Mothers seem to know what's best
|Winning entry written for
Stay Off Your Knees
"Listen, can you hear them?" I spoke softly to my wife as we sat on the deck watching a ruby-throated hummingbird seek nectar.
"Hear what, the bird's wings?" my wife answered back.
"No, not the bird...I believe his wings are silent, it's the cicada in the distance."
"That loud shrill gets on my nerves," my wife commented with displeasure.
"Yeah, they make a racket once several of them start, but the droning noise reminds me of fall and new blue jeans."
Once again I saw that look of puzzlement on my wife's face as she asked me, "Why in the world would the obnoxious screeching of an insect remind you of blue jeans?"
I laughed a silent laugh as I began to tell her the story. I had a story I could share with her for every season, for every year of my life and for every occasion. She sat patiently, sipping on her cold drink, as I told her the story of the cicada and new blue jeans.
When the long hot summers ended, county fairs were over, garden vines began to wither and die, I always knew the new school year was about to begin. Along with the changing season, I began to change. Sad in a way, because I would miss those days of freedom. I would miss those long endless summer days filled with swimming lessons, picnics and hanging out with my best friends. But with the sad thoughts came anticipation.
A new school year meant brand new blue jeans. Every fall before the first day of school my mother would drag me away from my bike, my tree fort and summer bliss so we could go shopping at J.C. Penny for three pair of blue jeans. It was always three pair, not four or two, always three. Mothers seemed to know things, like how many socks you need, shirts too buy, or how many pairs of jeans will last through the school year. Three must have been the magic number.
Once I had been fitted and told I could cuff the bottoms, "You will grow into them,” words my mother used every year, I carried my new jeans home in a huge brown paper sack. Along with the new jeans came the same old rules.
"Stay off your knees, and change into your old jeans after school. Make them last, money doesn't grow on trees you know," the speech my mother gave every year for as far back as I can remember.
I remember the year I turned 12 years old. The evening before the first day of school, I was in my room with the window open letting in the fresh fall air, getting my new school supplies together. I removed a pair of jeans from the brown sack they had been in since the day I brought them home. As I tossed my old jeans with holes in the knees, a missing back pocket and broken zipper into the corner I tried on a pair of the new jeans. At that moment my mother's words came to me. In an instant I understood her profound words of wisdom. "Stay off your knees."
As I looked at myself in the mirror, admiring my new stiff, perfect blue jeans a cicada began to sing its insect song outside my window. Its song translated, was singing, "I always make sure you have three new pair of blue jeans for the new school year, because I love you, Bobby."
Now.....when I hear the cicada, it's not just an insect singing. It means, a new school year, new blue jeans and I can feel the love my mother had for me.