By Wanda Johnson Parmer
“Kenneth Wayne, Noria Jane, Wanda Sue, Martha Ann – supper’s ready!”
I can still see my mother, Eulaly Johnson, standing with the screen door ajar, her face flushed from standing over a hot wood stove, and her eyes searching for four kids, probably a few yards away, dirty from playing cowboys and Indians or playhouse. Supper meant delicious dishes that Mother had prepared. She was a good cook and learned those traits because her mom died when she was 8.
Mom was not lazy and always managed to save and earn money by selling garden seed, Blair, Stanley, fried pies or crafts.
Mom was the glue that held our family together. We were well-fed in the winter with all the vegetables, jellies and jams she had canned in the summer.
School in the fall meant new shoes and outfits that Mother had made. We were always the best scrubbed little kids on the bus.
We moved about every other year. She was an expert packing our few belongings in the boxes and tubs we had. Mom kept a very clean house and wanted us kids to learn those traits. We had a dirt yard at one house. Mom swept and raked until it looked like an ivory polished rich man’s yard.
She never failed to get us a new Easter outfit. She would say that she had a nice dress and didn’t need another one. After getting that first pair of stockings – hers were no longer hers. I remember her saying, “I know good and well I had a good pair of stockings.”
I remember a birthday party she gave me. We played a treasure hunt game. She hid a big bowl of Mary Jane kisses behind the fire screen made from our Sunday school cards.
The peddler would come once a week. She always managed to let us pick out candy and gum that she swapped eggs or vegetables for. That would make her smile.
Christmas was a fun time. She made delicious cakes and pies. She never failed to tell us the Christmas story from the Bible. Even though times were hard, there would be presents under out homemade decorated tree. I never remember her getting anything when I was a young child.
When we had to move and had a new church, school and new baby sister, she assured us that all would be fine. She was a wonderful pastor’s wife.
An enjoyable time was when it was announced we were going shopping in Tupelo. The kids got to stay in Khunk’s Department Store while Mom and Dad shopped at Peltz, Weiners, and Black and White Store.
When Dad had a stroke, Mother quit her job at the nursing home to take care of him. She was so strong and brave to stay by herself when Daddy passed away.
Thanks, Mom, for all your love, patience and guidance through my childhood and teenage years, and that you were there for me and my siblings with all your love and a listening ear.
You never complained through all your sickness. Heaven is dearer since you have been there since Sept. 27, 1998.
Someday I can tell you again, “Thanks, Mom.”
About the author: Wanda Parmer was born in Mooreville. She and her husband, Wexford Parmer, a Baptist minister, lived for 25 years in Missouri and two years in Arkansas, before returning to Tupelo. She is retired now, “just a housewife,” but spent 12 years teaching pre-school and also served as a substitute teacher. The Parmers have four children, 11 grandchildren and five greats-grandchildren.