Memories of My Mother, Effie Mae Lail Cook

Dixon & Effie Lail CookI can remember as a little girl sitting on my mother’s lap watching her mouth moved as she talked. I can remember her smiles, but all the things we did together are so special. Mother did not “play” much for she had 8 children and life was very demanding of her.

Mother was always up early and fixed a big spread for our breakfast. The girls always helped her, as we were not allowed to put all the work on Mom. She made some chocolate pudding for breakfast, which I have never heard of anyone serving their family since. Guess she knew we needed that. She worked so hard trying to keep things clean in her kitchen. You see, the men folks were not allowed in her kitchen to touch anything, as she was very preoccupied with cleanliness. The girls helped her with meal preparations and if the men wanted or needed anything like a drink of water or a biscuit, it had to be done by the girls. She did not want them touching her towels and was afraid they would.

Dad was so protective of Mom. He loved her so much! He made sure his girls were at her beck and call. We loved them both.
Mom’s hobbies were her work. She had a lot of interests that probably were hidden that we never knew, but then there would have been no time to do them. It seems that everything she attempted to do, she did with all her might and was meticulous with it. For example, her quilting was done all freehand and her stitches were small and consistently spaced. The patterns were cut very precise and seamed together precisely. She taught us to sew, but could make us redo seams that varied any from the 5/8 inch seam allowance. She made all the girls clothes and worked so hard doing this.

We lived on a big farm and that is how our Mom and Dad provided for us. The boys would help dad to get those crops in the ground early as possible. We had a huge garden and it was absolutely beautiful. Canning everything she could get her hands on, mom worked so very hard in the summer. After work on Wednesday evenings when possible, we would go to choir practice at St. Paul Baptist Church.

Mom and dad enjoyed gospel singing and wanted their children to participate. Whenever a shaped note singing school was in the area, we tried to knock off a little early from work so we could go. We visited a lot of area churches this way. The last day of the singing school we would have a singing convention and you cannot imagine the sounds coming from there. So wonderful a memory! On the way home, we talked about how we wish we could play the piano like someone else or could sing like someone else. Dad and Mom encouraged us by taking us!

Everything that was done included our whole family! There were no favorites or singling one of us out for anything. Birthdays were only significant enough to mention that it was our birthday. No one got left out or came out better than the other.

We would sit under the china berry tree in our yard while breaking our green beans for canning. It was there under that old tree that we had conversations about God and about our family, who our ancestors were and where they were buried, what happened to them etc. I just wish I had written all this stuff down because that has been so long ago. I want to know all those things now, and they are not there to ask.

Mom could make some of the best berry “sonkers” you could eat. It seems no one called them “sonkers”, but us. Most people called them “cobblers”. We would gather wild strawberries and take them to her. It might take us all morning to get enough for a sonker, but she would make it and it was always enough and everyone enjoyed them so. Blackberry sonkers were my brother, Norris’ favorite.

She loved her little flower garden on the side of the house. She just had flowers that her friends had shared with her. I especially enjoyed the early crocus, jonquils, iris, baby’s breath bushes. She loved dahlias, mums and roses.

I have so many memories of things she did for me, and these memories are so special, but one memory that surely stands out was when my first child was sick at about 1 year old. Tim had ran a fever, vomiting and diarrhea for 5 days or so and we were taking him back and forth to the doctor and it seemed like he was never going to get better. On Friday, mom came to check on him, and I was sitting crying. My house was a wreck, because all I had done was sit and held Tim. Every time I tried laying him down he would cry like he was really hurting and aching. I felt so sorry for him. I tried to sit still and not move. Mom came in and assessed the situation. She told me that she would hold him for me while I did my housework until Gene got home and we could take him to the doctor once more. She told me that she had been in similar situations with her children that all she could do was pray that they would get better and asked me if I had done that. Needless to say, I did that ! That day they put Tim in the hospital for some fluids and the next morning, we were so happy to see him standing up in his crib, playing and talking. You can be reassured, I was so thankful for my Mother for reminding me of prayer! It is something I do everyday and many times a day.

Mom died in December 1990, just a few months after we buried our son, Donnie, whom Mom loved so much. No doubt his death was a heavy burden on her heart.

So many memories that I wanted to share this one with you all today.

Published in: on May 12, 2013 at 6:59 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Hello, I would be interested in emailing you directly. My husbands family names are Cook, Queen, and Newton. Best, Tanya

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