This Sunday is Mother’s Day. The first Mother’s Day in the United States was observed at a small church in West Virginia in 1908. I could fill the entire column with the history, but I won’t, but it’s an interesting read if you want to give it a shot. Like most everything, you can find it online. Contrary to what some believe, Mother’s Day was not created by Hallmark as a money making scheme. Millions will be spent on cards, candy, flowers, and other gifts this weekend to show appreciation for the millions of moms who not only brought us into the world, but turned grey raising us. I’ll miss my mom again this year; she would have been 103 last month. I had a great loving childhood and learned a lot from mom. She along with help from my dad taught me respect, values, and ethics, sometimes missing in today’s culture. She also taught me life skills, such as cooking, cleaning, and how to separate the whites from the darks when washing clothes. She also taught me hiding Playboy magazines under the bed was a poor choice of hiding places. Not a week goes by I don’t think about mom, she’s been gone for 20 years but I still remember her calling my name. It’s funny; I could always tell by just the inflection in her voice whether her calling me was going to be a good experience or bad.
I could fill a book with great mom stories, and I’m sure many of you could as well. One story came to mind last week when I heard of the death of Baltimore Colts legend and Hall of Fame member Gino Marchetti. He was often called one of the greatest defensive ends in the game. Being from Baltimore, mom loved her Colts, Orioles and the men who played the games. It was a time in the early 60s when pro-football was still a game and not big business. Many of the players lived in Baltimore during the off season, often working other jobs to supplement their incomes. It wasn’t unusual to run into players at restaurants, drug stores, or even the grocery store. I remember accompanying mom and dad to the local Food Fair grocery store as a sophomore in high school. She picked the groceries, dad paid, and I carried. It was a weekly ritual. On one trip, Gino Marchetti was making a promotional appearance at the Northwood store and greeting customers. Now mom was barely 5 feet tall and Gino was six-four, just picture the contrast. Mom got so excited when she saw him, she began hugging him and shaking his hand, and as she did she popped one of her new hard contact lenses from her eye onto the store floor. The scene that followed with mom, Gino, and me scouring the cereal aisle on our hands and knees for at least 10 minutes was burned into my memory forever. Yes, Gino found it before anyone stepped on it. I’m sure many of you have funny and loving memories of your moms as well. For those of you who still have your moms with you, I envy you. My mom will be in my heart forever, but for those of you planning on celebrating Mother’s Day with yours this Sunday, I say “If you’ve got em, hug em.”