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Under the Apron Strings: Celebrating Mother's Day

Welcome to my first blog post! It has been quite a journey to get to this point. After completing two cookbooks I’m finally here! I figured this would also be the perfect time to share with y’all why I do what I do.

My inspiration for everything comes from the ladies you see below. Let me introduce you to the most important women in my life. On the far left is my Mama, Cheryl Johnson Rose. Next to her are Grandmommie, Jewel Johnson, and myself, Sheree Rose Kelley. My Aunt Nedra Kirby Trebing is on the right.

Four women cooking together
From left to right: Mama, Cherly Johnson Rose, Grandmommie, Sheree Rose Kelley, Nedra Kirby Trebing

These are the women that I celebrate on Mother’s Day – the women whose apron strings I grew up under.

This Mother’s Day is unlike any I have experienced in the past. Mama was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago and is now beginning to progress very quickly. The Mama I once knew is not the same Mama who is here today.

Mama never stopped. She was always eager to rise early and begin her day. From her time as a hairdresser, a cosmetology teacher, and then even in retirement, a day did not go by without accomplishing everything on her to-do list.

It was never a shortlist. Cooking three great meals a day. Taking care of the sick. Tending to her beloved grandchildren and more recently great-grandchildren. Hand-crafting through sewing, quilting, and crocheting. Working in the yard and garden. Canning what Daddy’s gardens had produced. Designing award-winning flower arrangements. Capturing the perfect moment through photography (her camera never missed a shot). There wasn’t anything she couldn’t do or would not try to accomplish.

Her list is not as long these days, but even in these most uncertain times, we have had plenty of time to stop and smell the roses. Whether it be wild, trellis, bush, or a single stem - I love roses! How could I not - being a Rose myself.

The tradition of wearing flowers on Mother’s Day has faded over the years, but for me, the memories still live on.

Mama loves flowers of all varieties, but like me her favorite is roses. Growing up, we were never without a red rose pinned to our new dress for Mother’s Day. My brother, Ritchie, always had a small red rosebud pinned upon his lapel and Grandmommie wore a white corsage of hydrangea or snowball bloom cut from a bush grown in their own yard. The white corsage symbolized that her mother was no longer living. That is a sad recollection for me - as Grandmommie never wore a red corsage in my memory.

Mama has always been a shining light for me. She is the most talented person I have ever known outside of Grandmommie. Mama could do anything.

Two women holding a plant together
Me and Mama

She’s the most beautiful Rose I know.

Mama inspired me to get out from under her apron strings and tie back my own. Without her,

I wouldn’t have the experience, stories, and recipes that have shaped me into who I am today. My cookbooks, and even this blog, are all thanks to her. I’m proud to honor her today, and every day through being able to share my family’s culinary legacy with you.

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