Mother to a mayor

by YES! Weekly staff

Mother to a mayor

A childhood memory can be powerful and intoxicating. Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines said he vividly remembers the aroma of hot biscuits wafting through his Wilkes County home each and every morning of his childhood. That unmistakable, heavenly smell meant that his mother, Maie, was preparing him a hot breakfast before he headed off to school. Many years later, the recollection of hot biscuits reminds Joines of how much his mother loved to cook, and how she could say, “I love you,” with the perfect combination of ingredients.

“I remember her being the happiest when she had a houseful of people and she had cooked for them,” Joines said.

Special occasions at the Joines’ residence normally consisted half a dozen different vegetables and a couple of meats, along with homemade pies and cakes. Maie said physical ailments prevent her from making those big meals nowadays, but she does her best to prepare something special for her son when he comes up for his weekly visit.

“I’ve always loved to cook and bake — not anymore, I’ve got two crippled hands,” Maie said. “I’m 90 and I feel every bit of it.”

Still, if she’s able, she’ll fix Allen one of his favorite dishes with fresh vegetables from the garden he tends for her.

“He’s always been a good son,” Maie said.

“His father’s been dead more than three years ago. All I had to do was call him and he would come. He was crazy about his daddy, and his daddy was crazy about him.”

Allen said his mother’s influence has been powerful and lasting.

“She reminds me not to get the big head,” he said. “She reminds me not to be a politician. When I first ran for office, she made me promise that I wouldn’t engage in any mudslinging.

She’s really been a good influence.”

Maie said she’s always tried to give her son good advice, which he doesn’t always listen to.

“I didn’t want him to run for mayor but all the reports I’ve heard, he’s done a pretty good job of it,” Maie said. “I pray for him every night.”

On Mother’s Day, Maie and Allen are planning on attending services at Cub Creek Baptist Church in Moravian Falls. Maie said she will walk with a cane. It doesn’t seem that long ago to her when she walked to church carrying Allen in her arms. Maie said she feels incredibly blessed to have such a devoted son, a wonderful daughter-in-law, Peggy, and two loving grandchildren, Jeff and Michelle.

“They’re my pride and joy,” said Maie. At the age of 90, she and Allen have switched roles. Now, she’s the one who needs to be taken care of. Once while Allen was working in her garden, she told him she thought he was doing too much for her. That’s when Allen stopped working, and explained the depth of his gratitude.

“He said, ‘Mom, I’ve not forgot how you worked all those years and put me through school,’ but it wasn’t a sacrifice for me because I was willing to do it,” she said.

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines, with his mother Maie. (photo by Keith T. Barber).