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Mother’s Day brings memories of being triply blessed

May 13, 2019

You only had one mother?

I had three and there’s no doubt I was blessed.

When I lost my first mother, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to me. Lois Genevieve Duncan Peyton, the mother who gave me life, died when I was about nine. She and I had walked across the road after sundown to get some cow’s milk from a neighbor who had cows.

Mommy sat down across from me in the neighbor’s living room, took one deep breath and fell to the floor, never to draw another breath. The doctor wrote “heart attack” on the death certificate

For a nine-year-old, it was a nightmare. What was I going to do without my mother? Dad was not a lover or a nurturer. He was my dad in the old tradition.

Little did I know the fates would provide me with two more mothers.

As soon as my mother gave birth to me at St. Mary’s Hospital, she had a tumor removed and had to remain in the hospital and in bed at home for two months.

That’s when Aunt Jimmy took her place.

Her name was Virginia. She was my mother’s sister and she took care of me 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the first two months of my life. We developed a bond that continued until she died.

I couldn’t say “Virginia” as a young child so I called her Aunt Jimmy. The nickname caught on. Everyone called her Jimmy except my Uncle Wendell (Aunt Jimmy’s brother-in-law), who called her “James.”

Uncle Wendell was a piece of work.

I spent hours, days and even six weeks with Aunt Jimmy when Dad went to a hospital in the Midwest for treatments for his rheumatoid arthritis.

She made a birthday cake for my first birthday and continued making those cakes for me for about 40 years. Chocolate cake with chocolate fudge icing, made from scratch, of course. It was what I requested. I can still taste those cakes.

My father eventually married a widow from western Kentucky. Her name was Ruby. God bless her, she took care of me through my teenage years. Long suffering doesn’t describe her life as my stepmother.

I have memories of all three of my mothers. Every time I look at the old cornbread skillet that my mother used to make cornbread, I think of her.

And tucked away in a kitchen cabinet is a complete set of Desert Rose china Aunt Jimmy gave Susie and me after our marriage. Aunt Jimmy loved Susie and Susie says the feeling was mutual.

And we still use pots and pans that Ruby used when she prepared dinner for my dad and me.

I have heard stories from some of my friends about their relationships with their mothers. All of the stories are not happy. Some are downright sad.

My wish for you this Mother’s Day is that you have fond memories of your mother (or mothers) as I have.

If so, you are as blessed as I am.

Dave Peyton is on Facebook. His email address is davepeyton@comcast.net.