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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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To Momma

The clusters of red roses which spring up with all of the rain we've had lately reminds me of an old custom.

When I was growing up, there were two Sundays in the year that were special. One was Easter, but it wasn't special in the way the world saw it. It was special because my brothers and sister and I would get some new clothes — a new pair of slacks and a sport coat, a pair of "Sunday" shoes, a shirt and tie.

The other Sunday was Mother's Day. Typically, after I had gotten all ready for church, Momma would tell me to go outside and get a rose bud from the bush on the east side of our house. When I was very young, I wondered "why?" And while pinning the ruby red bud to the lapel of my new sport coat, Momma would tell me that it was a custom to wear a red rose to show that my mother was still alive. White roses meant mothers were dead.

Then at church services I'd watch for the roses — both red and white ones. If a whole family wore red roses (I figured out), then that mother and both grandmothers were alive. Curiosity always, however, made me linger in thought on the white ones. "What would it be like not to have Momma," I'd wonder. I didn't like that thought.

Who would have taken her place as I was growing up? Who else could have sat on my bed at night listening to my dreams and my frustrations? Who else could have made certain I got all my homework done and that I got delivered to my grass cutting jobs? Nobody like my Momma.

Nobody cried with me for hours when old Bo, the best dog in the whole world, died in 1968. Through pneumonia, measles, turned ankles, and stitches, nobody pampered me like Momma.

It's been 10 years now since Momma passed away. I still think of her quite often. But when Mother's Day rolls around, I fmd myself becoming a little boy again and reminiscing about days gone by. I love you, Momma!

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward