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Thu, Feb. 27

Column: Moms teach more than we remember

Are you planning something special on Mother's Day? The "Big Day" is right around the corner, so get prepared to celebrate! The thought of so many caring adults and children, scurrying around kitchens, cooking up breakfasts, doing extra chores, delivering bouquets of flowers, giving cards of appreciation, making long distance phone calls, and saying "thanks" in a million little ways is sweet music to all mothers' ears. It's good to remember Mom!

Mothers gave us our roots. They knew us before we knew ourselves. Their memories of us go far and beyond what we can conjure up. They were another generation, perhaps a whole other era, but remain relevant in a timeless fashion throughout our lives. There is always something to learn about (and from) our mothers. Some moms just can't stop teaching.

My mother is in her late eighties (her actual age is an obscure, little known fact) and on every visit, she gives my two daughters and me (plus grandsons) quite a few cooking lessons. She has perfected the art of cookie baking to a height that few of us may ever reach. Her best "big meal" is the English style "roast-of-beef" with roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding, which if done correctly, is possibly the most delicious dinner you might ever enjoy. I don't do it correctly very often.

My mother usually sighs deeply when she realizes my baking utensils, meat racks, cookie presses, and other equipment are "not up to par." Any good chef will tell you that "proper cooking tools" are the first step to success. My mother agrees. She also believes that ingredients are essential. Just ask the three butchers at Fry's, and they will confirm this. My mother had the three men literally running back and forth showing her various cuts of beef, until, after twenty minutes, the "this will do" roast was finally presented. Then, my mother showed us how to transform an "acceptable" piece of beef into a mouth-watering, delicious feast.

Mothers taught us more lessons than we can ever remember, and if we're lucky, we'll take the most valuable ones and pass them on. A man in Prescott said his mother never held a job outside of the home, but adopted three children, and gave everyone the "foundation to be a good, decent, productive human being." It has been said that, "there is no love like a mother's love." Why is this? Perhaps because Moms gave us the tools to withstand all manner of challenges, the capacity to grow into our unique selves, and the safe harbor of unconditional love that is the rarest gift of all.

Mothers cannot be placed in a singular mold. A woman in Dewey claimed her mother wasn't exactly June Cleaver. "She drank hard liquor, smoked too much, never cooked, swore often, liked to gamble, but was also very loving." What's the legacy here? The woman says her Mom believed in the "freedom to be yourself" and was generous to everyone. Sounds like a beautiful lesson.

Some people, who have lost their moms or children struggle during Mother's Day, reminded of what was and what could have been. So, Dear Readers, let's put our collective arms around those who need a hug and offer encouragement. I only see my mother three or four months out of the year, so I have gladly "adopted" a kind, friend named Mary, to be my "other mom." We can never have too many mothers! Plus, there are also plenty of "children" of all ages who need a mother's love.

Recipes come in many shapes and forms. This is what Moms of all ages seem to specialize in - handing us recipes to put to use in our lives. The kitchen is only one small part of the "cooking class" that takes place when we consider the enormous influence our mothers have on our lives. Life is like cookie dough . . . so how's your life shaping up? What lessons have you learned? When's the last time you loved unconditionally? Do you believe in the power to "be yourself?"

I look forward to my mother visiting again soon. So, I have been upgrading my utensils, searching for the best ingredients and warning all of the butchers at the local grocery stores. Anyone wanting a cooking class, come on over. And if you have a "loving recipe" to share about your Mom, be sure to write it down and pass it along.

Bon Appetite!

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor who lives in Skull Valley. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at

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