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A Son Discovers His Deceased Mother's Hidden Talent

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
May 10, 2024 3:03 am

A Son Discovers His Deceased Mother's Hidden Talent

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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May 10, 2024 3:03 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Texas boys don’t write poetry, and certainly don’t cry. Roger Latham did, though, after discovering a poem written by his deceased mother.

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VGW. We'll be right back with American conditions 18 plus. This is Lee Habib, and this is Our American Stories. And all show long, we're celebrating Mother's Day. Some stories from the past, some stories from listeners, and everything in between. And by the way, we want to hear from you, your mother's stories. Send them to

That's Our next storyteller is from Fort Worth, Texas. He moved us with his story, The Real Santa.

Roger Latham is back, along with his daughter Candy, to honor his mother and celebrate Mother's Day. Let's take a listen. A number of years ago, as I sat in my office, my father entered and handed me six small notepad-sized pages. Thought you might like to read these, he said. Although I did not know at the time, it might have been a good thing if he had provided a handful of tissues.

I'd need them. The words on the page were written in pencil. I recognized at once my mother's distinctive flowing cursive. I knew it well because she had faithfully written to me for all of my three years defending America from raging Germans.

It was 1967, so it could easily have been Vietnam. These pages held a blank verse poem. I began to read. It was easy to realize it as the musings of a middle-aged woman with a soul deeper than the deepest sea.

When I finished, my cheeks were streaked with saline. I'd never known my mother to have such depth. Then it hit me. I too write words in rhyme, retrieved from the deep place fathomed below the surface of self. I smiled to think of the unexpected genetic gift my mother had provided.

Too often, I'd push such thoughts aside. Texas boys don't write poetry and certainly don't cry. The piece was never meant to be published. I imagined my mother wrote it on some sunny spring day with the windows allowing sweet smell of honeysuckle to kiss her soul.

It was never presented to a larger audience until her memorial service in the year 2000. I did the eulogy, no problem, but if I attempted to read the poem, it was an indisputable fact I'd seem a blubbering fool. So my son stepped in and read, Hands. As his presentation ended, I noticed, amidst the assembled, other folks also in tears. Following, you will hear my daughter read, Hands.

Her face and persona mimic her grandmother's perfectly. Hands by Gladys Latham I glanced the other day at my hands. I was ashamed at what I saw. The nails were worn, short and unpolished. The fingertips were rough, the skin spotted and tanned. Then suddenly they reminded me of a pair of hands out of my past and I smiled. These hands I last remembered as being still and quiet, folded over a quiet breast in eternal stillness and much deserved rest.

They had not been the hands of a great artist or world-renowned sculptor, nor had they set immortal music on paper or penned lovely poetry, but their work had been as beautiful and as immortal as if they belonged to such studied and talented mortals. These hands had had the blessed privilege of cuddling tiny, downy heads to breasts for food, the pleasure of scrubbing pink ears and hands. They had changed mountains of diapers and scrubbed tons of little clothes by hand.

They had buttoned thousands of buttons that somehow never seemed to stay buttoned. Through long and tedious hours, tucked pleats gathered ruffles, frills, laces and embroidery had been applied to dainty dresses and suits with infinite love and care. These hands had baked glamorous birthday cakes, each done with special care and importance. Rolls, pies, cakes and cookies, these hands make were the tastiest masterpieces ever produced on earth. With unsurpassed devotion and tenderness, these hands had soothed the brows fevered with measles, whooping cough, mumps and flu, and wiped a thousand noses. They had bandaged hundreds of little toes with professional skill and neatness and wiped away the tears of fear and pain. These were the hands that had plucked the peach tree switch to administer discipline, never in anger, always in love. Then when the terrified screams of nightmares of little ones came in the night, there was always quieting love. These hands had held the family bible during family prayer and dressed a large portion of the Sunday school enrollment on Sunday morning.

They had known the emptiness of burying a tiny firstborn son. These the hands of a sculpture? Yes. For they had taken five small mounds of red, God-given clay, and molded five lovely strong bodies. The hands of an artist?

Yes. For with the tenderness of love, sacrifice and devotion, they painted the picture of love and kindness on the hearts and soul. Then the shame of my work-worn hands vanished.

For they had reminded me of the hands of my mother. And a special thanks to Roger Latham and his daughter, Candy, for sharing that beautiful poem with us, My Mother's Hands, a terrific job also on the production by Greg Hengler. All show long celebrating Mother's Day here on Our American Stories. Lee Habib here, the host of Our American Stories. Every day on this show, we're bringing inspiring stories from across this great country, stories from our big cities and small towns, but we truly can't do the show without you. Our stories are free to listen to, but they're not free to make. If you love what you hear, go to and click the donate button. Give a little, give a lot.

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