I’m a dog mom. Does that qualify me to celebrate Mothers Day?

Maybe not – but I have a lot of moms to celebrate. This isn’t a new idea I just came up with. I wanted to post a special tribute to some of the women who have been like a mom to me. And to my own mom, Nancy

All the love and memories came crashing in while I was frying potatoes (“fried taters” in these parts) for supper, because it reminded me of my Aunt Bobbie, my mom’s sister. She taught me how to fry taters. She also taught me how to make cornbread. I remember it well, standing in her kitchen on Riverside Drive many years ago. I was so excited. She had two wonderful sons who she loved with everything in her, but never had a daughter of her own.  She became like a mom to me.

All of my mom’s sisters (I believe there were about eight girls in all) were like mothers to me in one way or another.

Aunt Shirley taught me to laugh and have fun in the kitchen. I loved her kitchen with all its aromas — especially the smell of Uncle Dempsey’s Butternut cakes. She also taught me what proper sweet tea should taste like and that you shouldn’t ever let anybody leave your house hungry.

Sunday suppers at Aunt Faye’s house came complete with Pistachio cake. My cousin Valerie (Faye’s daughter), always had to wash the dishes and I helped. I loved looking out her kitchen window over the sink while I rinsed and dried.

I loved going up to the country to my Aunt (Lucille) Cille’s house. It was a treat riding those curvy roads to Nickelsville, Virginia. I spent summers there riding my bike all over town with my cousins and their friends. Aunt Cille and Uncle Bruce had the biggest gardens of anybody and the best fresh vegetables. There was always a big meal on the table. Evenings after supper and Sunday afternoons were often spent sitting out on the carport, warm summer breezes blowing in.

My Aunt Nina taught me that you should always look your best wherever you were going. I watched her put on makeup and curl her lashes and hair to go out. It fascinated me. She, my mom and some of the other sisters would put Toni perms in each other’s hair. The smell of the perm solution just about ran me out of the room, but I sat there taking it all in, gaining a lot of fashion knowledge, along with a little news about the goings on in the family.

I surely don’t want to leave anybody out — there was also Aunt ‘Rene (Irene) who had the cleanest house this side of the Mississippi. She let Uncle Everson put his deer heads on the walls, but they had to be placed just so. I could tell, even with their beady eyes following me everywhere around the room. Aunt ‘Rene’s house was at the top of what’s probably the highest point in Weber City, Virginia. We could see all over the place sitting outside in the front yard — even over into Holston View Cemetery where my mamaw and papaw rest.

My Aunt Joyce taught me the importance of being strong no matter what. One of most resilient women I ever knew, she passed way too young.

My dad’s sister, Sarah, raised four boys well. All of them grew up to be fine men. She taught me the importance of adapting to changing situations. She, too, would have loved to had a daughter to go with all those boys and took me home with her to spend the night whenever she could.

Grandmothers can teach you a lot, too. My Mamaw Moles (my dad’s mom) taught me that a girl can drive a big ol boat of a car (made entirely of real metal) through the interstate traffic of Greensboro, North Carolina without an ounce of fear! Well,  she had no fear — I saw my life flash before my eyes a few times the day I took that road trip with her.

Mamaw Dockery taught me the worth of a good story. Told just the right way, it can hold a kid spellbound and out of mischief (like jumping on the bed). How I would love to sit and listen again to her tell the story about the headless Civil War soldier she saw walking up her front steps over in Fort Blackmore. Ghosts seem to be more prevalent out in the country.

Saving the best for last, but not nearly least — my own mom taught me about Jesus and the importance of being part of a church family. It’s something I still value so much in my life. Mom also liked to cook and put big meals on the table. Her Sunday suppers were some of the best. We usually had roast and potatoes with plenty of home canned green beans. If it was summer when gardens were in, there would also be a salad or killed lettuce and onions. Ok – now I’m hungry again.

I guess the thread running through this quilt of family memories is that all of them fed me in some way. Whether it was food or a life lesson, I am better for having known each of them. They are and will always be influences that helped shape me into who I am today.

I’d love to know — what are some memories of women who helped shape you?