HOW WE KEPT MOTHER’S DAY by Stephen Leacock
Leacock, Stephen (1869-1944) – a famous Canadian writer of the 20th century. His stories, full of humour and sarcasm, expose the contradictions of life in modem bourgeois society.
Leacock says that the basis of humour lies in the contrasts offered by life itself, but “the deep background that lies behind and beyond what we call humour is revealed only to the few who. by instinct or by effort have given thought to it.”
So we decided to have a special celebration of Mother’s Day. We thought it a fine idea. It made us all realize how much Mother had done for us for years, and all the efforts and sacrifice that she had made for our sake.
We decided that we’d make it a great day, a holiday for all the family, and do everything we could to make Mother happy. Father decided to take a holiday from his office, so as to help in celebrating the day, and my sister Anne and I stayed home from college classes, and Mary and my brother Will stayed home from High School.
It was our plan to make it a day just like Xmas or any big holiday, and so we decided to decorate the house with flowers and with mottoes over the mantelpieces, and all that kind of thing. We got Mother to make mottoes and arrange the decorations, because she always does it at Xmas.
The two girls thought it would be a nice thing to dress in our very best for such a big occasion and so they both got new hats. Mother trimmed both the hats, and they looked fine, and Father had bought silk ties for himself and us boys as a souvenir of the day to remember Mother by. We were going to get Mother a new hat too, but it turned out that she seemed to really like her old grey bonnet better than a new one, and both the girls said that it was awfully becoming to her.
Well, after breakfast we had it arranged as a surprise for Mother that we would hire a motor car and take her for a beautiful drive away into the
country. Mother is hardly ever able to have a treat like that, because we can only afford to keep one maid, and so Mother is busy in the house nearly all the time.
But on the very morning of the day we changed the plan a little bit, because it occurred to Father that a thing it would be better to do even than to take Mother for a motor drive would be to take her fishing; if you are going to fish, there is a definite purpose in front of you to heighten the enjoyment.
So we all felt that it would be nicer for Mother to have a definite purpose; and anyway, it turned out that Father had just got a new rod the day before.
So we got everything arranged for the trip, and we got Mother to cut up some sandwiches and make up a sort of lunch in case we got hungry, though of course we were to come back home again to a big dinner in the middle of the day, just like Xmas or New Year’s Day. Mother packed it all up in a basket for us ready to go in the motor.
Well, when the car came to the door, it turned out that there hardly seemed as much room in it as we had supposed.
Father said not to mind him, he said that he could just as well stay home; and that he was sure that he could put in the time working in the garden; he said that we were not to let the fact of his not having had a real holiday for three years stand in our way; he wanted us to go right ahead and be happy and have a big day.
But of course we all felt that it would never do to let Father stay home, especially as we knew he would make trouble if he did.