I see you brown-haired, bright-eyed, full of strength and energy. I see you serving dinner to people around a big table. I see you working in the garden, then in the kitchen canning tomatoes, peaches, green beans, applesauce. I see you leading teens in a story-telling game around a campfire. I see you at your sewing machine turning yards of cloth into beautiful dresses. I see you packing a picnic of fried chicken and buttered bread and pudding to serve to us under a tree out at Grandpa’s farm.
I see you nursing a baby, brushing pony tails, ironing camp clothes, throwing paper route newspapers from a Voltswagon window. I see you placing a picture of daffodils on the breakfast table and setting plates for pancakes. I see you telling a story, reading a book, shaping bread dough into rolls, hanging children’s dresses on the clothesline. I see you washing children’s faces, sweeping and mopping floors, tying a little boy’s necktie, searching for one child’s lost shoe.
I see you kissing our Daddy on the head, smoothing a tablecloth onto the table, welcoming people at the door, tying a bright floral scarf on your neck. I see you arranging stems of pussy willow in a gray crockery vase in the spring, gladiolas in it in the summer, bright leaves in the same vase in the fall. I see you stitching dolls for children, dresses for school girls, hemming aprons, and upholstering a sofa. I see you praying for a little girl in a hospital, carrying a casserole dish of supper to an ailing friend, writing a letter to a relative. I see you talking theology with a room full of college students.
I see you reading books in the sunshine on the river dock or on the glider facing the lake. I see you comforting others. I see you rocking sleepy babies in your favorite rocking chair with the wide wooden arms supported by wagon wheels. I see you cooking, feeding, coaching, tending, reaching, serving, helping, teaching, guiding, working and living purposefully through the years.
And oh, how I do miss you! You are so far away, across five states and when I see you you are white-haired, still bright-eyed, but quieter and fragile. You have changed, but I remember your vibrant years when you cared for nine children and kept our home so well. I remember all the love and fun and goodness you sewed into our hearts. I still love you dearly, Mama, and think you are the most beautiful Mama in the world!