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My Mother's Clock

I rediscovered my mother's tiny desk clock the other day while unpacking from our move. It brought back a flood of memories of my mother, Jane McGraw Brennan and they made me smile. This tiny clock, no more than two inches high, sat on my mother's antique secretary desk for as long as I can remember. I started to remember what it took to wind it. So many times I watched my mother meticulously and delicately use the hem of her slip to grab the tiny pin on the bottom of the clock to enable her fingers to turn the knob. She performed the task regularly. Her attention to this detail was a reflection for me to the care she gave to her home and her family. In my mind's eye as I pictured her attention to the tiny clock, I was reminded of her daily routines, one being her consistent daily clothing of a lovely dress - never in pants. She applied her jewelry and makeup with regularity as well. In other words, she always looked great. It was her habit all of her life up until her very final year as illness took priority. She took good care of herself, and she took good care of her family. When I was living at home, as a small child growing up and during high school and college, every night we enjoyed a formal night of delicious and well balanced meals served in our dining room with a formally set table, cloth napkins and all. Only on the rarest occasions can I remember eating in our "breakfast room" for our dinner meal. Remembering the breakfast room makes me think of the daily huge and wonderful breakfasts my mother would cook for us during our grade school days. Every day consisted of cereal, hot cereal during the winter months, eggs and toast and big glasses of orange juice and milk - both! No wonder I don't remember "hunger" until after school hours. My mother was a wonderful cook. I vaguely remember her telling me she and a friend had talked about plans to open a restaurant. It never happened but I suspect she enjoyed entertaining the idea. My mother benefited greatly from the summers she spent as a young woman in the "South" with her relatives, probably her Uncle Tom McGraw and his wife, Mary Evans McGraw. They had a home in Pinehurst, North Carolina. In fact, Aunt Mary died there. My mother attended parties and had many a date during those summers. She learned "southern hospitality". She was excellent at entertaining guests. The first time I brought my husband home to meet my parents and the family it was the occasion of my cousin's wedding. For Saturday morning breakfast, my mother made a huge plate of scrambled eggs - 7 at least. As she offered them to Brian, planning at first they would supply the family, she rethought it and gave him the entire plate full. Brian not being one to turn down food, enjoyed every bite. It was a good introduction to my family. My mother set a good example for me in many ways.

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