Posted on November 1, 2023

Coatful of Kid - Gebo's

Tucked inside the long orange coat, you could find just about anything. Wadded tissues, pieces of Dentyne, a lipstick, a comb. Just about anything that was really useful. On this chilly day you also would have found a little boy in motion... walking in stride with his mother who was also in the coat.

The little boy was me.

I’m sure we must’ve looked something like two people in a horse costume or maybe like a very tall mother hen protecting her chick beneath all her feathers.

Maybe we just looked ridiculous - I don’t know. (It was dark where I was and it was all I could do to stay in step with mother.) What I remember is the joy and the warmth and closeness of my mother. My small arms around her waist as we giggled together along the sidewalk in front of her office. I smell her perfume. I hear the clicking of her heels on the concrete.

I was four and the realities of the world hadn’t touched me yet.

In the small world of my childhood, giants walked the earth. Mother and dad, my sister and brother, grandparents, a host of aunts and uncles, neighbors, and folks from church. All was right with my childhood. Mother and dad made it so.

New clothes from the Sears catalog store down the street. A new suit from Bowden’s Department Store on the courthouse square every Easter. Groceries from the Piggly Wiggly. An occasional haircut from Old Man Dunn at Newberry’s Barber Shop. Church on Wednesday nights and twice on Sundays. Strawberry cake for my birthday.

Mother always believed her world revolved around dad. It was “Mrs Charles Hamilton” in the newspaper, church bulletin, checks, and other documents as if she had no name of her own. And while my father’s warmth, humor, and kindness still shine bright all these years after his death, mother’s pull on me is just as strong. I miss her today.

As she labored each Sunday to create a substantial feast for family lunch, a song - usually some hymn or anthem from church - could be heard on her lips in the steamy kitchen. That’s the memory on this day.

A giggle, a song, good food.

A heart full of love. 


By: James Hamilton

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