(Unless otherwise noted, the Kathryn Tucker Windham blog is written by her children, Ben Windham and Dilcy Windham Hilley.)
Mother’s Day is nearly upon us. It’s a sweet occasion and important to many mamas who look forward to that special time.
While my mother was in this world, we never celebrated Mother’s Day. She thought it was an insult to allot a measly 24 hours to recognize the person who does a yeoman’s job year-round. Just an insult!
But because she was widely loved, people often sent her Mother’s Day greetings and little gifts. Mother, of course, appreciated all the gestures of affection but often had little use for the gifts she received. The presents usually wound up in the top of the hall closet along with an assortment of gift bags and bows that were “perfectly good for reusing.”
One Mother’s Day, I asked my mother if she had any guilt about storing away the things that the well-intended sent her. Instead of answering me, she went to her room and returned with her Bible. She thumbed through it and pulled from the worn pages a yellowed clipping. It was a poem by Jane Merchant called “The Gift.” It read:
Whatever gift I give to you is yours.
Give it away, or keep it, as you will.
The special books, the china miniatures,
The little birds carved with beguiling skill
I shall not peer about your house to see
If they are dusted well and duly shown
To visitors, as treasured things may be.
I made a gift of them, and not a loan.
I know that gifts sincerely loved
Both for themselves and for the giver’s sake
Have in life’s many changes often proved
A burden; be relieved of the mistake
Of thinking you must keep a gift I give
(Except my love) as long as you shall live.
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"Some people are important to intellectuals, journalists, or politicians, but Kathryn Tucker Windham is probably the only person I know in Alabama who is important to everybody."
–Wayne Flynt, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Auburn University.
Ben Windham & Dilcy Windham Hilley
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