Mother accepted my friends as they were and they loved her for it. They liked the way she listened to their troubles and the clear advice she gave to them without preaching.
She made treasures out of simple things, be it clothes, crafts or cooking.
An incident happened when I was twelve years old that made me appreciate Mother. Up until that time, I had accepted her without realizing how important she was to me.
Mabel, who was almost thirteen, had asked me to go wading in Bill's Creek with Olive, Irene, and Esther. We twelve year old girls planned to take some snacks and picnic on the creek bank. However, I had forgotten to tell Mother about our plans for lunch.
All of us lived along Red Hill Dirt Road. My home was the last house before the creek. When the girls stopped for me, Mabel said, "Don't forget your cheese and crackers."
Hanging my head downward, I flushed miserably. The blood pounded in my temples. I had forgotten to tell Mother about the food.
"Mother, can I have something to eat to take along'?" I sheepishly asked.
"I don't have anything that's suitable for a picnic." Mother said. "You need food that's easy to handle."
"We've enough cheese and crackers for everyone," Mabel said.
I felt ashamed.
At the creek, Mabel laid the food on the sand at the water's edge.
We began wading and splashing in the cold spring fed stream. Although we held our skirts above our knees, the hems of our dresses became water soaked.
The water's coldness on our feet and legs made our teeth chatter on that hot summer day.
My foot slipped off a rock and I tumbled into the icey water. Shivering and shaking from head to toe, I hurried to the sandbar to get some of the sun's warmth.
Soon, the other girls began to chill and got out of the water to bask in the sun. "Look!" Olive yelled. "Our lunch. The crackers are floating and the cheese is wet."
We hungry girls had no luck trying to eat the soggy crackers, but we chewed the cheese and shook in silence.
A shadow fell upon us. Mother.
"I thought you girls would be hungry by this time," she said. "I brought you a basket of food."
Mother handed each of us two warm biscuits filled with bacon, lettuce and tomato.
We ate like starved dogs. Mother had a biscuit sandwich with us, but she didn't act famished like us.
"I'11 bet President Roosevelt isn't eating this good." Esther said.
"Mrs. Hunt, this is the best food." Irene told Mother. "It's delicious."
"These biscuits are so good." Olive declared. "I could eat a dozen of them."
"You knew we would be as hungry as hounds." Mabel said.
"Garnet," Irene told me. "Your Mother is a prize."
"Mrs. Hunt, what can we do for you?" Mabel asked. "We'll stop by your house and wash the dishes."
"They're washed," Mother told her. "I cleaned up everything before I left."
"You had to build a fire in your cook stove to get the oven hot enough to bake the biscuits. You had to stand over that heat to fry bacon for us." Mabel said.
"Girls, you thank Mrs. Hunt and tell her that we appreciate her," Irene told us. "Garnet has a wonderful mother."
"We'll walk back with you." Olive said as she grabbed the basket. "I'11 carry your basket."
My friends rated Mother higher than I did. They made me realize how precious she was.
Years later, after we got an all-electric home, I thought about Mother standing over the hot wood stove and cooking that lunch for my friends and me.
I truly wonder if I appreciated the hardships Mother went through for me during my childhood. I doubt that any children cherish their mothers as they should.
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