A little brown paper bag sits on the top of a tall bookcase in my office. The top of the bag is rolled over and it looks just the way it did when I carried it out of the hardware store in Roanoke, Alabama.
I recently opened it, wanting to count the contents. My mother was a school teacher and a missionary, my Daddy was a Navy sailor and had a way with a deck of cards - I’m a mathematician. I count things.
There were nine pecans in the bag.
I don’t remember the last time I opened it.
However, I do remember when I got the little brown bag of pecans. It was the last little shopping spree I went on with my Mama back in 2011.
How I miss her… On this day, she bought me a denim jacket, two pair of jeans, some spiced peaches, walnuts and that little brown bag of nine pecans.
Mama loved doing things like this for me and for others…
Thinking about pecans, you would think a true Southerner would know a little more about them …. I love pecan pie, I love pralines, I even love picking them up with one of those sticks that looks like it has a spring or some sort of horizontal Slinky attached to it..
I looked at my nine pecans. I know the type they are – “Desirables.”
With a little research (and imagination), I found the word “pecan” comes from a Native American word meaning, “You need to whomp it with a rock to crack it open” or a Southern word that means “You need a stick with a horizontal Slinky on the end to pick it up.”
A pecan is technically not a nut, it is a fruit with a single stone or pit – it is more specifically a “drupe.” So it is a fruit and it has a husk around it and you make pies out of the seeds in the middle.
Being a numbers guy, I try to understand or find the meaning of numbers.
Having sat in church on many Sundays, now and in the past, somewhere in between eating Vanilla Wafers and Cheese Crackers under the pews to my present position of “Official Left Door Usher” four months out of the year at my church, I have heard about the “9 Fruits” more than one time.
Rest assured that I am not going to preach a sermon about Paul and his letter to the Galatian folks. I’m not going to talk about circumcision; I will note that my mother tried to explain it to me when I was young and I still remember it as being “painfully funny.” Mama was a missionary and a school teacher, but she didn’t necessarily know how to explain some medical procedures.
However, those nine fruits Paul talked about are very applicable when we are thinking of our mothers. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are all qualities we think of on Mother’s Day.
All you have to do is go to the grocery store and watch a mommy trying to handle two or three kids, keep them in a shopping cart, use coupons, keep little hands and feet out of harm’s way and make it through the checkout line. It is entertaining to watch, but you watch it knowing that she will have to do again tomorrow and the next day.
Those nine pecans also remind me that I’m not perfect. With Mama gone, I’ll never be a “ten” again… I would like to think I was perfect in my Mama’s eyes, but I know better.
Mothers accept us as we are, being (far) less than perfect. After thinking about this, I counted the pecans once more thinking that nine may have been too many. There should have only been three or four pecans in that bag. One of my brothers might be worth nine – but not me.
I was with her when we bought them – they are mine and there are nine.
How about the nine months Mama carried me around? Goodness Gracious - that is one thing only mothers know about.
That is a pretty big Wow… It makes me think that one Mother’s Day a year isn’t nearly enough…
Maybe we need nine?
No, that’s not enough either.
Every day should be Mother’s Day.
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