Mama Wore No New Shoes

by Gregory Battle

Mama wore no new shoes because we worked on a farm; as a farm family, we did not have much money except to buy a few groceries and clothes that were supposed to last each of us eight children for at least a couple of years. Despite the economic impoverishment, I remember Mama always smiling as she baked those metal trays of 50 biscuits 3 times a day---especially for supper. I can still see her buttermilk ‘n honey smile; I can still smell her honeysuckle fragrance as she gently squeezed my hands then walked me into my first elementary class. That first day of school, I was wide-eyed with wonder and bewildered of her leaving me----but she reassured me in her soft voice that I would be alright. I adored her charity of spirit and her sensitivity to my shyness----particularly about my clothes that bore holes and my toes sticking out my worn-out shoes.

Hence, Mama walked to town and got help from her friends to get enough money in her apron pockets to buy me a new pair of shoes so I would not be ashamed by other students picking at me and calling me a poor farmer’s son. I felt her love spreading warmth through my soul like syrup deliquescing on hot pancakes. That was my Mama, always picking me up, hugging me like a little teddy bear, and letting me know that her little man would always be protected and cared for.

So Mama wore no new shoes because she made those unselfish sacrifices that were all of her generous duty and all of her angelic heart. Mama taught me the character of acceptance and the abundant regard for the welfare of another human soul. Her laughter and kindness sparkled around me everyday like the fireflies pitching their lanterns on a Georgia summer night. She was proud of my attending Morehouse and encouraged me daily to learn all that I dared to discover. Indeed, Mama was my constant cheerleader and my best friend.

So I was very distraught when she was taken suddenly from me on Pearl Harbor Day 1992-----she was taken as I believe up to the Garden of Glory ----for the Garden of Glory was missing its most passionate rose. That saddest day of my life became the most determined day of my life to honor her humble legacy by living her example of unselfish labor to help another needy soul find comfort and fulfillment. I hope my teaching has given the feet of any tender soul some new shoes to walk that extra mile to find the blossoming hills of its great ambition.

Yes, Mama wore no new shoes because she used the money to give new shoes to me; and thus, I could adventure to new places that she could only reach in her jubilant dreams. The last time I saw my Mama, she looked at me very affectionately and so proud that the Morehouse man she raised was beginning to climb a higher mountain. And that was the last time I hugged her five years before she past suddenly away.

And yes, I miss her and carry those wonderful memories of her that hang in my mind like cascading wisteria alongside a country porch. And yes, I quietly whimper knowing the next time I get to hug her shall be in the garden of eternity. So if your Mama is still living, or has been lifted to Paradise by the Ultimate Power that you worship, I beckon you to put on those new shoes (just as I did for my Mama); and that you rush home every Mother’s Day to hug her as if you can never let go, or to visit her memorial and assert enthusiastically how much you love her---then in that moment of sweetest benevolence, I declare that you never forget to thank heaven also for giving you---a most passionate rose.

Mama Wore No New Shoes by Gregory Battle

© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

TimBookTu Logo

Return to the Table of Contents | Return to Main Page