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Opinion: Cherish your moms

I hope everyone and their mother is enjoying this Mom’s Day weekend. If the comic strip Family Circus is to be believed mom will be served breakfast in bed and her kitchen will look like a cyclone hit it afterward. Restaurants all across the country will be filled to capacity as the after-church crowd vies for seating with those celebrating all things mommy.

My mother whose name was Quo Vada Kirk Hill was an amazing woman. I never knew that one of the reasons she made me crazy is because we are so much alike. The older I get the more I appreciate our similarities and wish there were more of them. She had a 1930 vintage manual peddle Singer sewing machine. No matter how many times my father wanted to buy her a new electric machine she refused and fought valiantly for her old model. She said her machine sewed at the perfect speed and that she wouldn’t be able to keep up with a new-fangled electric gadget. You may see now where I get my fondness for cliques and colloquialisms.

She passed on her interest in the paranormal and the occult. Mom believed them to be a science one studies, not a religion one believes in, she said.

I inherited her love of books and some of my best childhood memories are of the two of us visiting the brownstone building that housed the Madera County Library before the new one was built in the 1970s.

Cooking was not one of her passions. She thoroughly disliked canning the produce from my dad’s garden. Her mother, Lillie Mae Hawkins Kirk, and Daddy would enjoy getting together and can all weekend. I helped canning tomatoes just once. I hated it and never canned another thing.

My dad loved to cook so much that at one point he worked full-time cooking at the Fruit Basket and Farnesi’s restaurants. He made the fresh pies for both places.

And speaking of restaurants in case you haven’t heard Farnesi’s Restaurant is closing its doors at the end of the month. Don Cedarloft and Carla Roberts are getting a well-deserved retirement and another Madera icon is slipping into the shadows never to be seen again.

If Sunday is anything like last week be prepared for the number of customers. There were 35 cars in the parking lot at noon.

I went by to talk to Donnie about a group of my classmates getting together for a recreation of a favorite childhood memory. As always they still don’t take reservations. When I saw the number of cars as I cruised the lot counting I knew they were way too busy for idle chit-chat. I went back Monday and heard just how slammed they had been all day.

If your childhood memories include a family meal at Farnesi’s and you want to revisit it, time is winding down.

The chicken-fried steak, breaded veal cutlets and hot roast beef sandwiches will be missed. There is a request making the rounds hoping Donnie will share his bread pudding recipe since they are going out of business. I also understand they are one of the only restaurants around that still serve liver and onions and its spaghetti is legendary as well.

Cherish your mother while you still have her. One day, too soon, you will turn around and she’ll be gone.

Long days and pleasant nights, have a great weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing: or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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