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Wednesday Feature: Happy Mother’s Day

This upcoming Sunday is Mother’s Day. Despite its commerciality, it does have a history dating back to the early 1900s. In 1908, Anna Jarvis in honor of her deceased mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis created the first U.S. version of Mother’s Day. Ann Reeves Jarvis was an activist who founded Mother’s Day Work Clubs. A staunch Episcopal Methodist woman, she taught Sunday school. It was during a Sunday school class that her daughter supposedly, came up with the inspiration for Mother’s Day via a prayer. Notably, as the holiday took on a greater focus toward gifts and cards for moms, Jarvis became unfavorable to the day as now commemorated. The actual holiday as we know it became nationalized in 1914.

Celebrations related to “mothers” date back to ancient Greek and Roman times. Festivals were held in honor of the mother goddesses of Cybele and Rhea. Mothering Sunday is a Christian festival that started in the United Kingdom and Europe. It occurred on the 4th Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday, where Christians returned to their mother church – the main church in their locale for a special worship service. This tradition ultimately became more secular, focused on gifts to mom and then more or less, merged with the American tradition in the 1930s and 1940s.

Below are some fun Mother’s Day facts that most people probably don’t know.

  • Mother’s Day is typically the busiest day of the year for restaurants.
  • More calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year.
  • Mother’s Day is the third highest sales day of the year for plants and flowers.
  • President Woodrow Wilson signed Mother’s Day into law in 1914.
  • Last year (2022), $31 billion was spent on Mother’s Day with the average gift amount of $245.
  • The most popular gift on Mother’s Day is a card and 41% of folk buy jewelry for mom.
  • Mother’s Day is a worldwide holiday.

As we approach this weekend and our honor and celebration of moms, I think very much about mothers, mine of course (who has passed) but also of the role of “mother”. Being a mother is not solely, a biologically driven title. Mom is a title more universal than just related to a person that gave birth. My wife is a mother, but she never gave birth. Parents of adopted children are moms and dads, just the same. I’ve known many adoptive parents and they are just as attached, just as loving, just as committed, and yes, just as hopeful, frustrated, excited, etc., as biological parents. Mom is sometimes nature but always, nurture.

The universality that I attribute to “mom” comes from my own history. My grandmother served in many ways, as a surrogate mom when I was growing up. I spent many, many days with my grandmother and she in turn, nurtured me in the same ways as my mom. She was a kind but a pious and serious woman; the matriarch of the family. She was about chores, reading, and always, amazing food. My mom somehow, never got the cooking or baking gene from my grandmother. She passed away just shy of 102 and I will always, have cherished memories of her as an “additional” mom in my life.

So, on this Hump Day, I wish all the moms, grandmoms, and mothers to be, a joyous and cherished Mother’s Day. You deserve all the honor and appreciation you receive on Sunday as mom is and always will be, universally symbolic of nurture and care.


May 10, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Wednesday Feature: The Shot Heard Round the World

Happy Hump Day subscribers and readers! With best intentions met, every Wednesday I’ll add a post totally unconnected to healthcare, health policy, economics, etc. These brief notes are the remnants of an old fun precedent I set for myself and my staff. They are meant to be inspirational, educational, and fun. Sort of a way to break-up the week and begin a fun journey into the remainder of the week and into the weekend. I hope you enjoy!

Today is the anniversary of the original “Shot heard round the world”. This phrase has been tied to three historic events (and other lesser events) one arguably, far more meaningful than the others. History buffs (I am one) will connect the dots quite quickly to the first reference but maybe not the second or third. The third and less historically significant “shot” aligns with baseball trivia. I’ll fill that piece in at the end.

Today is the anniversary of the start of the Revolutionary War – April 19, 1775. The “shot” is reference to the first gunshots that rang out at the start of the battles of Lexington and Concord, in Massachusetts, not far from Boston. The phrase comes from the opening lines of a poem written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Concord Hymn”. Emerson was referencing a battle/skirmish that his father and grandfather saw along the Old North Bridge in Concord. What is interesting about this reference aligning with the start of war is that the shots Emerson refers to are not the initial gunfire exchanged. The initial shot occurred at Lexington Green when British regulars encountered colony militia. Though neither group were ordered to fire, a shot from somewhere occurred and an exchange of gunfire took place.

The second reference of “shot heard round the world” has international connections. This reference is to the “shots” or “shot” that occurred during the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria Hungary. He was assassinated in Sarajevo (Yugoslavia) on June 28, 1914. Two shots were fired by the killer, one hitting Ferdinand’s wife Duchess Sophie and the second, killing Ferdinand. The significance of this shot and the event is that it is often referred to as the political genesis of WW I. The assassination basically pushed Austria-Hungary and other major European nations into the war.

For baseball fans, the third “shot” heard round the world refers to a walk-off home run hit by New York Giants (now San Francisco) outfielder Bobby Thomson to beat the Brooklyn Dodgers (now Los Angeles). The Giants won the pennant in 1951 as a result but lost the World Series to the New York Yankees.

Other less notable references to various events, primarily sports, use this coined phrase. In golf. the reference is used to a true rarity of a shot – a double-eagle made by Gene Sarazen in the 1935 Master’s on the 15th hole. Sarazen’s shot was holed from 235 yards on the Par 5, 15th. It was his second shot, thus a double-eagle or a score of 2.

Happy Hump Day!

April 19, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment