“There is nothing better for a person than that they should eat and drink and find enjoyment in their toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from Him who can have enjoyment?” — Ecclesiastes 2:24
My Mom didn’t have an easy life. Most people born in 1919 didn’t. But in her nearly 90 years on this earth, I hardly ever saw her when she didn’t find enjoyment in her toil, whatever it was on that day. I know she found enjoyment in eating because she was a great cook and did her best to help teach me that as well. And she enjoyed her favorite drink — sweet tea, her extra high carb homemade double sugar lemonade and Dr. Pepper (now my friends know where my love for DP came from). She would drink a Dr. Pepper just about anytime. Not as structured as my Dad, who would look at his watch when asked if he wanted one. He wanted to make sure it was either 10, 2 or 4. She didn’t have a lot of material possessions, but she was always a lady and made the most of what she had. Even though she’s been gone for years, I still smile on a regular basis thinking about what she would have said or done. And is so awesome to see a bit of her pop up in my daughter and granddaughters on a regular basis. It’s amazing.
But she did let her hair down, not worry about how she looked and whooped and hollered on occasion. Rarely mind you, but on occasion. Most of those occasions were out in a 14-foot aluminum Duracraft fishing boat. As an only child, I spent many a day in the back of that boat, running the three-horse Evinrude outboard with Mom in the middle and Dad up front with the custom wooden paddle he made himself in the shop class he taught. Bussey Brake. Mom had her own cane pole and nobody fished with it but her. If you did, somehow she knew. The Ouachita River. Lake D’Arbonne. Gassoway. Even Toledo Bend. They all got to see the show.
I have to pause and share one of Mom’s favorite fish stories. One day Mom and Dad were fishing at Toledo Bend with their boat tied to the same snag as another boat holding her friends, Nan and O.B. Copeland. They were fishing for white perch (we didn’t know what a crappie was in those days). In those early days, you could tie up to one spot on Toledo and run out of shiners catching big old white perch. Mom and O.B. both got a bite at about the same time. After a good fight they both pulled up their fish. The same fish. One fish. Two hooks in it’s mouth. Mom was notorious for not paying attention to her cork and apparently the fish hit her shiner, swam around a minute and then hit O.B.’s. They caught the same fish. I can only imagine the “enjoyment” that was going on at that point. And no, I don’t know who kept the fish, but I have a pretty good idea. If you had a couple of years to read, I’d share more.
We often write about having Dads who teach us to fish and love the outdoors. Mine did that. But I really think that finding enjoyment in that toil for me mostly came from my Mom. Like my enjoyment of fishing, good food and Dr. Pepper. She even hollered at a referee or umpire now and then. And now you know where I got that from, too. And she loved “toiling” on the lake…. And I know she came from the Hand of God. And I’m not even sad today, because I know she’s there with Him in his Heavenly kingdom.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms out there, especially my wife DiAnne, the “Mom” who made me eligible to celebrate Father’s Day! And to my daughter, Julie, and daughter-in-law, Lauren, who are great Moms and made me eligible to celebrate Grandparent’s Day!
I’ll close today with this. God wants us to serve Him, but know He wants us to enjoy the pleasures of this life along the way. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t have given us so many good things and so many good people to celebrate the enjoyment of our toils with.
Beautifully said about your precious Mother!! She was so special!! Mike Smith
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