By Ron VandenBoom
by Ron VandenBoom
The Havre Daily News
Friday, May 7
On Sunday, May 9, millions of Americans will try, in some small way, to show their appreciation for their mothers.
Flower shops will do a bang-up business and phone companies expect to handle millions of calls from faraway children trying to touch base with mom.
Restaurants too will roll out the red carpet with special dinner offerings for families treating mom on her special day.
The greeting card industry also will play an important role this Mothers Day as millions of sons and daughters will try to find that special card to express a lifetime of gratitude.
But where and when did the tradition of Mothers Day begin and why today do we set aside the second Sunday in May to honor mothers?
Its unknown when the first Mothers Day celebration was held, but scholars agree that even ancient civilizations were known to honor motherhood.
The ancient Greeks, for example, set aside one day every year in the spring to honor the deity they believed was the Mother of all gods Rhea.
The Church, during the 17th century set aside the fourth Sunday of Lent to honor motherhood and it became known as Mothering Sunday.
A special cake, called the mothering-cake, was also said to be served at this time to add a festive touch.
The American version of Mothers Day is of debatable origins with different communities all claiming to be the first to celebrate Mothers Day.
Albion, Mich., for example, claims that Juliet Calhoun Blakeley started the American tradition when she stepped into the pulpit of the local Methodist Episcopal Church on her birthday in May of 1877.
She spoke out strongly in favor of the temperance movement and anti-temperance shenanigans.
Her sons are said to have been so impressed by her gesture that they vowed to return every year to mark the anniversary.
Her brothers eventually urged the local church to make the second Sunday of each May a day to honor Blakeley and all mothers.
Officially, credit goes to Anna M. Jarvis, who arranged the first Mothers Day church service on May 10, 1907, in Grafton, W.V. Jarvis organized the service to honor her own mother who died in 1904.
She wrote thousands of letters and is said to have gone through two fortunes in her attempt to get national recognition for a Mothers Day.
Jarvis tireless promotion of the idea gained acceptance in Pennsylvania in 1913, when it became the first state to declare the second Sunday in May Mothers Day.
The following year, 1914, the U.S. Congress followed Pennsylvanias lead and made Mothers Day a national occasion.
Still today, churches play a significant role in the celebration of Mothers Day and Havre churches are certainly no exception:
The Assembly of God Church will be having a Mothers Day Breakfast Sunday from 8:30-9:30 a.m. and all mothers will eat for free. Mothers also will be recognized during the mornings church service and receive a special gift.
The First Baptist Church in Havre also will honor the mothers in its congregation with a flower and recognition during the service.
Havres Sixth Avenue Christian Church will host the Lustre Christian High School choir from Lustre Montana Choir School who will give a special musical presentation from 10-10:45 a.m. Plants will be given to mothers during the mornings activities.
The First Presbyterian Church has put a new wrinkle in the Mothers Day lexicon by having a Mothers Day Name Draw. All the congregations mothers will put their names in the hat. The name drawn will be able to select a hymn of her choice. They also will have the menfolk serving the mothers during the coffee hour following the church service.
Flowers, corsages, and plants may be a part of most churches Mothers Day programs, but they are also a common part all Mothers Day gift giving.
At least thats the word from local florists who all say Mothers Day is their busiest day of the year.
Without a doubt, said Mary Schubring, co-owner of The Rose Garden in Havre.
Milam Floral, Hillside Floral, and The Rose Garden, all said they expect to be open at 10 a.m. Sunday to accommodate the last minute holiday shoppers.
All three of the shops also can take FTD or Telefloral orders for delivery to moms far, far away.
Brenda Friede at Milam Floral said flower arrangements are still the most popular Mothers Day item, but blooming plants are also popular.
According to Schubring and Friede, the hot FTD or Telefloral items this year are the Crystal Swan Bowl, the Swan Music Box, and the Swan Tea Pot. Each comes with the customers choice of floral arrangement.
Gift certificates are also a good idea, Friede said.
Perhaps nothing means more to mom on her special day than the gift she receives from her school-age children.
First among unique gifts this year might be the garden stepping stones made by students of Marilyn Granells fifth-grade class at Lincoln-McKinley School.
The stones come in green, terra-cotta, or gray and will be decorated with colored stones, glass, marbles, or ceramic tiles, Granell said.
The students drew the basic designs on paper and will personalize the stones with hand-prints or writing.
Students in Sharon Shepherds class at Highland Park School are making flowers out of construction paper that are also considered above average in the looks department.
A variety of activities at Sunnyside School are keeping students busy making plant holders and coffee mug and writing poems, said Principal Linda Kaze.
Some of the poems will be Japanese Haiku poems that follow a format of special five syllable, by seven syllable, by five syllable stanzas.
Biographical poems, silhouettes, envelopes, and banners are also among the items the schools teachers are working on as Mothers Day presents.
Mothers at Northern Montana Care Center will get a special treat at 7:30 p.m. Thursday when the Bullhook Bottoms Barbershop Chorus will entertain the seniors during a special strawberry shortcake social in the Ponderosa Room.
Activity Coordinator Marla Miller-Zeluff said invitations to the social were sent out early to family members.
Sunday, May 9, also will be a big day for the residents at the Care Center, Miller-Zeluff said.
Last year we had about 200 visitors, she said.
Miller-Zeluff added that no activities are planned for Sunday because many of the residents will go out with their families for dinner on Mothers Day.
Its just about the same as Christmas for the number of visitors, she said.
For sons and daughters wanting to phone mother on Sunday, Russ Cravens, manager of public relations for U.S. West, said there should be no problems getting an instant connection.
New and improved technology in recent years has improved telephone communication dramatically, Cravens said.
The addition of fax machines and Internet usage in recent years has expanded the ability of U.S. West and other phone companies to accommodate a large number of calls.
There are times during a normal work week that we will get more traffic than we expect to get on Mothers Day, Cravens said.
Cravens, using a survey conducted in April by National Family Opinion Research, estimates that of those individuals who are Internet connected, about half will send electronic greeting cards for Mothers Day. Many others are expected to send e-mail greetings.
It is also estimated that as many as 22 percent of todays kids would be willing to order Mothers Day gifts over the Internet and 11 percent would order flowers. Percentages for parents are less, but the trend toward electronic greetings and shopping is growing.