Weekly Comments Archive
Archived Issue
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
ISSUE #867
Will Rogers Salute to Mothers

Here are excerpts from two radio broadcasts on Mother’s Day, in 1930 and 1935.

“My own mother died when I was ten years old.  My folks have told me that what little humor I have comes from her.  I can’t remember her humor but I can remember her love and her understanding of me.

Of course, the mother I know the most about is the mother of our little group.  She has been for twenty-two years trying to raise to maturity four children, three by birth and one by marriage. You know, there ought to be some kind of a star given to any woman that can live with a comedian.  Now, that little compliment ought to repay for the flowers that I forgot to get today.”

“This is Mother’s Day. Of course it’s pretty late in the evening now to remind you of it.  If you didn’t know it before, there’s not much you can do about it now, unless you, well, you might possibly shame you into going to a florist.

They’re keeping open this evening just to accommodate late consciences.

Mothers, it’s a beautiful thought.  I was just in here listening to a friend of mine, Rabbi Magnin, a very popular Jewish rabbi.  He was delivering a beautiful thing over the radio about Mother’s Day, and I felt ashamed to come in with my little words.  I mean well, but I ain’t got the words.

But Mother’s Day, it’s a beautiful thought.

And someone said, ‘Let’s give Momma a day. We’ll give her a day.’  Give her a day, and then in return why Mother gives you the other 364.  See?

I think that was awful generous of whoever thought of the idea of giving her one out of the 365.  You know, we have Apple Week, and Don’t Beat Your Wife Week, and National Safety Week, and everything.  They could have given Mother a week, but that would have been giving Mother a little the best of it, so they says, ‘We’ll give Mother a day.’ Of course, I doubt even then if the thing would have gone through if it hadn’t been for the florists. They grabbed it and started putting the idea over..

Of course, florists, they got mothers, too. But they’ve got more flowers than they’ve got mothers, and they’ve got a great organization.

The florists, they’ve just practically corralled this Mother’s Day business. They have led us to believe that no matter how we have treated our mothers during the past year that a little bouquet of hyacinths or daisies will square it, not only with mother but with our conscience, too, when as a matter of fact you don’t have to be squared with your mother. She knows you better than you know yourself.

A mother is the only thing that is so constituted that they possess eternal love under any and all circumstances. No matter how you treat them, you still have their love. I was telling that to my wife today, and I was telling her a little thought that I wanted to use in there, and I said, ‘You know, Betty, a mother and a dog is the only two things that has eternal love, no matter how you treat ’em.’ And my wife made me cut the dog out. Said it didn’t sound very good and it might sound disrespectful to a mother, but I certainly didn’t mean it that way. But it’s the only thing that really is. You know what I mean. So the poor old dog he’ll have to go. I can’t use it on account of my wife made me leave the dog out, but he still loves you just the same, just as much as a mother did.

But this being Mothers Day… maybe some day, we’ll have Dog Day, too, and I can use that on the dog.  I really hate to leave the dog out, but my wife runs this outfit.  Well, anyhow, they both, no matter what you do to them, they all love you.

Mothers are naturally glad to have this day dedicated to ‘em, and they’re glad that we pay them this homage and remembrance, but it hasn’t increased their love one bit. It’s made no changes in her. She can see through this Mother’s Day thing. She knows that we were almost forced by law to do something about her. And there’s no conceit in a mother. She’s not taking it conceitedly at all, and there’s much wisdom in her.

But to get back to this flower business, there’s nothing in the world more beautiful than flowers. The florists and the horticulturists, they’ve done great things to nurse these flowers along until they’re beautiful beyond anything we could possibly think of.

And every home that can possibly afford ’em should have flowers all you can. But on the other hand, there’s an awful lot of need and want in the country, and I got a plan. My plan is not to eliminate flowers. I’m strong for flowers, but they’ve just got one drawback. You can’t eat ’em. And I imagine an awful lot of mothers today would not have rebelled if you’d sent ’em a ham. Yeah, a cut of beef or a whole lamb or something.

Suppose the meat growers had been on the job and linked Mother’s Day up with their organization like the florists have. If they’d done that, instead of receiving a bunch of hollyhocks, she’d receive a cluster of pork chops.

So my plan is to give mothers more than one day. Pardon my generosity toward mothers, but I would just give mothers at least twelve days a year. I’d say, for instance, the first day of every month is going to be Mother’s Day.

January 1st, we’d start off and that would be Mother’s Forgotten Christmas Present Day. All sons and daughters who had forgot to send anything for Christmas, they’d have a week more to remember it in. Then February 1st would be Gloves and Mittens and Overshoes Day.  She’d have worn out the old ones chopping wood to cook for you. Then one day would be Mother’s Dress Day. And one day would be Mother’s Transportation Day. That is, those that could afford it could give their mother a car or something. The modern mother, she don’t want lilacs or a corsage of pansies or something, but give her a Model T Ford, or you could give her a Chevy  or a Chrysler. And those who couldn’t afford it could give her a bicycle. A modern mother could ride it. Shorts and a bicycle would be a great thing for her. She’d take that in preference to a little spray of Johnny jump-ups or carnations.

Then one of the twelve mother’s days would be Pay Mother’s Rent Day.

It looks like a big idea. I don’t know of any project that has any bigger field to draw from, ’cause practically everyone has a mother. So watch the Will Rogers Twelve Mother’s Day a Year Plan.

Father had a day, but you can’t find anybody who remembers when it was…  It’s been so confused with April the first.”


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