As I stood looking at the apple tree in Dennis Kachmarsky’s yard on Pringle Hill in Pringle, I thought about my mother.
Well, actually, I thought about all mothers and the circle of life. I thought about how, without mothers, none of us would be here.
Yeah, I know the same goes for fathers, but like Dennis Kachmarsky’s apple tree, it’s the mother that bears the fruit.
Walking around that 47-year-old apple tree, with its branches being supported by wooden props, I wondered just how many apples the old girl had produced. And how many delicious bites have been taken from those apples and how many warm apple pies were made with those apples.
Standing on Pringle Hill and marveling at that old, faithful, ever-producing apple tree, had my mind racing. This was a significant day for me — May 10 marked the 49th anniversary of my mom’s death. The whole scene had me sort of frozen as I listened to Dennis tell me about his apple tree.
I realized the apple tree was five years older than my mom was when she passed away. I didn’t need to see the apple tree to be reminded of my mother — not a day has gone by that I have not thought about her. But the tree sure did get me to thinking about the whole concept of motherhood — standing there next to the mother of all apple trees, at least on Pringle Hill.
Dennis Kachmarsky’s apple tree is unique in many ways, but it is much like all other apple trees and peach trees and plum trees and pear trees, in that they all give delicious fruit that is savored by humans and even animals. Dennis will tell you how much the local deer love his tree’s apples.
And like all of those fruit-bearing trees, to continue my metaphor, mothers not only bear the fruit of life, they are the basis of our familial roots, they provide us with shelter, shade and comfort, and they stand strong — always reaching to the sky.
We know, or should know, all that mothers do for us. And we should always respect them and love them and keep them. Yes, we should brush our teeth, not talk back, sit still, get our homework done, be careful, say thank you, hug grandma, eat our vegetables, clean up after ourselves, help out around the house and be kind to others. These are some of the things our mothers have struggled to teach us over the years. By now, we should have learned how important all those lessons were.
So really, where would any of us be without mom?
Those of us who are fortunate to have our mothers around need to show them just how much we love them, not just on Mother’s Day, but every day. Yes, flowers, dinner, breakfast in bed, doing the dishes or running the vacuum on her special day are wonderful gestures of appreciation, but to really make her proud, be a good son or daughter every day.
Don’t ever complain about taking mom to the doctor’s office, or the grocery store, or shopping for a new dress. Delight in it and treasure the fact that you have her to do those things for her and with her. And always remember the several million things she has done for you long before you could ever do anything for yourself.
And that’s all mom really wants from you — to know that you love her and appreciate her and will always cherish your time together.
When I went to Paris some years ago, I walked into a bakery. The woman behind the counter smiled and said, “Bonjour.” I repeated the greeting and I asked her, in French, how she was that day. She answered me in French and I’m not sure, but I think she said she was fine.
The woman then spoke to me — this time in English. She thanked me for at least trying to speak her language and she said she appreciated the show of respect. We then had a wonderful conversation about how I had tried to learn the language, but never really mastered it.
The same goes for mothers. All they want is to see that you are trying to be the best son or daughter that you can be. She wants to know that you are always trying to live up to her expectations — that you know she always had what’s best for you at the top of her list.
Then she will know that her family’s roots will continue to grow and her family tree will always bear good fruit.
Like Dennis Kachmarsky’s apple tree on Pringle Hill.