Before we get to the subject of this week's column, a little side message. If the parents of Jacob Jewell of Waverly would contact me and provide me with an address, I will be happy to provide them at no charge with a DVD of the video I recently took of Jacob dancing during the ArtsFest. Just refer to my email or telephone number at the end of the column.

Now then, to the subject at hand:

Sometimes I think that - paradoxically - God went to the Bible when he created motherhood.

Think about it. To be a good mother, a woman has to have the patience of Job, the tolerance and understanding of Jesus, and the will of Moses thrown in for good measure. Add to the mix the wisdom of Solomon, plus the strength of Samson (to allow her to lift all those groceries and laundry) and you pretty much have the necessary formula for a mother to successfully raise her children.

Take my mom, for example. I'm certain when she got married, she had little or no idea of what motherhood would entail. Otherwise I'm certain she would have barred the bedroom door each night with a big "Keep Out" sign on it to prevent Dad from getting near her. But she didn't and as a result had to take on the burden of raising myself and later my brother and ultimately my sister. And did a pretty good job of it, too.

Of course, I was a pretty good kid and never ever once gave her any trouble while growing up.


All right, maybe one or two times, I gave her some trouble.

(Another pause)

Okay, there were lots of times, I gave her a lot of trouble. What can I say, I'm high-spirited by nature.

One of the first times I can remember getting into trouble was when I was about three years old. We had a washing machine that employed motorized set of rollers that squeezed the excess water out of the clothes. You placed the piece of clothing in the rollers, pulled the handle and they would rotate, pulling the item through them and wringing the water out in the process.

Anyway, Mom had just processed a batch of clothes and was down in the yard, hanging them to dry. There was a second batch of laundry in the water and I (you probably can see where this is going) pulled a shirt out of the water, stuck it the wringer and pulled the handle. Unfortunately, I didn't let go when I should have, and my thumb got stuck in the rollers. Worse, I didn't think to let go of the handle, and as a result lost a few layers of skin in the process.

Well, my screams brought Mom back up to the kitchen faster than it takes to tell this. She took me to the doctor but fortunately no bones were broken, so all that was required was to have my thumb bandaged for a while. I always considered myself lucky that Mom didn't kill me because I had been so stupid. And yes, I had been previously told about not touching the washer.

Another incident occurred about a year later, and this involved a test of wills. Mom told me to pick up my toys and that day I just wasn't in the mood to do so. The process turned into a tug-of-war with Mom continually telling me to do it, and me employing the weapon that comes naturally to every child on this planet - I tried ignoring her. But I found out quickly that when a mother says "Give me strength" what she's REALLY asking for is strength to break her kid of such infuriating habits.

There I was, carrying a plastic toy guitar, strumming it, and paying absolutely no heed to what my mother was saying. Several times Mom repeated the order, and each time I totally ignored her, figuring she would eventually give up and leave me alone.

No way. I don't recall the gist of the conversation, but I'll never forget what eventually happened. After several minutes of impasse, Mom finally broke the stalemate in the most direct manner possible. She strode over, grabbed the guitar from my hands and - WHOOP! - right over the top of my head.

It's funny. I can recall the incident as if it happened yesterday. I distinctly remember the large end of that guitar suddenly becoming very, very big as Mom literally lowered the boom. I remember hearing the crack as it shattered and flew to pieces. But I do not remember anything beyond that point. Given the circumstances, I know I must have bawled for a considerable time, but everything following the guitar's destruction is a complete blank.

Mom was upset with herself for what she had done - and I want to emphasize here that this was a very rare occurrence when she lost patience with me or anyone else for that matter. I'm certain she apologized to me for what she had done, and although Mom and I were to have other battles of wills as I was growing up, none of them ever again ended in such a dramatic fashion.

Oh well. Even Job asked God - "Why me?" - during his trials, so I think its quite understandable when the rest of us come up short.

Anyway, Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

C.J. Marshall is a writer and columnist for The Daily Review. He can be reached at; or by calling (570)-265-1630.