My mom and dad met during the last years of the “Great Depression.” They had lived through some very tough times, with both working any job they could find to help support their respective families.
My mother clerked in a drugstore during the day and as a “carhop” at a drive-in restaurant at night.
With little or no money in his pocket my dad took the only job he could find, driving a taxi 16 hours a day before retiring to sleep in the taxi at night. Everything he owned was in a battered suitcase in the trunk of the taxi.
They met when Dad, weary from his 16-hour day, pulled into a drive-in restaurant for dinner, consisting of a single burger and a cup of ice water. He often told me that the girl who waited on him was “the prettiest girl he had ever seen,” and she was.
Mom and Dad were married two years later.
With the end of the Depression, opportunities were greater. Dad had saved enough money to go into business for himself, and together they purchased a small, two-bedroom house on Indian River Creek, in Hampton, Virginia.
My brother was born one year later.
With new and added responsibilities Dad worked even longer hours, leaving the house at six in the morning, returning home as late as midnight.
Now, with a two-year-old son and a very pregnant wife to care for, Dad fell into bed exhausted from a hard day at work when it dawned on him that the next day, Sunday, was Mother’s Day and he had not gotten a gift for the prettiest girl he had ever seen — Mom.
As he tossed and turned into the early morning, fretting about his failure to have a gift, Mom tapped him on the shoulder and in a soft voice said, “I think it’s time to go to the hospital.”
Mom, Dad and my two-year-old brother were packed into the car and were off to the hospital and, as it turned out, none too soon.
I was delivered one hour later at 5:15 a.m. on Mother’s Day, the gift dad had forgotten he had for my mother.
Seeing that Mom was doing well, Dad took my older brother to his grandmother’s house for a pre-arranged stay. He returned to the hospital, red roses in hand for a Mother’s Day, always remembered.
Mom always told me it was the best Mother’s Day she had ever had, and that I was the best Mother’s Day gift anyone could receive.
For as long as she lived, Mom treated me as if there was no doubt in her mind that was how she felt.
I loved her very much.
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