I Owe You

I Owe You

From A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul

I Owe You

When most people look through their wallets or their pocketbooks, way down at the bottom, past the credit cards, baby pictures and Green Stamps, they usually find a little ol’ dog-eared piece of poetry.

I was cleaning out my wallet the other day and I ran across a whole bunch of IOUs instead, some of them 30 years overdue.

Funny thing is that all these IOUs are owed to one person and I kind of feel like right now might be a pretty good time for an accounting.


Mom, I owe you for so many things—a lot of services. Like the night watchman, for instance—for lying awake nights listening for coughs, cries, creaking floorboards and me coming in too late. You had the eye of an eagle and the roar of a lion, but you always had a heart as big as a house.

I owe you for services as a short-order cook, chef, baker—for making sirloin out of hamburger, turkey out of tuna fish and two big ol’ strapping boys out of leftovers.

I owe you for cleaning services, for the daily scrubbing of the face and ears—all work done by hand—and for the frequent dusting of a small boy’s pants to try to make sure he led a spotless life. And for drying the tears of childhood and ironing out the problems of growing up, something no laundry could ever do.

I owe you for services as a bodyguard—for protecting me from the terrors of thunderstorms and nightmares and too many green apples.

And Lord knows I owe you for medical attention—for nursing me through measles, mumps, bruises, bumps, splinters and spring fever. And let’s not forget medical advice either—oh, no—important things like don’t scratch it or it won’t get well and if you cross your eyes, they are going to stick like that. Probably the most important of all was, be sure you’ve got on clean underwear, boy, in case you’re in an accident.

I owe you for veterinary services for feeding every lost dog I dragged home at the end of a rope and for healing the pains of puppy love.

I owe you for entertainment—entertainment that kept the household going during some pretty tough times—for wonderful productions at Christmas, Fourth of July and birthdays—and for making make-believe come true on a very limited budget.

I owe you for construction work—for building kites, confidence, hopes and dreams. Somehow you made them all touch the sky. And I owe you for cementing a family together so it could stand the worst kind of shocks and blows, and for laying down a strong foundation to build a life on.

I owe you for carrying charges—for carrying me on your books for the necessities of life that a growing boy just had to have—things like a pair of high-top boots with a little pocket on the side for a jackknife. And one thing, Mom, I will never ever forget—when there were only two pieces of apple pie left and three hungry people, you were the only one who suddenly decided you really didn’t like apple pie after all.

These are just a very few of the things for which payment is long overdue. The person I owe them to worked very cheap. She managed by simply doing without a whole lot of things that she needed for herself.

My IOUs add up to much more than I could ever hope to repay. But you know the nicest thing about it all is that I know she’d mark the entire bill “paid in full” for just one kiss and four little words—


Author Unknown

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