A SALUTE TO GENERAL JEAN

by Steve Clem on May 13, 2012

I love my mom for so many reasons.

I love my mom because she taught me to tie my shoes (it was hard on her, I hear, since I was not a fast learner).

I love my mom because she was always there when I was hurt, whether by falling off my bike, or a fifth-grade girlfriend, or when I was scared that I wasn’t going to make it through college during my first semester away from home.

I love my mom because she taught us that we could always do better.

I love my mom because she taught my brothers and I at an early age to be self-sufficient and responsible.

We did our own laundry by junior high.

I remember learning how to make my own breakfasts (a hard-boiled egg) and after-school snacks (PBJ and hot chocolate) by third grade.

And we were regularly reminded of the things we had to do on a daily basis, whether it was at school, home, or elsewhere.

Chores were not an option.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that my mom’s nickname was always General Jean.

Some families have matriarchs. My family had a military dictator.

But make no mistake, the mutiny runs rampant in the Clem Corps.

My brothers and I (perhaps or perhaps not learned through informal tutorials led by my dad) have tormented my mom for more than 35 years.

She’s down with OCD. So we have fun rearranging her knickknacks and furniture.

She’s not one for someone changing up a schedule. So we’ll arrive late and leave later.

She doesn’t like chaos. So we do what we can to create it.

Yet she still loves us unconditionally.

And that might very well be the reason I love my mom the most.

Happy Mother’s Day to every mother out there tonight!

Steve Clem is a divorced dad, a recovering Republican, and a Prisoner in the Tundra. He is in The Guinness Book of World Records for being part of the largest Hokey Pokey of all time. He was the founding editor of the Iowa City weekly ICON.
(This piece originally appeared on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra May 8, 2011.)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Randee Ruth Baron May 14, 2012 at 12:38 am

a beautiful tribute….

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