Perhaps the most celebrated non-religious holiday in the United States, Mother's Day is when families gather to honor their mothers in their special way. It might be with flowers or candy, probably chocolate, or a meal at a favorite restaurant.
It's a celebration that originated in a spring festival by the ancient Greeks who paid tribute to mothers with honey cakes, fine drinks and flowers at dawn. The special day was not officially recognized in this country until 1914 when President Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a national holiday honoring mothers.
Here are some Southwest Georgians' favorite memories of their mothers:
The 39-year-old educator has taught for 15 years, the last seven at Lincoln Elementary Magnet School in Albany.
Her special memory involves her mother's 50th birthday celebration in 2002 at the family home in Americus. An extremely close-knit family, the clan had planned a party for Suzanne Williams on a Saturday.
But Williams wanted to take the four-hour drive to South Carolina so her parents could join in the festivities.
"We convinced our grandparents to drive to Americus -- something they did not usually do -- to surprise our mother," Richards said. "We were sitting on the front porch, and the expression on my mother's face was amazing when she saw her parents driving up to the house.
"There were a few happy tears shed, and we were happy to pull it off to surprise my mother."
Ann Brim Streat
A sales designer with Turner's Furniture on State Highway 82 and a volunteer makeup and hair/wig designer with Theatre Albany, the Sasser resident has multiple memories of her mother, Lila Brady Brim, an English teacher, librarian and adviser for 38 years before retiring from Terrell Academy in 1992.
"She was such a great mentor ... smart, talented and so funny," Streat said. "One of her students even wrote a poem about her titled 'Teacher, Mother, Friend.' She was so giving on behalf of anyone she thought was trying to do their best, and that extended way beyond the classroom.
"Some of my favorite memories are of the way my mother and father, Henry, looked at each other while they danced ... and they loved to dance. She shared that joy with me as a child, and I can't help but have a big smile when I think of her dancing with my daughter, too.
"My most precious Mother's Day memory happened a few months before she died in 2006. My birthday is May 14, and that also was Mother's Day in 2006. On every previous Mother's Day, she would tell me the story of my birth ... that she was in labor for three loooong days before it was decided that, even with tornadoes looming, they needed to move this very expectant mother from Terrell County
Hospital to Patterson Memorial Hospital in Cuthbert, where they were set up to operate. But when we got there, I decided to make my entrance into the world on my terms.
"She'd been ill for quite a while and we were holding each other, and for the first time, I heard the rest of the story of my birth, when she added emphatically, 'and it was a long and bumpy ride!'
"That's like life, isn't it? .... A long and bumpy ride, but worth it. Thank you, Mama."
Strickland began working at The Albany Herald in 1978 and currently serves as the newspaper's Information Technology director.
Commented the erudite administrator, "First of all, as I've been accumulating memories of my mom, Eugenia Strickland, since 1953 (the year I was born), it's hard to pick just one. Not only has she been a great mom to my sister Jane and me for all our lives, but lots of our earliest memories are immortalized on film because my dad was an enthusiastic amateur and sometimes professional photographer.
"For instance, I don't remember very clearly being about 3 years old when I, like thousands of other little kids, caught 'Davy Crockett fever,' but a photo of me at the Arlington May Day festival (I think that's where it was taken) in a 'frontier' outfit complete with six-shooters and a coonskin cap is an image I remember well.
"My mom put that outfit together for me, and she even custom-made the cap from, I think, the fur collar of an old coat. I looked exactly like Davy Crockett -- just a little shorter.
"It's just one memory out of thousands, but it shows how to whatever degree possible my mom has always done and continues to do whatever she can to help Jane and me realize those sometimes serious, sometimes ridiculous goals we've had -- even of becoming Davy Crockett!"