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May 12, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Optional Thinking


Two cats and a butterfly. (ca.1890. Greeting card/USPD., artist life/

“OK, we got it surrounded. Now to carry it in and lay it at mom’s feet. She loves that.” (USPD/

Despite what it looks like, Mother’s Day is an optional holiday.

Mind the gap between logic and peer pressure.

fermented  holiday that doesn’t work for everyone for assorted reasons from geographical to family history.

Go ahead. Feel free to ignore the guilt trips. Oh, you might brave raised eyebrows or drop jaws, but so what? Like those people really matter.

But there is that warning about burning bridges. Eventually things have a way of catching up with you…like when you get older…like when you’re a mom…like when “if only I had done that when she was here” and then, “Why was I cut out of the will?” Ha Ha

Oh, this is where some nostalgic memories kick in. Optional section. Feel free to skip ahead:

Mother’s Day used to be fairly simply and fairly meaningful in that way. Everyone pinned on a rose or rose bud when they went to church: red rose if your mother was alive, white if your mother was dead. That was one of the few times I remember Dad going to a florist shop. We didn’t grow white roses.

For once, the fields of floral hats tilting this way and that in the pews were matched by a cloud of only rose scents.

That day after church we got to go to the Chicken Shack. They had warm homemade rolls and you got to soak them in honey squeezed from a plastic container. Mom appreciated the kitchen break. 

And I appreciated the big “fancy” golden, crispy crust on the drumstick instead of the thin, sleek, (often greasy) coating of homemade fried chicken. (And did I mention the honey? We got sugar so rarely.)

So you can see what I remember.

So much better now with smart phones recording it all for Facebook, social media, and selfies – to show everyone “the happy family gathering” and how much you loved your mom – see the gifts? You can edit out the parts where Mom’s shrieking, “Would you for once put down that phone and actually look at people when they are speaking?” Memories secured.

Glamorous woman with crown from Mars.. movie trailer 1953 Abbot and Costello Go to Mars/USPD, artist life/

“Is that all you brought? You should see what the cat dragged in.”(USPD/

Not all mothers are stellar at being moms. It is what it is.

But they were all role models: either showing good parenting or showing exactly the way it shouldn’t ever be done.

So you got something out of it, one way or the other.

With the diverse wealth of holidays these days, you can pick and choose which ones to adopt…so far…

I mean, just about everyone does St. Patrick’s Day, and, now, Cinco de mayo. Wonder if the social justice warriors social credit system, schools, or authorities will ever mandate strongly suggest we all show up on a certain day, be happy, and wave banners or else?

Only time and retail will tell.

Meanwhile cheers to you all.

Optional endings: Happy Mother’ Day, or Happy NBA Game Day, or Happy Dog/Cat Companion Day, or Happy Go Out and Play Day to you

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Vintage roses in vase with crochet doily (1943 Mother's Day greeting card/, artist life/

1943 Mother’s Day card. Color as needed.(USPD/




Leave a Comment
  1. Kate Crimmins / May 12 2019 7:31 am

    My poor mother. We made her cook. We bought her a potted plant. Probably something that she didn’t want but it’s the thought. I remember it being the occasional rose plant. She loved roses and had a rose garden that was lovely (unlike any rose garden I’ve ever grown). Not a lot of hoopla back then. Just true appreciation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 12 2019 7:09 pm

      A plant is better than a soon to be garage sale item anytime! I think the rose growing genes must skip every other generation…not much luck here although dad had all sorts in our backyard. Just the thought of their fragrance reminds me of summer.
      I’m with you – the simple was so much more meaningful. Thanks for tossing a rosy comment here

      Liked by 2 people

  2. shoreacres / May 12 2019 7:38 am

    The best new Mother’s Day tradtiion? Chocolate-covered strawberries — but from HEB, not Randall’s. I’ve done the comparison test, and there’s no comparison. Those long-ago celebrations? Hand drawn cards, roses at church, corsages for the mothers, and always a visit to Grandma’s house after dinner. I’ve always thought the swing into the modern era took place the year my folks looked at one another and said, “The restaurants are going to be so crowded on Sunday. Let’s have a celebratory dinner on Saturday night.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 5 2019 7:32 am

      Those celebration were much simpler but somehow warmer and more cozy memories. Standing in line waiting for a rushed not as good as usual meal at a restaurant doesn’t seem to be as memorable..besides eating out is done so often now.
      I think you may be right on your timeline.
      (Giant strawberries – what the folks would exclaim with those fancy ones. We thought seasonal strawberries with vanilla ice cream was a huge treat…looked forward to that all year. HEB has the best bakery! Even with the remodeling/redecorting confusion, their rosemary sourdough bread is worth the trip)
      Thanks for covering with a sweet comment

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beth / May 12 2019 8:34 am

    “Only time and retail will tell.” – Such a fantastic line.

    I occasionally struggle with the holidays that I feel obliged (Hallmark/FB dictate) to get a card, especially when I’m looking for one that conveys a more neutral sentiment. It can be challenging when all of them seem so gushing with “you’re the very best – no one better!” and what I need is more of a “hope you have a great day” sentiment. Hooray for the creators of the blank card.

    That said though, I’d trade all the cards in the world to have one more conversation with my Mom and let her know how neat I thought she was. (“Neat” is our family term that conveys “cool” and “exceptional.”)

    Liked by 5 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 5 2019 7:42 am

      It’s just not my pick of a holiday for many reasons. (So I am slow in responding)
      The hype is just too much when simple and kind would be better. (Blank cards are wonderful – for both the sender and those on the other end. So much more personal. Wonder if blank cards will become obsolete- people seem to be losing their vocabulary – and the sense/skill to choose the best word for a specific use. And they laughed when I said we’d be back to well paid scribes writing for others before long….)
      Neat is perfect. Those who know, know.
      Thanks for scribbling in a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  4. angelswhisper2011 / May 12 2019 10:20 am

    Granny is Happy that we had a little rest today, no introoders are in the building, we skipped Mother’s Day this year wisely…maybe that’s our new tradition 😀 Pawkisses for a wonderful day to you Philmouse and furry furriends🐾😽💞

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 12 2019 7:04 pm

      It’s not skipping – it’s creating a special time just as you wish. Best commonsense tradition ever! Cheers and thanks for stopping by to add some smiles


  5. Audrey Kalman / May 12 2019 10:34 am

    Thank you for the reminder about the commercialization of the holiday. I just read that its U.S. founder, Anna Jarvis, later renounced its commercialism and spent a great part of her life trying to get rid of it ( As a mother myself, I’d rather be mildly appreciated most days than ignored for 364 days and then idolized on one.

    Note: if you are taking your mother out for a meal, please make sure it will be relaxing. When my kids were little, my husband took us all to a Japanese restaurant for Mother’s Day where you cook your own food at the table. Needless to say, it was not much of a break for me from my usual cooking activities.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 12 2019 7:03 pm

      She apparently did highly value and honor her mother – and get darn right rowdy about commercializing something designed to show gratitude and appreciate with hand written note – they had to be hand written. (You got me interested and ended up doing a little research – added in response to one of the other comments here. Proof once again women did/can have a voice and move mountains – such stories all in there…talk about strong women)
      Such a laugh over that Japanese experience…kinda like when daughter was young she decided Dad would like to go ride rollercoasters and stuff at an amusement park for one sweltering Father’s Day. Few understand the concept of relaxing when young HAHA. Thanks for gifting the comment basket today

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ally Bean / May 12 2019 10:44 am

    The original intent for Mother’s Day seems so pure in contrast to how it is celebrated today. I’d forgotten about the different color roses and the meanings that went with them. Can you imagine how many different colors of roses we’d need in today’s world to accurately describe all the permutations of relationships that are called mothering? Boggles the mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 12 2019 6:53 pm

      Got such a laugh out of the color of roses – you’d better copyright that or Hallmark will grab it for next year. Thanks for that astute/hilsarious observation

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Robin / May 12 2019 2:21 pm

    I followed the link in one of the comments about the history of Mother’s Day. It appears the original Mother’s Day in this country was backed by a retailer in the 1900’s (Wanamaker’s in Philadelphia). I didn’t know that. I’d always thought it was a call for mothers to help promote world peace (Julia Ward Howe’s “Mother’s Day Proclamation”). Interesting.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 12 2019 5:45 pm

      Well, you know I’d have to go try and run down the whole story (and as usual when humans- especially women it seems – there has to be a bit of drama involved…)
      So here’s some of it from WIKI and assorted spots/articles (This only include the US Mother’s Day holiday – not the European roots of celebrations honoring women/mothers including those of Christian, Greek, and Romans…)

      1868. Ann Jarvis, Anna Jarvis’s mother, organized a committee to establish a “Mother’s Friendship Day”, designed “to reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War.” She wanted to make it an annual event, but died in 1905
      Her daughter was obsessed with carrying on her mother’s work.(see her efforts below)

      June 2, 1877 Julia Ward Howe led a “Mother’s Day for Peace” anti-war observance in NYC which was accompanied by a “Appeal to womanhood throughout the world” (Mother’s Day Proclamation).
      Boston continued the Mother’s Day for Peace for about 10 years under Howe’s watchful eye, but it then died out.

      !904. Advocate for a national Mother’s Day, Frank E. Hering, was an alumnus and administrator at the University of Notre Dame and President of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. For a decade, he strongly and vocally supported “setting aside one day in the year as a nationwide memorial to the memories of Mothers and motherhood” and noted classes of Notre Dame students were already sending home penny postcards to their mothers,

      1905. Mother’s Day first established by Anna Jarvis with the help of Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker after her mother (Ann Jarvis) died on May 9, 1905.

      Jarvis never mentioned Howe or Mothering Sunday, and she never mentioned any connection to the Protestant school celebrations, always claiming that the creation of Mother’s Day was hers alone.

      May 12, 1907. A small Mother’s Day service was held in the Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, where Anna’s mother taught Sunday school.

      May 10, 1908. The first “official” Mother’s Day service was held in the same church, with a larger ceremony in the Wanamaker Auditorium in the Wanamaker’s store in Philadelphia. Jarvis delivered 500 carnations to that service beginning the tradition of flowers/carnations in white or red in honor of mothers.

      1909. Reportedly New York widely celebrated Mother’s Day.
      Jarvis works to establish Mother’s Day first as a U.S. national holiday and as an international holiday

      1910. The state of West Virginia officially declare Mother’s Day. By 1911 all other states recognized Mother’s Day as an official holiday.

      1912 Anna Jarvis actually trademarks the phrases “Second Sunday in May”, “Mother’s Day”, and starts the Mother’s Day International Association. She insisted the holiday should be spelled: “Mother’s” for a reason: “be a singular possessive, for each family to honor its own mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.”

      May 10, 1913, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution calling on all federal government officials (from the president down) to wear a white carnation the following day in observance of Mother’s Day.

      May 8, 1914, a law passed by Congress designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
      MAy 9, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring the first national Mother’s Day and asked flags be shown in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war. The President Woodrow Wilson used Jarvis’ preferred spelling in the proclamation.

      1920’s.Angry at commercialization of the holiday by Hallmark Cards and others exploiting the idea of Mother’s Day for profit, Jarvis organized boycotts of Mother’s Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved.
      !923. Jarvis protested at a candy makers’ convention in Philadelphia in and later in 1925 at a meeting of American War Mothers.(the issue was carnations were supposed to be for Mother’s Day should not be sold as a fund raiser by American War Mothers.)

      1934, a stamp commemorating the holiday was issued in 1934 by FDR
      1941. Hering is quoted in an issue of Scholastic: “Throughout history the great men of the world have given their credit for their achievements to their mothers. Holy Church recognizes this, as does Notre Dame especially, and Our Lady who watches over our great institution.”

      1948.Jarvis was arrested for disturbing the peace while protesting against the commercialization of Mother’s Day. She hated the printed greeting cards saying it was encouraging people who were too lazy to write a proper card or letter themselves thanking their mom and expressing gratitude.She also disliked the idea of giving gifts instead of hand written letters. Before she died later that year she said that she “…wished she would have never started the day because it became so out of control …”[30] She died later that year.
      So, more than anyone wanted to know – no doubt the controversy and debate will go on? (So many interesting stories spilling out around not tell me women are helpless and cannot/did not have a voice – follow the stories…fascinating stuff)
      Thanks for gifting us with such an intriguing comment!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Robin / May 13 2019 5:17 am

        Very interesting history. Thank you for digging it up. I am originally from the Philadelphia area and found the connection to Wanamaker interesting, especially since it gave the whole thing a commercial aspect/backing (even though that was obviously not the intent)..

        My husband and I were discussing what we remember about Mother’s Day which was essentially… not much. Maybe we’d make a card in school. Maybe not. But the day was not a big deal. We didn’t make breakfast in bed for Mom, if there were flowers we picked them ourselves, and we didn’t go out for brunch (couldn’t have afforded to take five children and two adults out for brunch). It wasn’t until I was an adult that I bought a card and we went out to lunch or dinner with Mom.


  8. colonialist / May 12 2019 3:01 pm

    Some mothers, indeed, react to it with a continuing state of bewilderment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 12 2019 6:51 pm

      If it makes sense, it isn’t fun? Hope the sun was out and smile abounded for your day


    • Rachel McAlpine / May 15 2019 4:21 pm

      Mine was irritated at the commercialisation of Mothering Sunday if I remember rightly. Expressing our appreciation? Not sure we did that as kids.

      Liked by 1 person

      • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 5 2019 7:45 am

        Mine would have been happy with a nap – id someone else cooking and cleaning the dishes, it would have been heavenly for sure.
        Thanks for stopping by and chatting

        Liked by 1 person

  9. sustainabilitea / May 12 2019 3:58 pm

    Most, if not all, holidays have been commercialized to the max, so it’s up to us to make them what we want. I choose not to go out to eat somewhere that costs a half or more of a ticket to visit our daughter in Philadelphia. My husband and I planned to go on a bike ride while everyone else was out eating, but the weather didn’t cooperate, so we ate at a little local Italian restaurant that has a delicious and very inexpensive Sunday special, then came home to watch the hockey game (me) and take a nap (him.) It’s been a lovely day, starting with church and singing in praise team, which I love. Perfectly lovely day. 🙂



    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 12 2019 6:50 pm

      It does sound perfect. Last year we hiked, but this year planned to go see the vintage plane museum and the aircraft outside, but decided to avoid some possibly toxic fumes from a leaking barge in the ship channel. So we tracked into town for picked up hamburgers and doing kangaroo imitations with short person…and a little hokeypokey and out of control water hose outside with 3 German Shepherds. Better than any fancy buffet line and crush.
      Glad you day was picked with smiles. Thanks for adding some here

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Curt Mekemson / May 12 2019 5:24 pm

    Simple was best. The card, candy, and restaurant industry think otherwise. I made Peggy her breakfast this morning. Hey, wait. I make Peggy breakfast every morning. She’s in charge of lunch so I took her out to brunch. Kids called for long chats. She is one happy camper. I am going all out tonight and cooking her hot dogs. 🙂 –Curt


  11. aFrankAngle / May 12 2019 6:10 pm

    Well done. One question: Which do you prefer? Happy Mother’ Day, or Happy NBA Game Day, or Happy Dog/Cat Companion Day, or Happy Go Out and Play Day to you


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / May 12 2019 6:41 pm

      Allll of them!!! (you expected that, right?) Hope your day was playful and bright. (Good to see you around again – will click over shortly) Thanks for cheering along

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Spinster / May 13 2019 3:20 pm

    “Not all mothers are stellar at being moms. It is what it is.

    But they were all role models: either showing good parenting or showing exactly the way it shouldn’t ever be done.

    So you got something out of it, one way or the other.”

    Indeed. It’s good to acknowledge that not all of them are filled with roses and sunshine. My thoughts always go out to those who didn’t have good experiences with their mothers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 5 2019 7:51 am

      It’s not my favorite holiday, so a bit slow in responding. People have gotten overly sensitive about those who are alone on Valentines Day, that I find it odd no one considers those with moms who really shouldn’t have had kids (but you can’t sell product with that, whereas with Valentines Day, you can sell hope and “you’re perfect alone and don’t need anyone” concepts)
      The history of the day’s evolution is interesting. So many strong women in the past who accomplished so much even within the restrictions of society – the role models were always there – they didn’t;t have to have activists telling them how to live and think. Odd, the current views. Oh, well, wandering down another interesting path…easilhy distracted HaHA
      Thanks for checking in!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Maggie Wilson / May 14 2019 4:15 am

    When you stop to think about it, not one of the holidays hasn’t been shanghaied by Madison Ave – and that’s a tradition I find the most difficult to support. I’m with you, Phil.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 5 2019 8:01 am

      And they keep creating new (and ones with expensive requirements)
      Last week there was 5th grade graduation …not really a grand event that need over the top applause as passing 5th grade and moving to middle school 6th grade should simply be expected. What will kids have to look forward to? What’s the motivate them to soar to greater heights like to what should be the real goal worth celebrating: college graduation?
      If everything is a special day, it becomes none of them are. Yawn.
      Seems like merchants are dictating behavior to people when it should be the other way around.
      Thanks for suing along (sorry about the slow reply, too nutty here recently to keep up)


  14. LordBeariOfBow / May 31 2019 10:52 pm

    I have very few pleasant memories of my mother Phil; I’ve often been tempted to write some posts about her, but it’s not the done thing so I believe, There was very little joy in our household, mind the times were very hard after the depression and then we got the war in 1939. Many stories I could relate, but I’ll probably take them all with me


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 5 2019 7:26 am

      I’m slow in responding to Mother’s Day comments as I really don’t enjoy it. First, because of the commercialism and competition for “besests, see how good I am for doing this” and second it seems to be rose colored glasses romanticized – perhaps by peer/sibling pressure – or like everyone says “high school days were the best times of my life” when actually the majority were miserable during those years.
      I wonder if all those people actually had glorious childhood experiences with their moms. If so, that must have been nice. Some moms may love their children in their own way sort-of, but really don’t like them. I can identify with your last sentence.
      Thanks for the soft touch on the subject


      • LordBeariOfBow / Jun 5 2019 6:45 pm

        Not so soft really; my mother was a very hard woman, and completely without fear, a trait I seem to have inherited which can have it’s drawbacks. of which I appear to have many according to TWO, all inherited from the same source.I do believe. 😈

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 7 2019 4:03 pm

          To pass on fearlessness is the most wonderful thing a parent can ever do.


          • LordBeariOfBow / Jun 7 2019 10:21 pm

            I’ve never really given it much thought Phil; in fact it was only recently that I came to realize it. I have thought of writing a blog or 2 about wartime experiences, which is where it all stems from; but I’m getting wary of boring what few visitors I have with more “me” stories.


          • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 9 2019 1:04 pm

            People love stories – fairy tale, horror tales, history – nothing like a good storyteller


          • LordBeariOfBow / Jun 9 2019 7:49 pm

            Bit late for me to learn the art Phil, so I’ll just keep rambling on my merry way


  15. UB Ella / Jul 5 2019 9:36 am

    Chicken Shack? Surely not! Oh right, I was thinking of the Chicken Ranch. Marvin Zindler …


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