East Side, West Side, All Around the Town
By Joe Caraher/Appeared in May 9, 1976 Herald and News and excerpted from East Side, West Side, All Around the Town.
Let’s hear it for Good Ol’ Mom…Today being Mothers Day, let’s all get off on the right foot by giving three big huzzahs for good ol’ Mom. She has it coming!
…Whenever the chips were down in any way, Mom was there to save the day, whether it was an encouraging hand on the shoulder or the bottle of castor oil. She patiently taught good citizenship, respect for the law, and consideration of the environment—long before we ever heard of the word, ecology or knew what it meant. We thought to improve the “environment” was Mom’s insisting we wear clean underwear (“You might be in an accident and what would they think at the hospital?”) and washing behind our ears, mowing the grass, and trimming the edges, and keeping the lid on the garbage can, so it wouldn’t blow over next door. Because we got along with our neighbors and they with us because we all worked at it…
Down through the years, ol’ Mom was always there with a word of encouragement when things looked bleak. And always so appreciative of any consideration.
Years ago we turned out a Mother’s Day column which concluded, “It’s high time we got around to letting Mom know we appreciated her being Johnny-on-the-spot 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And by golly, we do. Like we used to say, “Tonight, Mom, when you’re cutting the kindling, we’ll hold the lantern.”
Today it isn’t such a panic. Because last Christmas Eve she died. As she was being laid to rest on a rainy day, not a block away from our old home, the entire story of our lives quickly passed through our minds, like a great documentary film. Only a few feet away from her grave was where we’d jumped over the nearby fence to play football before people were buried there. Or we’d hit a few golf shots into the cemetery from back of our shed—if the caretaker wasn’t watching.
The film was in full color and the years flashed by in just a few seconds as the pallbearers, she knew so well, stood close by her casket; and the good padre said the final prayers.
We remember our concern, as a little kid, when we got separated from her in that department store, and then realized how difficult it was to let go of her hand for the last time.
Mothers are rationed; just one for each of us. And they’re precious, too. They rate a good pat on the back today; well, everyday when you come to think of it.
Joe Caraher (1911-2004) was born in Seattle and grew up with two strong interests: baseball and writing. He graduated from Washington State University and was captain of the baseball team. A Major in the U.S. Army Air Corps, he married Marcella Dunnigan and had four children. Editor of the East Side Journal, Kirkland Washington, he was later publisher of the Daily Interlake, Kalispell, Montana. In 1963 Joe moved to Klamath Falls to head the Herald and News. Retiring in 1976, he continued his weekly column writing more than 2000 columns during his career.