Photo by Jorma Kaukonen Sr.
Mothers Day Blog 2020
Sunday, May 8, 2022
It is 2022 and another Mother’s Day is upon us. It is not a thought that I dwell on but it occurs to me at moments like this that growing up my mother was the most important adult member of our family to me. My dad was gone so much of the time, first WW II and then his jobs with the Department of Labor and subsequently the State Department where he would work until he retired. Mom was my Cub Scout Den Mother. She taught me to ride a bike and how to drive a car. She would always be my fierce defender whether I deserved it or not. She loved my brother Peter and myself above all else!
In May of 1998 she would begin her final journey. My brother told me if I wanted to say goodbye I should come to California immediately which I did. Thanks to Peter’s prompting I was able to be present for the last two weeks of her life. Before I left Ohio I had the opportunity to write this song:
Song For Our Mother
By Jorma Kaukonen
April 27, 1998
Fur Peace Ranch
Meigs County, Ohio
Strength unto my life she was before I was a man
Daddy’s off to fight a war in some far-off distant land
He don’t come around much just at special times of year
But Mama always holds our hands and puts away our fears
‘Come and take a walk,’ she’d say, ‘down by that old Pierce Mill
And listen to the water passing by the rocks and rills.’
‘That old grey goose will bite you, but you can feed the ducks,
Trust your heart in all you do, you won’t have to trust in luck.’
Mama tried to teach us to be strong
And keep walking against the wind even though your hope is gone
It don’t matter how alone you are today
‘Cause if you keep on walking hard, you’ll find a better way
Many years have come and gone, now that I’m a man
My bro and I are all that’s left in this part of our clan
Daddy won’t be coming back, he’s fought his final war
And Mama’s eyes look far away, for some distant sho
She wanders in her mind now to that old tobacco farm
When she was just a girl at play in my grandfather’s arms
He strokes her hair with loving hands and sends her on her way
To walk across this century, which brings us to today
My brother sits beside her bed and holds her hand so tight
He looks upon her shuttered eyes, will she make it through the night?
The what she is remains today, the who she is, is gone,
But what she’s done in both our lives I know will linger on
Her favorite books are closed now, her favorite song’s been sung
For her boys who stay behind her, she’s done all that can be done
She’s going to see her friends now that have vanished for so long
She’s on the road beyond the stars…
She’s going… going… gone
My brother, Peter, would play his tune Hospice Shuffle and we would play Song For Our Mother together. They say as you are passing the last thing you are aware of sound… I hope she heard us.
She was already mostly in another world by the time I got to San Francisco but she rallied once, grabbed my hand and opened her eyes. ‘My dear one… my dear one…’ Her eyes would close and her journey continued.
Peter and I would go to Mill Valley to get Beatrice some flowers for Mother’s Day and when we returned after that short trip, she was gone.
In Many Houses, Anonymous
In many houses
all at once
I see my mother and father
and they are young as they walk in
Why should my
to see them laughing
That they cannot
is of no matter:
I was once
they are mine.
I did not write this… but I could not have said it better
So, Mother’s Day brings a sundry of different emotions to my table every year. Putting my little corner of the emotional universe aside, I would like to take this opportunity to wish the happiest of Mother’s Days to all the moms out there in the cosmos.
You are all our ultimate source.