One of my daughters-in-law bought me a pillow today. Both my daughters in law have this sixth sense when they buy me presents. They always give me something that connects me to my mother. My room is filled with thoughtful little objects, so personal and mean so much to me. This pillow was for mother's day, an intensely sensitive day for me. Not that my sons notice, but my girls always do.
"I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck."
Even as I write the words, I can feel my eyes smart. I sing that song to all my grandchildren. They know the words and usually, I start the sentence and they finish it. I sang it to my own children when they were little. I can feel their tired arms heavy around my neck, our voices singing the words together as I carried them to bed.
A Bushel and a Peck was a song written by Frank Loesser and published in 1950. It was in the Broadway musical Guys and Dolls, but replaced by another song in the movie. Both Perry Como and Doris Day recorded it.
I don't think I ever heard it on the radio. I certainly never saw the stage show Guys and Dolls, yet the song has the capability to fill me with contentment, a feeling of being snug, safe and cared for.
It was my mom's song. She sang it at bedtime. She stretched out in bed and brushed our hair from our foreheads. She was completely tone deaf, but all I ever heard was the crystal clear tones of beautiful music coming from her mouth.
Songs bring back memories with a visceral connection. The next time you attend a function, take a look at couples as they take to the dance floor. Watch their faces when that singular song comes on, the shared remembrance uniting them in an intimacy only they can feel. You can't miss the exchange, the deep looks, and secret smiles.
I don't have songs for my father, for him it was sights and smells that bring him back to me. The crack of a ball on a bat, hearing something that would tickle him in a newscast, the smell of certain foods we both loved.
With my mom, though it's was always songs. She was constantly singing and had a tune for every part of the day.
When we went to pick a place for my kid's wedding, I couldn't decide if it was the right venue. That was until the words of "I Love Paris in the Springtime," froze me mid-sentence. The unlikeliness of that song, right at that moment let me know she approved of the place. She would sing it replacing the city of Paris with my brother's and my names. We would wait to hear which one of us would turn up for one of the four seasons.
Needless to say, I told them to book the joint, immediately.
"No, no, a thousand time no, I rather would die, than say yes," an Al Sherman, Al Lewis and Abe Silver tune made famous by none other than Betty Boop was employed when she refused to give in to some trifle we begged for. The more we implored, the louder she got and somehow rather than dissolve into tears, we ended up giggling.
My mom's reservoir of songs taught me to be ambitious and hopeful. Echoes of High Hopes drowning any insecurities trying to detour me.
With love and warmest wishes for a Happy Mother's Day,
Carole P. Roman