Happy Mother’s Day – GrowingUpKorean

First off, Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! Thank you for continuous life lessons, whether we want them or not.

Growing up, I remember my mom teaching me the art of having a green thumb (I still have a brown thumb). She taught me how to cut grass, use the weed eater, dig up weeds, plant bushes, and other fun stuff. When cutting the grass, we didn’t have trash pick up, so we would have to either burn the grass clippings or take it to the county dump.

So this particular Saturday, I was instructed to burn it. If you live in Fayetteville before they annexed the westside, then you had to call “Talking Fingers” (yall remember Talking Fingers?) for the burn code. The burn code was a number the fire department gave if the weather was good for fire burning or not. The lower the number on a scale of 1-20, the better it was to burn. Less wind, not too dry, etc.So on this day, the number was 14, which meant it probably wasn’t the best idea to burn grass. But my momma told me to burn the grass so I burnt the grass.

After burning the hill of grass, I went inside and fell asleep. I don’t remember how long I was sleep, but my sister woke me up and said “Joe, the fire started back.”I popped up to 4 out of 5 of my neighbors’ backyards on fire. I’m talking Smokey The Bear has failed in preventing the fire.

I had no idea what to do. I ran over to one neighbor’s house and used their hose to spray their back yard and their neighbor’s. The neighbor next to that house said “Let it burn my yard so I dont have to cut it”.


So I run to the last house’ backyard but they didn’t have a hose. I run to their front door banging on the door, but no one came to answer. Their dogs have already jumped the fence and running around. The fire is 5 feet away from their house. I run back to the first house and I feel the “stare”. – All kids know their parents stare when they are doing something they aren’t supposed to be doing – I look back to my backyard and my momma is standing mid way in the yard with her hands on her hips. I froze.

All my mother says is “Finish it, dummy!”

Now I’m running and crying at the same time. I trying to unhook the hose but all I can think about is how much trouble I’m in.

Once I get the hose connected to house, I get the fire out. As soon as I get back in my yard, I hear firetrucks sirens. I panic. My mother is yelling at me and tells me to go in the house. Man, I just knew I was in big trouble.

The firetrucks pull up to my neighbors’ house and make sure the fire is out. My momma is in the backyard, watching. I’m in the house looking out the window, watching. The firemen come talk to my mom for a few minutes and they leave. My momma comes in the house and I immediately start to tell her my side of the story.

“SHUT UP!” my momma said.

I did. I went to my room unsure of my future… but I did get a whoopin and I’m here today so… 😁My momma never told me what the conversation was between her and the firemen. I assume she told them we would make a donation for years, because for the next 3 years, we went to the fire station to take family pictures…

Momma, I appreciate all the lessons you taught me. Now as a parent, I understand the trials and tribulations that parenthood brings and I did not make it better when I was a child.

Thank you for not killing me, but raised me the best of your abilities, and I think you did a helluva job.

Love you momma!



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