Outdoor Adventures

Posted 5/5/21

Many Outdoor Memories By Brian G. Schommer A word that means the world to me… “M” is for the million things she gave me… you know the song, right? We all sang the song a few times growing up …

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Outdoor Adventures


Many Outdoor Memories

By Brian G. Schommer

A word that means the world to me… “M” is for the million things she gave me… you know the song, right? We all sang the song a few times growing up for sure. Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 9th and it will mark the fourth year that our family will celebrate without mom. For those of you who still have your moms here on the third rock from the sun, hug them. In time, you will not be able to do it and you will long for that one last hug. My original focus for this column was the fishing opener, but as luck would have it, this is one of those rare years that the opener does not take place on Mother’s Day. This gave me the chance to dedicate this week’s ink to moms residing in Hastings, Cottage Grove and Pierce County Journal-land. It was an easy transition as MOM stands for “Many Outdoor Memories.” Okay, I may have made that up, but it works, so I am going to use it.

My mom loved being outdoors. Gardening, working her flower beds, sweeping the sidewalks, and making sure the homestead was always looking the best it could were things that she truly enjoyed. Every summer, she would look forward to the “Burr Family Reunion” at Cleary Lake as it was the one day a year, she might dip her toes into the water while watching all the kids enjoy the beach. Mom was not a swimmer and knew her boundaries, and she enjoyed water activities from a distance. For mom, the enjoyment for her came from being able to witness those that she loved taking part in things that made them happy. As many moms, she did not live her life for herself, she lived it for others.

A favorite outdoor memory of mom that I love sharing is playing catch in the yard with her. Dad passed away a few months before my 4th birthday and even though I had an uncle and a few cousins just across the alley, and about 30 other kids around my age within a six-block radius, mom was determined to pass her love of the game onto her son by getting out in the yard and tossing the ball around from time to time. I am sure for the first several years, it just looked like a mom and son having fun in the yard. By the time I was 12, I did not realize how special these times were and like most prepubescent boys, I was a bit of a jerk to mom. The thought friends seeing me playing catch with mom was as close to horrifying as anything. I loved watching the Twins on television with her and questioning numerous managerial and umpiring decisions. Mom could “chirp” better than a lot of guys I have had the honor to be around during years of townball. Being seen in the yard playing catch with her… sadly, that lost its luster for me. I wish I still had the chance to watch a Twins game with her, or for that matter, maybe play a little toss with a wiffleball.

Every time I see Marigolds, Hosta plants and Hydrangeas, I think of mom. Our house was surrounded by a few varieties of Hosta and when they would flower in the spring, you could pinch the buds and they would make a popping sound. Not long after snapping a few, you could hear a popping sound in the house followed by, “Brian, leave those flowers alone.” I would have challenged anyone to find a weed in her flowers with an attached monetary bet for those willing. The problem was those same kids from the sixblock radius understood Mrs. Schommer was more than a little bit, well… anal retentive about her flowers and that would be a sucker bet. She was also that way about her garden.

A couple rows of cucumbers, a few rows of beans, a few tomato plants and rows of carrots made up her garden. With it just being the two of us after my sisters got married, mom tried passing her love of spending time outdoors in the garden to me. She was successful on the first part as obviously, being outdoors is a passion. That said, I do not mind a little gardening and find it cool to watch various veggie plants grow, flower and fruit. I have never found any pleasure in weeding the garden. None. When I did attempt to have a garden, it was very short-lived and full of weeds. Now, our garden is four elevated beds to which will have a couple tomato plants, some peppers and various herbs that our oldest will plant and maintain. The love of gardening seems to have skipped a generation but that is a cool thing about moms; their passions often pass to their grandchildren. I will still enjoy watching the “garden” grow from my chair on the deck.

I would imagine that many of us, especially us Generation X types (born 1965 to 1980) could share tons of great stories about our moms that include outdoor experiences. What are some of yours? I would love to hear some of them and, if it be alright by you, to share some of them in an upcoming column. The second Sunday in May is the day that we set aside to celebrate Mother’s Day. Celebrating mom 1/365 of the year does not seem right. Okay, she gets a birthday too… but come on, only two days for the person who carried you around for up to nine months, birthed you, fed up, did all she could to keep you safe, cleaned up the scrapes when you fell off the bike and even maybe played catch with you in the yard? That just does not sound right to me, and being I get to decide what I am going to write about each week, I think that giving our moms a little more love is a worthwhile use of space.

To add a little fun and incentive, for those who send me stories about “MOM” (Many Outdoor Memories of Mom), your name will go into a drawing for a pair of St. Paul Saints tickets and a parking pass for an upcoming game. The seats are behind home plate and if you have not heard, the Saints are now the AAA Affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Send your stories of MOM to [email protected] and I will confirm the story was received. I will put together a few folks to read the submissions to decide which ones will be printed. If your story makes it to the column, your name will be added a second time to the drawing. All stories must be received by Friday, May 14th (2021) no later than 1pm. Staff of the Journal Newspapers are not able to participate in the contest and should still give their moms a hug. Mother is a word that means the world to all of us. If your mom is still around, be sure to give her a call, a hug, a card or just hang out with her in the Great Outdoors on Sunday.