Wednesday, 21st March, 2018

It was a fine and sunny morning recently when I drove from home to go to Bronglais. There had been a frost in the night, and there was a strong East wind blowing.
I passed a field where I saw ewes lying down and their new-born lambs snuggling up to them to keep warm. How lovely that mothers – even those supposed to be “dumb animals” – simply take care as best they can of their children. And that thought reminded me of my childhood and my Mom.
Although she and Dad worked hard all their lives, we were not a well-off Family. In those days, the labouring-class grafted solidly and received poor wages for their toils.
I remember when I was about ten years old that I asked Mom a question. It was based on the teachers at Christ Church C of E School – our nearest primary and junior school – teaching us (indeed, harping on about) “the poor people”. They never seemed to define what “poor” actually meant.
So, seeing all the second-hand furniture in our old, brick-built terrace house, and knowing that Mom bought the cheapest stuff she could, be it food, clothing or whatever, my question was “Mom – are we poor?”
She was surprised at my question and paused in her housework. Having thought for a moment or two, she answered.
“Well . . . no . . . not poor . . . Not poor.” Then, almost perkily, she added “Er . . . we’re not very well off . . . but not poor.“
In the telling, that doesn’t sound much of an answer. But the young me knew what she meant: we had very little money, but were not starving or anything.
She was quite strict about bringing me up. That was because she loved me. She would make sure that I never told lies, was always respectful to older people, and all sorts of good things like that. And she often emphasised those things with a quick slap on the back of my bare, short-trousered knees. In those now seemingly remote days it was called “discipline”.
If she heard me swear – nothing really crude like today’s accepted standards – it was an even harder slap. When she saw me doing something I shouldn’t which didn’t quite deserve a slap, she would look at me and say “Ooh, our Keith . . .” and I behaved better. She taught me many things about growing into manhood as a decent, helpful person.
My Dad, if he was there when she disciplined me, sort of smiled happily.
And, because I understood my Mom’s attitude, I was a fairly obedient little lad.
Yes, there was no spare cash in my childhood home. But there was oodles of Love!
I loved my parents. Still do. Love does not end at the grave.
My Dad? Well, I’ll tell you how he showed his love for me in a future post.

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