Worn to protect her dress and keep it clean Mother's apron held a real treasure trove From mopping her brow to handling hot skillets As she worked over the old kitchen stove Lena was bashful and hid behind Mother's apron When, at the front door, a stranger stood Pack peddlers, beggars and the Fuller Brush man Mother helped them all out when she could She would string the beans and shell the peas Then use her apron to carry out the scraps Go to the chicken house to gather the warm eggs Bringing an apron full on the way back That apron could carry enough juicy apples To make homemade pies to feed her brood Or cover the baby when rocking it to sleep And wave to us kids leaving for school Wetting it slightly with the tip of her tongue Mother could clean up a little, dirty face Or wrap it 'round her arms when the weather was cool For her cigarettes, it was a hiding place I've seen it carry sticks of kindling wood To start a fire in the stove before breakfast And even wiping an occasional runny nose Or comforting a colicky child when it fussed She used her apron instead of a basket Gathering vegetables from the garden for a meal On canning day, it served another purpose Giving the lids on the hot jars a final seal Mother made all her own pretty aprons And always changed them several times a day The last time I saw her, she was waving good-bye With her apron and I remember her that way Kathleen McCoy Eldridge© October 17, 2007 All Rights Reserved

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From The Heart Postcards