I have a book of poems, published in 1917, that my mother gave me years ago. It is poems written by her favorite poet, Edgar A. Guest. This book has been a treasure of mine, and I have quoted some of Guest's poems in a number of my sermons over the years.
The book is called "Just Folks," and it contains a poem Guest called, "A Boy's Tribute."
I thought it a fitting verse for this day in which we honor mothers. It goes like this:
Prettiest girl I've ever seen is Ma.
Lovelier than any queen is Ma.
Dainty, graceful, bold an' shy, but the one that takes my eye is Ma.
Every girl made into one is Ma.
Sweetest girl to look upon is Ma.
Seen 'em short and seen 'em tall, seen 'em big and seen 'em small, but the finest one of all is Ma.
Best of all the girls on earth is Ma.
One that all the rest is worth is Ma.
Some have beauty, some have grace, some look nice in silk and lace, but the one that takes first place is Ma.
Sweetest singer in the land is Ma.
She that has the softest hand is Ma.
Tenderest, gentlest nurse is she, full of fun as she can be, an' the only girl for me is Ma.
Bet if there's an angel here it's Ma.
If God has a sweetheart dear it's Ma.
Take the girls the artists draw, an' all the girls I ever saw, the only one without a flaw is Ma.
Now, that is a fitting tribute to that great woman that we children hold in highest esteem.
My mother passed away just 8 months ago, so this is the first Mother's Day that I will spend without talking to Mom or sending her flowers. But, I'll be thinking about her all throughout the day. She was a wonderful woman.
I'm married to a wonderful woman, and she's a great mother too. Her children hold her in the highest regard. I know that my sons could say that Guest's poem could be their tribute to their mother too.
I've known so many wonderful mothers over the years whose names need to be added to the Motherhood Hall of Fame; ladies who have been a blessing to their children and to me too. I want to name a few here.
There is Mary Bohlman in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Her children love her dearly. When I was a teenager and I ran around with her kids, we weren't the most well behaved youth around. Trouble followed us everywhere. But, Mary loved her children, and their friends, whom other mothers called "the wrong crowd." I still consider Mary a dear friend all these years later.
There's Betty Thomas, a dear lady, who became like a second mother to me back in the '70s. When I would return to Tucson, Arizona during my summer breaks or between semesters in college, Betty provided me with a nice place to stay, rent free, so I could save up money for school. Betty was loved by her children, and by me.
Then there's Marie Lane. She lives right here in Bedford County. She is dearly loved by her four daughters, her horde of grandkids, all those great-grandkids, her many chickens, and me. She always invites me to join her and the family for holiday dinners. I'm not always able to be there, but she invites me nonetheless. I may be her pastor, but she calls me "family," and I love her for that.
All across the country, in churches, in homes, around dining room tables, at area restaurants, those women we call "Ma" or "Mom" or "Mama" or "Mommy" or "Mother," are being honored today. Their children are rising up to call them blessed. And rightly so!
If I wore a hat, I'd take it off to all of you dear, sweet mothers on this your day.
Happy Mother's Day!