildren were born, her partiality for boys manifested again. She seemed to pay more attention to a certain grandson (who shall remain nameless) than she did our kids. When I brought up my feelings to her, she shocked me with her reply. I expected some profuse apology and pledge to do better. But she said, “I don’t love any one of my grandchildren more than the other, but the child makes the difference.” 

I didn’t fully understand what she meant until I had my grandchildren. When you live close to them (down the block) and are involved in their lives, of course, you’re going to be closer to them. Not because you love the other ones less, but because circumstances beyond anyone’s control prevents the opportunity to build a close bond.

Don’t get me wrong; we were all over the moon when Dennie had his first son. He, after all, would carry on the Evans name. We loved that little guy, and he was spoiled by all, including his aunts. I think we all accepted the fact this baby boy was the heir apparent.

Christmas at Mom-Mom’s

What a time we all had at Christmas. It was the one time of the year that mother splurged big time.

The tree was decorated right after Thanksgiving.  Outside lights were strung on the outside of the house. Dad spent hours testing and replace those big colored bulbs because Mother wanted the decorations up early.

My fondest memory was when Mom and I would take the bus to downtown Cincinnati to shop. The best time was when it was snowing. Downtown was magical. The stores, and decorations, and Salvation bell ringer on the corners, the horse and buggies, the music, and of course, Santa Clause. Those are some sweet memories.

Presents were strewn under the tree. As the family grew, so did the pile of gifts. Mother was sure every person had the same amount spent on them. I can remember times when she would put money in an envelope for one child or grandchildren to make up the difference in the amount she spent on another. It had to be even; no one would be slighted.

Character

A lot could be said about Cleda (no middle name) Evans. She was a strong, independent women. She worked outside the home before it was fashionable for a woman to do so. Remember, I’m talking the early fifties. But she did it to help provide for her family. Mother would work nights so she could be home during the day with her kids. Mom sacrificed much for her husband and children.

She was honest and opinionated. You knew what she meant, and she meant what she said. Integrity could also describe her.

Mother had bouts of depression; life wasn’t always easy for her. But she persevered with determination to get through whatever crisis she faced.

Matriarch

Webster defines this word as ‘a woman who rules or dominates a family, group, or state; specifically:  a mother who is head and ruler of her family and descendants.’ 

That describes Cleda Evans perfectly. She was the glue that held the family together.

The original Otis Evans family has dwindled over the years. But those of us who remain and knew this lady know what an amazing person she was.

I am proud she was my Mother. I miss her every day. When events occur in my life or those of my children, my first thought is I wish Mom were here to witness this.

I know she would be proud of all her children and grandchildren.

My biggest regret is some of you didn’t get to meet her before she went home to be with her Lord.

I know this for sure when I die my Mother will be standing next to Jesus waiting to welcome me home.

 

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Mother