At this time of year, when the pace of our days becomes more hectic and there are multiple people and tasks clamouring for our attention, it doesn’t hurt to take a few minutes and think about the people and things that make you smile.

My mother was a great lover of Christmas. When we lived on that godforsaken farm in Beamsville we were grindingly poor. No indoor plumbing or running water (unless you count the hand pump in the basement ‘running water’). For Christmas, we’d get an orange – one of those gigantic Jaffa oranges that smelled of sun. My dad would tell us stories about being in the Middle East during the war and seeing orange groves at a kibbutz in Israel. We’d also get a bottle of ginger all – Canada Dry or Orange Crush – all to ourselves. There was no rampant consumerism or going to the mall to sit on Santa’s knee and whine for something outrageously expensive like an iPad or the latest game console. We ate well, our food was fresh and we were together. It’s been sixteen years since she left us so suddenly. My brothers and I and our families have our annual family get-together this weekend and yes, we will talk about her, we will laugh and we will go mute for a little while thinking of what she meant to all of us. Lord but I miss her so.

The other thing I remember so clearly is the ‘momisms’. They used to be called Old Wives Tales, but I guess that isn’t politically correct any more. And now that I qualify as an Old Wife, I guess I’d better get busy making up some new ones.

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1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A  JOB WELL DONE. “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. . . I just finished cleaning.”

2. My mother taught me RELIGION. “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

3.  My mother taught me about TIME  TRAVEL. “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock  you into the middle of next week!”

4. My mother taught me LOGIC. ” Because I said so, that’s why.”

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC. “If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”

6. My  mother taught me FORESIGHT. “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

7. My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE. “What were you thinking? Answer me when I talk to you. Don’t talk back to me!”

8.  My mother taught me about the  science of OSMOSIS. “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”

9. My mother taught  me about CONTORTIONISM. “Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!”

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA. “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”

11.  My mother taught me about WEATHER. “This room of yours looks as if a tornado went  through it.”

12. My mother  taught me about HYPOCRISY. “If I told you once, I’ve  told you a million times.  Don’t exaggerate!”

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE. “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”

14. My mother  taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION. “Stop acting like your father!”

15. My  mother taught me about ENVY. “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”

16. My mother  taught me about ANTICIPATION. “Just wait until we get home.”

17. My mother taught  me about RECEIVING. “You are going to get it when you get home!”

18. My mother  taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE. “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way.”

19. My mother taught me ESP. “Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?”

20.  My mother taught me  HUMOUR. “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

21. My  mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT. “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”

22. My mother taught me about my ROOTS. “Do you think you were born in a barn?”

23. My mother taught me about my  ROOTS. “Shut that door behind you.  Do you think you were born in a barn?”

24. My mother taught me WISDOM. “When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”