I love “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books. The stories are always uplifting and provide a real sense of comfort.
In honor of mothers everywhere, and in time for Mother’s Day there are two new books in the Chicken Soup series. One is for Mothers and Daughters. The other is for Mothers and Sons. Below is a little excerpt from each.
These books make fabulous gifts. I have two of each to giveaway. To enter scroll down and leave a comment…maybe a Mother’s Day memory. Also, please SPECIFY if you would prefer the book for daughters or sons. On Mother’s Day (May 10) I will draw four random winners (two for each book).
Read the excerpt below and enjoy.
Like Mother, Like Daughter:
She Did It Her Way
Mother’s love grows by giving.
“Mom, we’re getting married… sometime in June.” This
from my hippie daughter calling on a pay phone in
Maine. (No phone or electricity at her house — or perhaps
cabin is a better word.)
“We don’t want a fancy wedding or dressy clothes or a lot of
guests. We just want to be married in your backyard. I’ll let you know
Long ago, her father and I made up our minds to listen to her and
do things the way she wanted as much as we could. And of course,
I was thrilled she was getting married. I was always secretly worried
that marriage was too “old-fashioned” for her. She was a child of the
’60s, eager to right the wrongs of the world, to live life on the edge
and to never be part of the “establishment.”
Well, backyard weddings can be lovely, I thought. It’s not our
beautiful church with a majestic organ, flowing white dress or bridesmaids.
But, still… I took an upbeat approach, which was really the
only sensible thing to do under the circumstances.
Later with dates arranged, a guest list of sorts (our family and
best friends and “a bunch of friends… we’ll let you know how many”)
and the food decided on (“only veggie stuff and some champagne”),
she agreed I could ask the minister of our church to perform the
ceremony “for legal purposes.”
All negotiations were going well until I mentioned the wedding gown.
“No special dress, Mom. Sorry. Your first daughter, your good daughter
(said with a wry smile, a favorite family joke) did the white dress and veil
thing. Not me. I have lots of clothes that would do for a wedding.”
I thought of all her dresses (short, wild, braless) and realized
that she mostly wore jeans or cut-offs. Nothing I had seen her wear
in years even whispered “wedding” to me.
So in the following days, ignoring my own good advice to let
her do it her way, I wandered around different stores and looked at
dresses that might do for my bride-to-be daughter. Then I saw it:
simple, unbleached muslin with a shirred waist, scooped neckline
with just a bit of Irish lace and little capped sleeves. It was long, but
not floor-length. It was graceful, but not formal. It was lovely and
simple, and it was my daughter.
Envisioning her wearing it, I bought the dress and took it
Later that day, I placed the box on her bed with a little note stating:
“I just happened upon this while shopping (okay, a small white
lie). This looks like you. Would you try it on for me?”
When she came in that evening, she went to her room and all was
quiet. A bit worried I had hurt her feelings with my purchase, I went
upstairs to her room where she sat on the bed holding the dress on her
lap while tears rained down her cheeks — and she was smiling.
“I never knew you thought of me like this, Mom. The dress is so
lovely and soft and simple. I love it. And I’ll love wearing it for the
wedding. Thanks for knowing me so well.”
Two weeks later, on a sun-filled afternoon, friends gathered in
our backyard. Our daughter walked down the steps — to the strum
of a guitar — smiling proudly in her surprise dress. She looked wonderful,
as I knew she would.
It was a perfect wedding… almost.
Had I known her fiancé would be wearing yellow paisley bellbottoms,
I might have shopped for him as well!
Chicken Soup for the Bride’s Soul
Mothers and Sons:
Against the Odds
It was the summer of 1942. I was nineteen years old and a signalman
third class on the USS Astoria stationed in the South
One hot night in August, we found ourselves skirmishing with
the Japanese for control of Guadalcanal, gearing up for the bloody
battle that soon followed. At midnight, I finished my duty on watch.
Still wearing my work detail uniform of dungarees and a T-shirt, and
only pausing long enough to unstrap my standard-issue life belt and
lay it beside me, I fell into an exhausted sleep.
Two hours later, I was awakened abruptly by the sound of an
explosion. I jumped to my feet, my heart pounding. Without thinking,
I grabbed my life belt and strapped it on. In the ensuing chaos,
I focused on dodging the rain of enemy shells that were inflicting
death and destruction all around me. I took some shrapnel in my
right shoulder and leg, but by some miracle, I avoided being killed.
That first battle of Savo Island lasted for twenty minutes. After the
enemy fire ceased, the men left standing helped with the wounded,
while others manned the guns.
I was making my way toward a gun turret when suddenly, the
deck disappeared. My legs windmilled beneath me as I realized that
an explosion had blasted me off the deck. My shock was immediately
replaced by a stomach-clenching fear as I fell like a stone — thirty feet
into the dark, shark-infested water below.
I immediately inflated my life belt, weak with relief that I’d
somehow remembered to put it on. I noticed between ten and thirty
men bobbing in the water in the area, but we were too far away from
each other to communicate.
I began treading water, trying to stay calm as I felt things brushing
against my legs, knowing that if a shark attacked me, any moment
could be my last. And the sharks weren’t the only danger: The powerful
current threatened to sweep me out to sea.
Four agonizing hours passed this way. It was getting light when
I saw a ship — an American destroyer — approaching. The sailors on
board threw me a line and hauled me aboard.
Once on the ship, my legs buckled and I slid to the deck, unable
to stand. I was fed and allowed to rest briefly. Then I was transported
back to the Astoria, which, though disabled, was still afl oat. The captain
was attempting to beach the ship in order to make the necessary
Back on board the Astoria, I spent the next six hours preparing
the dead for burial at sea. As the hours passed, it became clear our
vessel was damaged beyond help. The ship was taking on water and
finally, around twelve hundred hours, the Astoria began to roll and
The last thing I wanted to do was to go into that water again, but
I knew I had to. Filled with dread, I jumped off the high side of the
sinking ship and began swimming. Although I still had my life belt
on, it couldn’t be inflated a second time. Luckily, I was soon picked
up by another destroyer and transferred to the USS Jackson.
Against all the odds, I had made it — one of the lucky men to
survive the battle of Savo Island. We were issued Marine uniforms,
and I spent my time, in between visits to the ship’s doctors for treatment
of my wounds, sitting on the deck of the Jackson, waiting for
our transport to San Francisco’s Treasure Island and the leave that
Though it felt odd to wear the unfamiliar uniform, I wasn’t
sad to lose my old dungarees and T-shirt. The one thing I found
I didn’t want to give up was my life belt. I hung on to the khaki
cloth-covered rubber belt, studying it sometimes as I sat around on
the Marine ship.
The label on the belt said it had been manufactured by Firestone
Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, which was my hometown. I
decided to keep the belt as a souvenir, a reminder of how lucky I’d been.
When I finally took my thirty-day leave, I went home to my family
in Ohio. After a quietly emotional welcome, I sat with my mother
in our kitchen, telling her about my recent ordeal and hearing what
had happened at home since I went away. My mother informed me
that “to do her part,” she had taken a wartime job at the Firestone
plant. Surprised, I jumped up and grabbed my life belt from my duffel
bag, putting it on the table in front of her.
“Take a look at that, Mom,” I said. “It was made right here in
Akron at your plant.”
She leaned forward and, taking the rubber belt in her hands,
she read the label. She had just heard the story and knew that in
the darkness of that terrible night, it was this one piece of rubber
that had saved my life. When she looked up at me, her mouth and
her eyes were open wide with surprise. “Son, I’m an inspector at
Firestone. This is my inspector number,” she said, her voice hardly
above a whisper.
We stared at each other, too stunned to speak. Then I stood up,
walked around the table and pulled her up from her chair. We held
each other in a tight embrace, saying nothing. My mother was not a
demonstrative woman, but the significance of this amazing coincidence
overcame her usual reserve. We hugged each other for a long,
long time, feeling the bond between us. My mother had put her arms
halfway around the world to save me.
Chicken Soup for the Veteran’s Soul
Happy Mother’s Day everyone,
Don’t forget to enter the other giveaway if you haven’t already