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A toast to Mom on her special day

Since God established the profession of motherhood, sons and daughters have recited this old Irish toast. Like all sentimental discourse made in pubs with pints held high, it begins with much merriment and rejoinders of laughter. But after guzzles of Guinness galore, even the most calloused of souls softens for dear old mum.

This Mother's Day, grab an Irish accent and a cup of ale, and say cheers to mum like blokes from the isle of blarney:

To Mum, it takes on to know one! [Lads and lasses clink glasses together and roar a favorable, "To Mum!"]

To Mum, who wiped my bum; and after teaching me how, washed my stained knickers out.

To Mum, may her temper be short, and her memory even shorter. [This poor sot, soaked clean through to his liver, has dedicated a few too many to his mum, and can no longer rhyme. A kind, able-tongued gent smoothly steps in.]

To Mum, she's in love with the switch, the belt and the strap. She's enamored with discipline wherever it's at.

May her pipe always smoke. May her snuff can ne'er empty, nor her pistol be broke. May she keep to the bed é─˛til the children are fed. May her teeth stay in tight. May her hair not turn white. ["Hear, hear," cheers the crowd as the bartender makes rounds.]

May she roll and howl and shout, but fail to catch us when her dander is out. May she blow party horns; may her toes ne'er ha' corns.

May the hair of Mum's wig be as thick as feathers of quail. May her door have no latch; may her fridge have no bell. May her larder be stocked with good whiskey and brew. May her turkey be browned and juicy all through. [At this juncture, protestants and Catholics alike make the sign of the cross and shout, "Amen, brother."]

May Mum's heart not lament if we move in again. May she welcome, as well, all our lazy-bum friends. May the fountain of youth flow straight to Mum's tub. May she ne'er grow too old to cook us good grub.

May the angels in heaven love dear old Mum, for shoeing our feet and curbing our tongues. May St. Mary give her comfort in the darkest of night. May the Lord keep her and ne'er close his fist too tight . [These words lead to overt, sappy, sloppy weeping and the goblet gets refilled and passed to another willing bloke, who puts a schmaltzy spin on things, through intoxication and a thick brogue.]

What shall I say about Mum?; the utterly impractical, never predictable, something irascible, quite inexplicable, Mum. Strange blend of shyness, pride and conceit, and stubborn refusal to bow in defeat; she's spoiling, yet ready to argue and fight. The smile of a child fills her heart with delight.

[Stupored smiles curl the corners of everyone's mouth.]

Her eyes are the quickest to well up in tears; her strength is the strongest to banish our fears. Her faith is as fierce as her devotion is grand, and there's no middle ground on which she will stand. [Celebrated Mum is, in fact, the only one still standing - at home, browning the turkey and babysitting the grandchildren.]

Who is a mum but someone to toast, someone to gibe, someone to roast. My mum [The orator continues, struggling against sniffles and a slur] is the best Mum, loyal, willing and able. Now let's get to drinking! Mugs up off the table!

To my own mum, I raise my cup (of milk) and say, "Happy Mother's Day!"

Web posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006

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