Well, Friday was mom’s day off to hear us kids. This was because Saturday was our day off. Still she made a passel of donuts or fried pies filled with apples, peaches and strawberry preserves, and us kids pigged out, after turning out the lights to the neon-lit dime store in town. Still a lot of work for mom. Then it’s Mother’s Day. Mom laughed her way through our silly homemade cards, then she cooked. Moms are that way — they give much more than they take.
Mom was there that frightful day of the great tri-state tornado. On the ground in three states, DeSoto was gone, others devastated. Mom said God spared St. Anthony’s in Murphysboro. It filled up fast. The death toll — 694. Her job as a skinny girl (her word) was to open and close heavy doors, and tend to one-half bushel tins cooking hot dogs. She worked all night ‘til a nun said you’re going to get some sleep.
With her yesteryear experiences she worried more than mothers do. We had many mean, darkening skies, and peach tree-snapping winds. In drought day, any sudden drop in temperature was dangerous. I heard the wind in the night — I thought our old garage would be blown to Josie’s Sawmill. I saw one tornado within one mile. It was scary. You could hear its power, like a huge rope bouncing over the land. Mom was right — there can always be a tornado.
Joe Fontana, Roxana