"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it." -- Mark Twain
I find it hard to believe it's May already! I wonder if our having to constantly set our clocks forward and back to keep up with daylight savings has anything to do with it? Just thought I'd throw that in to explain why time seems to be fleeting. And who said seniors have nothing but time on their hands?
May is a particularly important month since it observes two major holidays: Mother's Day and Memorial Day.
Mother's Day has been observed annually in the United States as a national holiday since 1914, thanks to the effort of one woman, Anna Jarvis, who worked relentlessly to bestow honor to all mothers, despite having never married or had children of her own.
My mother did her best to raise three boys during a period of tough economic times. Some things she impressed on me back then still stick in my mind.
For example, mom was finicky about table manners and was constantly on my brothers and me to keep our elbows off the table, ask to be excused after eating, and always bus our dishes.
I still remember her admonishments, but every now and then have to be reminded by my grandson about my elbows.
Although my parents became naturalized citizens of the United States, my mother continued to speak broken English and also retained a lot of the customs of her homeland.
Until World War II, mom worked alongside my father in the family grocery. After the family's release from an internment camp at the end of the war, she had little choice but to accept the only job available to her as a live-in domestic. I was 13 at the time and moved in with her as a houseboy.
When I was in high school, I rarely talked about my parents. After all, what could I share with my classmates about my dad who was confined to a hospital for tuberculosis and my mother who worked as a domestic?
Looking back on those days, do I have regrets?
I'm ashamed that I was embarrassed for my mother who I knew to be a virtuous woman and didn't speak up for her.
Additionally, I can't recall having ever thanked mom who was always available when I needed a shoulder to cry on.
And there were many of those days when I was young and didn't have my father available.
My mother died when she was hit by a pickup truck three blocks from her home. She was 75 and in good health. I thought she'd be around forever.
If your mother is still living, give her a hug and tell her you love her. And do it as often as you can. Or call her if she's out of the area.
And you don't have to wait until Mother's Day!
Did you know that Memorial Day falls on the last Monday of this month? I'm sure it comes as no surprise to those of you who are working full time since that translates to a three-day holiday weekend.
For high school seniors, it means whooping it up one last time with classmates before preparing for college in the fall or pursuing other dreams.
But let's not forget the real purpose of Memorial Day. You may have learned it in your history class, but in case it slips your memory, Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was founded three years after the Civil War to honor those soldiers who died in that war.
The word "decoration" was chosen since flowers were used to adorn the soldiers' graves, and the month of May was selected as it was the month when most flowers were in bloom.
After World War I, Decoration Day was renamed Memorial Day to include the servicemen killed in all wars, and in 1971, it was declared a national holiday.
According to one account I recently read, more than 1.3 million servicemen and servicewomen died defending our nation.
Sadly, many of them are buried thousands of miles from the country they fought and died for. And there are also those soldiers who are classified Missing in Action and likely will never see home.
If you are a spiritual person, take a moment before you indulge in your holiday meal to offer thanks to America's fallen heroes.
And even if you don't profess to believe in God, pause for a moment and proffer your appreciation for the freedom you are enjoying. It's the least you can do on Memorial Day.
Eizo Kobayashi is a Concord resident and a member of the Concord Senior Citizens Club. Contact him at email@example.com.