We’re in this together


November 29, 1986


  JESS, The "Just"
  (A Christmas Tribute to Mrs. Jessie Mae (OWENS) Talton)


1. VIRTUOUS!! UPRIGHT!! HONEST!! "CON-SCIEN-TIOUS"!!
  A description of JESSIE MAE OWENS TALTON, a mother whose prayers are "sent up"!! --
  For the family that she loves so dearly.
  So now I "offer" my own tributes, sincerely!

2. The most difficult job in the whole wide world
  Is to be the mother of a shy and bashful girl.
  Sometimes JESSIE MAE did spend a lot of time
  Hoping earnestly to find

3. All the right words to help her daughter, Gertie, to grow.
  ONLY!! -- JESSIE MAE would have loved me so!
  Through the years, I've heard JESSIE TALTON say
  Words that expressed her heart's dismay.

4. "I know you wish you had another mother!"
  If only you, Mother, knew how you prepared me for trouble.
  Sometimes circumstances must be "arranged"
  So that God's will can be properly explained.

5. Remember how your education stopped in Grade 6,
  Even though Professor Berry did not want you to quit?
  A mother's heartache comes for a purpose.
  God KNEW you would have a child that's shy and nervous!

6. God gave you the wisdom of the daughters of Ze'LOPH-e-had.
  They, too, wanted their father's name to last.
  "The daughters of Ze-LOPH-e-had speak right," God said.
  So, too did WILLIE MAYE OWENS make his daughter a tribal head.

7. You, Mother, have six (6) daughters, MINUS one (1),
  And two (2) strong and daring sons!
  There's no way to tell what NEDDY would be
  Since she lived only two weeks.

8. The eldest child is always "clever"
  And JoAnne (TALTON) Tisdale refuses to be a failure!
  The second child is sometimes the "rebel";
  So, too, is Gloria Jean (TALTON) Edwards-Metoyer a "go-getter"!

9. By the time there is a third child,
  Anybody knows why Deloise (TALTON) Alexander is not quiet!
  Four girls in a row can be discouraging,
  Since Gertie Mae TALTON is like soap detergent!

10 The fifth child is treated like a king.
  You called your first son, Joe Willie TALTON, potent as a bee sting!
  It, the year of 1950, was a new decade -- of ten years,
  When your second son, Freddy TALTON, was born, with big ears!

11. Whenever God "doubles" up
  You know THERE HAS TO BE a suffering "cup".
  NEDDY TALTON may have been needed elsewhere,
  Since she had two strong grandfathers who did share

12. Hereditary genes of compassion and of courage.
  God needs small angels, sometimes, in a hurry!
  Since God's requirements sometimes leave empty spots
  Your eighth child, Betty Gray (TALTON) Rucker must endure times that are hard.

13. "I WISH I "WAS" IN ITALY!" You often spoke
  But only because you knew your children are special folk.
  Those times that you closed the windows hard
  And let the window sticks do "their job"

14. You proved the realness of a mother's love!
  Have you ever read verse 13 of chapter 23 of Proverbs?
  When you borrowed some shoes for me,
  You gave to me such dignity!

15. The four-leaf clover skirt I needed seemed out of reach
  But you sat down with a needle and thread to let me see
  That a mother's love refuses to accept the answer, "No!"
  And your faithfulness helped me to grow.

16. "I USED TO BE LIKE YOU!" I hear you sometimes say --
  SERIOUS-MINDED!! SHY!! "IN PLACE"!!
  Then you, Mother, should understand why
  At 39 years old, I am still so often shy.

17. Inside of me runs a "pattern" of you,
  Plus!!--You married a quiet TALTON man who's inside of me, too!
  I am like a film and a tape recorder.
  Just like you, I like to keep my life in order.

18. I was Second Grade and I could not hide
  The "instant" memory and the "Griffin eyes",
  Which made the teachers stop to recognize
  That there is honor and beauty in being quiet.

19. You "borrowed" Lucy Nell Finley's party dress
  When my Second Grade teacher put me to the test,
  And made me --QUEEN FOR A DAY"!!
  "My king" was a "Watley" --Mitchell Ray

20. I guess you were famous more than you know.
  So the teachers gave a poem to learn, by "rote".
  When I lost the poem, you were upset!
  "I CAN WRITE IT OVER AGAIN!" I said.

21. Already the poem was in my memory.
  That's one of the traits you gave to me.
  I could quickly memorize important facts.
  You gave me a heritage I CAN'T TAKE BACK!

22. Now listen to this if you will;
  God gave me a very good "deal".
  What I am about say is "private" but true.
  You will clearly understand why I have a mother LIKE YOU.

23. When I was 11 years old and in the 7th grade,
  The changes inside of my body were made.
  It was a "cycle" of fear for me,
  The day that I entered puberty!

24. The blood-stained bed was only the start
  Of your own tedious journey to instruct my heart,
  That asking questions can save you from shame.
  Menstruation is not an easy "game"!

25. You were always so observant WITH ME,
  After I failed my first test of puberty.
  That purple box [kotex] in the "chiffero"
  Never answered the questions I needed to know.

26. So you came to the school campus in heated anger,
  When you saw that my body was in danger.
  There was no school for me that day,
  Because you saw that I needed to get life "straight".

27. ALWAYS!! -- You have spoken firmly TO ME,
  Using a mother's wisdom so freely,
  To help me to learn about feminine protection.
  God NEVER makes a mistake in motherhood "selections".

28. The day that I stood at the washtub, "outside",
  Again, you were aware that I was untrained and shy.
  My red, white and blue flag-striped skirt became stained with blood
  And again you gave me that "motherly" shove

29. To teach me how to record and to remember the "days"
  That my body would have its own way,
  ACCORDING TO THE CYCLE OF LIFE which God did plan.
  Still, I NEVER did wish that I were ever a man!

30. Of all your daughters BEFORE me,
  I seemed to be the only one, you see,
  That needed the heaviest hand.
  There was so much about life that I did not understand.

31. First, the New Year's party of December 1959
  Taught me the value of following my own mind.
  When I saw my older sisters kissing boys,
  I followed their examples like a robot toy!

32. Neither JoAnne, nor Gloria Jean, nor Deloise
  Loved me enough to teach me to say "No!"
  So, my sisters told you what did.
  I didn't mean to be a "bad" kid!

33. You were horrified by what my sisters said
  And you fussed at me ONLY!! -- instead!
  Because an 12-year old had been left alone
  To understand that boys kiss with their tongues!

34. After that you were like a hidden camera!
  And "manish" boys were left stammering
  That you, Mother, kept them from misusing me.
  You taught me such strong morality.

35. "Short-shorts" became a terror to me
  After you saw me at the well talking to Emmitt Lee!
  Community boys were afraid of you.
  I guess they had heard about your window sticks, too!

36. Remember when JoAnne went to the cafe called Red Onions?
  She tried to be a "fast" little woman!
  But you showed her who was boss.
  So all the manish boys got scared and backed off.

37. Whenever boys tried to misuse your girls,
  Your heated anger could singe a dog's fur!
  So the "bad" boys were afraid to face you
  And they sent "their requests" from the school,

38. Not daring to show their faces!
  All they boys wanted was for your girls to be disgraced.
  The strength of a loving mother paves a lonely life
  As she works to protect her children from vice.

39. So God "cuts" an identical pattern
  Of strong mothers who climb life's lonely "morality" ladder,
  Denying her own self of earthly gains.
  A godly mother will never be made ashamed.

40. Goliath laughed when a little boy faced him;  
  Strength is not always in "size", but KNOW WHEN --
  When to speak and when to chastise.
  I'm glad God placed you on my side.

41. You have a strength that others cannot match.
  You dared to have a strong "back"!
  Even you brothers feared you!
  So talking was mostly all that they could do.

42. When Uncle "J.T." babysat for your children.
  He found out that you loved us dearly!

43. JESSIE MAE didn't allow "no" funny business.
  And Uncle "J.T." knew he would get a whipping.
  Only his speed saved his "hide".
  If you abuse JESSIE MAE's children, you'll face some fire!

44. But your compassion was even more fearless!
  Your baby sister, Bammer, was delirious
  As she ran from her husband's anger.
  Only JESSIE MAE would dare to be the Lone Ranger,

45. And hide her sister from the storm.
  JESSIE MAE always IS!! strong!
  I was very young the morning I awoke
  And saw Aunt Bammer sleeping beside me -- a boast!!

46. A BOAST!! -- that my own mother JESSIE MAE
  Could bring hope to the most dreary day.
  Bammer's marriage seemed at an end
  Until her sister became her friend.

47. There was no situation you could not face--
  Danger!! Abuse!! Sometimes your children's disgrace!
  But, FOR ME, you HAD TO BE tough and "cold",
  To teach me how to be courageous and bold.

48. You placed me in a lonely room
  Because my 9th grade teacher made me assume
  The responsibility for a Geography academic test.
  Mother, you dared to separate me from all the rest.

49. As I studied on Sunday afternoons,
  Other children played and "crooned".
  Some kids rebel when they are singled out
  But you, mother, taught me to be sturdy and stout.

50. I studied and I studied, quiet and shy.
  You showed me how to sacrifice.
  Hebrews 11:6 is so very true.
  Diligence will be rewarded in whatever you do.

51. I won 2nd place IN GEOGRAPY in 1961 at Carroll High School
  Because you are so strict, through and through!
  When I was 11th grade, the history teacher "ruled"
  That I "again" would represent Eastside High School.

52. Because I have a strong mother who is strict,
  Even school teachers mad your name "stick",
  That you have a daughter who inherited your mind.
  JESSIE MAE TALTON!! -- Gertie's mother! One of a kind!

53. No child can ever surpass her mother
  Who has been a strong buckler in great troubles.
  "The disciple is not above his master!"
  You have protected me from so many disasters!

54. You have been MORE than a mother to me!
  You dared!! -- to teach me chastity.
  Sometimes parents get an unction
  And refuse to let their children go to every function.

55. No matter how many children a mother has,
  Always, there is one who can give her "gas"!
  Older children, too, get indigestion
  If a younger child passes God's inspection.

56. ". . .And his father rebuked him . . . ;"
  Jacob's children wore his patience thin!
  Joseph was a "pattern" of Jacob, his father
  And I, too, am your intrepid daughter.

57. Joseph knew his father's manner of doing things.
  Children learn more by observing.
  "And they told him all the words of Joseph . . . ."
  Jacob's example made his son a bold soldier.

58. The only proof a child can give
  To show a parent that he still lives
  IS!! -- to follow the pattern from childhood,
  When parents are fearless and often misunderstood.

59. JUST!! = "Virtuous", you image through and through.
  You have fought hard to keep me clean and true!
  JUST!! = "Upright", Will Owens' special gift
  Of teaching his daughter JESSIE MAE to "uplift",

60. To be an anchor and refuse to move!
  You and "Papa" placed me in a hectic school!
  JUST!! = "Honest", a store merchant's guide,
  Of why JESSIE MAE's credit rating is so high.

61. "Conscientious"!! -- CAREFUL! METICULOUS! PRECISE!
  For me you are always an excellent guide.
  There are sad and lonely things you have endured
  As you taught me to be faithful and "pure".

62. CAREFUL = "Cautious", "Watchful", "Shrewd", "Smart".
  Can't you understand why my head is so "hard"?
  METICULOUS = "Fussy"; "Finicky"; "Exacting"; "Demanding".
  You , Mother, refused to be weak, JUST patient and understanding.

63. PRECISE = "Accurate"; "Strict"; "Nice"; "Uncompromising";
  You are a GREAT mother even when you're chastising.
  Because my father is stubborn, YET gentle,
  Sometimes I, myself, might seem offensive.

64. You spent the most time with me,
  Patiently enduring my sadness and my grief.
  You have had the most difficult job
  Of imparting courage and boldness to a "shy" heart.

65. When other parents said "Yes", you weighed things out.
  Sometimes you said "No" and I would put!
  The "shy" child is independent of difficult moments,
  And so a mother may think she has not been competent.

66. But you, "Muh-dear" would not have been chosen
  If God had wanted me to remain in the land of Goshen!
  Your examples can never be erased from my mind --
  Stubborn, yet gentle! Compassionate and kind!

67. The name "JESSIE" is a form of the word JUST;
  You are the one who remains firm when you must!
  ". . . And was subject to them!" A mother's precepts!
  I honor you, Mother, for the strength you have kept!

Re-Issued October 19, 1994