By L.T. JENKINS
Recently I have been thinking of Mama. I’m 72 and Mama (Maude Pearl Eakes Jenkins) died years ago. Mama had six kids. I was the youngest and spoiled I will admit. Mama’s brand of justice sent me out in the front yard to “bring me a switch” and it had better not be too small, rotten or too big or Mama would send me back. Eventually there were no limbs left on the four maple trees that I could reach.
Mama went to the hospital one day. I came home from school and asked Daddy about Mama. He said “Son, I am afraid we are gonna lose Mama. She has cancer!” I sat alone and wept and immediately prayed to God to save my Mama, explaining to God that I loved my Daddy but Dad was simply not the gentle soul that Mama was and I was only 10 years old. I knew it would be hard on Daddy raising a child my age. God answered my prayer. Mama lived for 13 more years. She had cancer of the esophagus and had to have a feeding tube installed through her skin into her stomach and everything had to be put into a blender and poured through a funnel into the tube. No doubt it embarrassed Mama for I recall the family going on vacation to Florida and every time we would stop to eat my Mama would remain in the car and my brother, Milton (“Slick”) Jenkins, would order her food and ask the waitress to blend it. He got some strange looks, but Mama got fed.
The thing that really stands out, is my Mama used to rock me and sing gospel songs to me. One of her favorites was “The Land of Cloudless Skies” and it was sung at her funeral. We all missed Mama one day, for she was not in her bed. We located her digging in the garden with her shovel. Doctors at that time said there were only six cases like Mama’s and she had outlived them all.
Mama had seven operations so she was no stranger to hospitals. I went to the hospital one day and asked a nurse which room she was in. The nurse, not knowing me said, “Oh she passed away about 30 minutes ago.”
Unlike Daddy’s later death, I did not get to spend the last minutes with Mama. The point I am trying to make with this letter is to ask every individual reader: 1. Have you ever read the Bible to your children? 2. Have you ever sung praises to the Lord with your child? 3. Do you take your children to church? We as parents have a huge responsibility that God has entrusted us with.
It is written “Raise up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” That does not mean that he or she will not go over Fool’s Hill, but if they survive that, then the things taught them will come into play later in life. I often say “Thank You God for Mama and what she taught me.”