Mother's Day is coming up. Don't just send a card or flowers. If you can, go to them. If you can't go, then call them on the telephone; put into words what you feel. If you are blessed enough to still have your mother, please, tell her how much you love her!
John had been on the road visiting clients for more than three weeks.<注1> He couldn't wait to get back to Ohio<注2> to see his wife and children. It was coming up on Mother's Day, and he usually tried to make it "back home", but this year he was just too tired. He was in a small town just outside of Little Rock<注3> when he drove by a flower shop. He said to himself, "I know what I will do, I'll send Mom some roses."
He went into the small shop and saw a young man talking to the clerk. "How many roses can I get for Six dollars, ma'am?" the boy asked. The clerk was trying to explain that roses were expensive. Maybe the young man would be happy with carnations.<注4>
"No. I have to have roses," he said. "My Mom was sick so much last year and I didn't get to spend much time with her. I want to get something special. It has to be red roses, 'cause that's her favorite." He was emphatic.<注5>
The clerk looked up at John and was just shaking her head. Something inside of John was touched by the boy's voice. He wanted to get those roses so bad.<注6> John had been blessed in his business, and he looked at the clerk and silently mouthed that he would pay for the boy's roses.<注7>
The clerk looked at the young man and said, "Okay, I will give you a dozen red roses for your six dollars." The young man almost jumped into the air.<注8> He took the flowers and ran from the store. It was worth the extra thirty-five dollars just to see that kind of excitement.
John ordered his own flowers and had the clerk to be sure that delivery would include a note telling his mother how much he loved her.<注9> As he drove away from the shop, he was feeling very good. He caught a light about two blocks from the shop.<注10> As he waited at the light, he saw the young boy walking down the sidewalk. He watched him cross the street and enter a park through two huge gates. Suddenly, he realized it wasn't a park. It was a cemetery.<注11> He could see the young man turn there by gate and walk along the fence.
The light changed, and John slowly crossed the intersection. He pulled over and on an impulse got out and began to follow the boy down the fence line.<注12> John was on the sidewalk, thirty or forty steps behind the boy, who walked inside the cemetery fence. The young man stopped by a small monument and went to his knees. He carefully laid the roses on the grave and began to sob. John felt like an intruder but he couldn't leave.<注13> He stared at the little boy's heaving body and listened to his muted crying.<注14>
As he cried, he heard the young man speak, "Mommy, oh Mommy, why didn't I tell you how much I love you. Why didn't I tell you one more time? Jesus, please, find my Mommy. Tell my Mommy I love her."
John turned, tears in his eyes, and walked back to his car. He drove quickly to the florist and told her he would take the flowers personally.<注15> He wanted to be sure and tell his Mother one more time just how much he loved her.-
M - O - T - H - E - R
By Howard Johnson (c. 1915)
"M" is for the million things she gave me,
"O" means only that she's growing old,
"T" is for the tears she shed to save me,
"H" is for her heart of purest gold;
"E" is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
"R" means right, and right she'll always be,
Put them all together, they spell
A word that means the world to me.