I Know, Ma, But What Have You Done for Me Lately?

May, 2013

Blame Big Flower, the greedy, corporate flower industry that colors our valley, for branding you a heartless reprobate for not making Mother’s Day the biggest event of the year, save Black Friday. And blame Anna M. Jarvis for pushing her Methodist Church in Philadelphia to celebrate Mother’s Day in 1908. Point at Elmer Burkett, a Senator from Nebraska, for proposing a National Mother’s Day holiday. It was defeated but the die was cast. By 1909, 46 states had adopted the celebration. Today, some 70 countries observe the day. Hell hath no fury like the fate that awaits the 150 or so countries that don’t.

But let the child beware. Ignore Mom at your peril when she says, “don’t get me anything, it’s just another day” – even if it is just another day. As a person of the male persuasion, I’m genetically incapable of understanding why women in general, or mothers in particular, tell you, “I don’t need anything” when they really mean, “you better make this big.” For most women (there may be exceptions) image is everything. Consider how Big Cosmetic has profited from the fairer sex.

Big Flower and Big Cosmetic aren’t the only ones who gain by making mothers believe the world is the way they say it is. We’ve been commenting on the lengths to which Salinas has gone to convince people that Mom’s perception of our little neighborhood is sadly misguided. The Bagdad Bobs around City Hall are paying big bucks to convince the world that our criminals are “good boys,” that there are no gangsters here and those people in Chinatown are just eager tourists. Now, Monterey County is trying its hand at Big Image. They had a meeting the other day with various constituent groups vying to shape Mom’s perceptions of what she thinks about our County on the Coast. Big Ag wants her to think, “Monterey County, where healthy salads come from.” Big Wine wants her to think “Monterey, mmm, wine.” Big Hotel wants Mom to think about fresh, clean rooms. Even Big Marine Science (huh?), I guess, wants her to think about the aquarium and cute little sea otters. And Salinas, of course, would be in heaven if she thought "East of Eden” instead of “Salsipuedes” when she has to book a room half an hour from the beach. Even Sam Farr was at the meeting, encouraging voting mothers to think of him when they think of Monterey County. But he’s a politician and saying, “Mom, look at me” is what he does.

Personally, I wish moms would think of me when they think of Monterey County. My mom would’ve loved that. Then I could charge for pictures of me standing in front of the Californian or leading a parade. Somehow, I don’t think that’ll happen but there must be a Community Columnist PAC out there somewhere that could promote the cause. Maybe you and I should all meet to present our own wishes of how the world should think of us when they think of the Central Coast – bring your mom, she’s your biggest supporter. Sorry, Big Golf and Laguna Seca, Mom doesn’t love you anymore.

But, as usual, I digress. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and Mom should be reminded of how much you love her and about all the thoughtful things you’ve done for her (that you shouldn’t have done). You have done them, haven’t you? If not, you’re running out of time. After feting her with flowers, candy and cards from Big Greeting, ask about how she ever managed to raise such great kids, who she likes the best and how much she sacrificed. My own sainted mother went on and on about “the pains” she suffered for three days just so you could read this column years after she was gone. I’m sure your mom has similar grief to share. You should ask her. No, you really should.