Miriam Francis Britt Rhea was a truly amazing woman. She was a beautiful brown-eyed brunette who carried herself with grace and elegance. As a child I was always in awe of her beauty and regal stature. Whenever she came to my school functions I thought she was the most beautiful woman there.
Not only was she an extraordinary cook she had an incredible green thumb. She could grow anything, but most of all, she loved her roses. She took tremendous pride in her rose garden. She always sent us to school with beautiful roses for our teachers.
Looking back, I often wonder how she was able to feed her family of eight in times that were hard and money was scarce. She always managed to create delicious nutritious food. A lot of the food we ate we grew in our garden and the meats we ate, we raised in our backyard. We all developed a love of vegetables because they were the cornerstone of our diet…along with rice of course. We ate rice almost everyday of the year except when Momma made a special dinner with grits as our starch. My Momma could cook a lot of rice that was light, fluffy, and perfect every time…and amazingly enough she never measured anything.
My favorite lunch meal that momma made for me almost daily was rice with stewed tomatoes. I never got tired of eating it. Those tomatoes were always in abundance because momma would take the time and the laborious effort to put them up during the height of the season.
Of all the wonderful things my mother taught me and what I value the most are the drive and confidence she instilled in me. I can still hear her strong voice saying “Robin Elaine, you can be anything you want to be you just have to be willing to work for it.” I carry that thought with me in every endeavor I undertake. Momma was my best friend and mentor and I am so grateful to have been her daughter. While I miss her physical presence I carry her memory in my heart and I am always comforted by the lessons she taught me.
As this Mothers Day approaches and I await the arrival of my first grandchild I want to pay homage to that wonderful woman who helped me become the woman I am today. My only hope is that I will be loved and remembered someday with the same gratitude and affection that I feel for my momma…here’s to you Miriam Francis..thank you.
Roses and Tomatoes, Flickr user Robert Couse-Baker
Canned Tomatoes, Flickr user thebittenword.com