LOUISE: Happy 100th Birthday

Belvia Tucker

My mother was an excellent cook and an accomplished seamstress. No, she didn’t make Crepes Suzette or designer gowns but she made melt-in-your-mouth homemade biscuits and decadent chocolate gravy. She could look at a dress and make it without a pattern, and of all things, she expected me to follow in her footsteps.

In my early teens Mama decided it was time for me to make my own clothes, even going so far as to refuse to make any summer attire for me until I put my hands to the sewing machine. Of course, I couldn’t see why I should even try when she was such a pro.

But my mother was stubborn so I finally took scissors, fabric and thread in hand and began my masterpiece—a short set. I thought I did a fairly decent job but when my mother saw me in the ensemble she was horrified. What if someone thought she made it? So that’s the way I got my mom to make the rest of my clothes in high school. A few years later she realized my tactics when I returned home from college wearing something I had made in Home Economics. A navy blue tailored dress with a white collar and long sleeves. She stared in disbelief and finally asked, “Did you really make that?” Yes ma’am. 

And so, I became my mother. I sewed clothes for my children throughout their school years and cooked yummy chocolate gravy. I tried to mimic my mother in other ways. Character, work ethic, parenting skills and more. You see, Mama raised six kids on a farm with no indoor plumbing or other modern amenities. I’ve seen her kill a snake with a garden hoe, wring a chicken’s neck and then fry that bird up for dinner. Through my mother I learned perseverance, responsibility and love.

Belvia Tucker at 16 years oldSo why am I writing about my mom? Because on November 25, my mother, Belvia Tucker, will turn 100 years old! I’d say that’s a major milestone. And earlier in the month, my siblings and I are throwing her a grand party. Cake, presents, punch and lots of pictures! Those photos will capture her children, grandkids, great-grands, great-great grands and other family members and friends. I don’t yet know how the party will turn out, but knowing my mom, I’m betting it will be a showstopper.

The one problem—I am the designated party planner. Why? I have no clue since I don’t live close to her. Perhaps since I am the youngest daughter and next to youngest sibling.  Not sure how that elects me but I am content with it and have appointed jobs to family members who refused to volunteer and borrowed ideas from my eldest son who is extremely creative. But believe me, my mother will take full charge when she arrives at the event. A shy senior she is not.

Years ago, I was asked to write a paper about the person I wanted to become when I was older. I chose to describe my mother, hoping to eventually emulate her exceptional qualities. More than fifty years have come and gone since I wrote that college essay and I still want to be like my mom when I grow up.

Can’t wait to celebrate with my sweet mother who has already picked out her party dress and has a hair stylist on standby.

“Happy 100th Birthday, Mama! I love you!”

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