When things start gearing up all over, you know it’s May. Not only is Spring really catching hold, but people also seem to be in better moods and my sneezing is slacking off.

Keep in mind that besides Cinco de Mayo, May is Beef Month, Egg Month, Hamburger Month, Loaded Potato Month and Salsa Month. Put all that together and we’ve got ourselves Comfort Food Month.

The big doings coming up are New Mexico Tech’s commencement and graduation exercises at the high schools, but in between is the day reserved for the one person who gave us life. Sure, Dad had something to do with it, but at the time his main job was to smoke his pipe and pace around wearing out the linoleum floor in the maternity ward waiting room.

The idea of honoring mothers goes way back to early Greek times when the goddess Rhea gave birth to Zeus, and the pantheon of gods followed. Or so the story goes.
Early Christians had “Mothering Sunday,” which was always on the fourth Sunday of Lent.

In the U.S., Mother’s Day became a thing – in the secular world – in 1908 after Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia conceived the idea of an annual nationwide celebration. Not surprisingly, the public and the press embraced the idea, and villages, towns, cities, and states soon sponsored unofficial Mother’s Day observances. In 1914, President Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Now, it’s observed from here to Timbuktu in some shape, form or fashion.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but off the record I’ll admit that even now, without thinking, get the urge to send her a card or give her a call. But … no … she died in 2002. That’s when it hits home that there is less time than we think we have to talk with our mom and dad. Unlike a tape recorder, you can’t hit rewind. You only have today with them and, with a bit of luck, tomorrow.

In the 89 years before Mrs. Larson shuffled off this mortal coil, she lived to see all the innovations and upheavals of the last century. When she entered the world, men were flying biplanes, movies were silent, and there was no television. Heck, there wasn’t even radio. I mean, if you wanted entertainment, you had to have a piano in your parlor.

By the time she passed, astronauts were tooling around in the space shuttle, and movies at the local multiplex were classified from G to NC-17.

She was born on the family’s cotton farm in Tennessee and during her lifetime saw not only the emergence of the atomic age and TV dinners but also straight through to personal computers, cell phones, and the internet, as well as the Great Depression and two world wars. Not to mention civil rights, Vietnam, and seeing Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.

That sixties decade was possibly the most difficult for her, if for no other reason than me playing my Beatles records day in and day out. Like most mothers, she would bug me about doing my homework and hassle me about staying out too late on Friday night, but I don’t recall her ever saying a word about my “Beatle” haircut.

In fact, years later, my mother – at 66 years old – cried when she heard John Lennon was dead. I don’t know if she was a huge fan of the Beatles, but she knew I was and I think she was crying for what she saw as my loss.

That’s what mothers do. Talk about executive skills.

End of sentimental digression.

In observance of the day, I’m compiling my own mix tape of “mother” songs, but the Rolling Stones’ “Mother’s Little Helper” or “Tie Your Mother Down” by Queen are not what I’m talking about here.

No, they’ll be along the lines of “Mama Loves Me Like A Rock” by Paul Simon and the one Jimi Hendrix recorded about his late mother called “Sweet Angel.”

The above-mentioned Beatles had a couple of good mother songs, such as “Your Mother Should Know” and “Let It Be,” honoring Mary McCartney, written by her son Paul. And don’t forget “Julia,” from John Lennon in memory of his mother, who was run over by a car when he was a teenager.

Then I’m also adding in “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard, Three Dog Night’s “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” and one of her favorites, Johnny Cash’s “Don’t Take Your Guns To Town.”
And then there’s the heartfelt “Brass Buttons” by Gram Parsons, who lost his mother the day he graduated from high school that goes:
“Her words still dance inside my head,
Her comb still lies beside her bed
And the sun comes up without her,
It just doesn’t know she’s gone.”