My mother-in-law has this set of rules. These got nothing to do with the Ten Commandments or Wearing White after Labor Day or nothing like that. This is The World According to Ms. Larda. Every now and then she adds a new one. We call them Ms. Larda’s Laws: 1. Never wear underpants you caught off a Carnival float. 2. Never wear flip-flops after Halloween or before Mardi Gras. 3. If you got cleavage to show, save it for formal occasions, like Carnival balls. 4. Always get nail polish in the pinkish-red end of the spectrum. Maroon is acceptable, but not K&B purple, or blue, or green, or, God forbid, black, unless it’s Halloween. 5. If you got to get a tattoo, for God’s sake get it somewhere on your body you can discreetly cover up when you apply for a job. 6. If you got to badmouth the Saints, use the first person, as in “Jesus, God, we should have got that touchdown!” 7. Bow your head when you say Jesus, even if it’s in “Jesus, God!” 8. And when the spit hits the fan, tell the truth. We pass them down to our kids, along with other Gunch wisdom. They don’t appreciate it yet, but they will when they are older. They don’t appreciate much, the little leeches. Good thing they’re cute. That’s what saves them. All them times you get up at night to feed them when they are babies; worry over them when they are sick; run their lunch to school when they forget it; hide your can of Coke in the sink while you pour it into a coffee cup, so you don’t have to share it with kids who absolutely don’t need no caffeine. Or whip down your pink organdy bathroom window curtain and use iron-on patches and wide pink ribbon to transform it into a tiny dance tutu in 45 minutes because your little daughter can’t find her real one and will be kicked out of her dance review if she don’t have it. Or this same daughter is upset about the baby birds outside her window whose nest is about to slip off its branch— so you inch out on the ledge of the window to save them. But you can’t reach the nest, so you yell for her to get the long-handled popcorn popper from the camping gear so you can scoop it up in that. But she don’t understand and gets your electric popper and hands it out the window with the electric cord dangling. Your little boy tells you the night before that he signed you up to provide a tray of little triangle sandwiches for Parents’ Day. So you grab a loaf of bread and tell him to get some potted meat (the kind that comes in the little cans) out the pantry and the two of you spread the meat on one side of the bread and Blue Plate on the other, and then you get out the big paper cutter your husband got for some reason and slice them into crustless little triangles. The next day, after you proudly deliver the sandwiches, you happen to notice that two of those cans your son handed you had cat food in them. I was thinking about all that last night when I had to borrow a car and drive off in the dark and rain with a can of gas to rescue my youngest daughter Gladiola from the side of the road. She was on her way to LSU in my car with an empty gas tank that I told her three times to get filled before she left. But I remember myself, how when I was little and riding in the back seat of our car, and leaned forward and coughed my gum up and it fell behind my father and before I could say anything, he leaned back and when we got to my grandma’s, he was stuck there and had to take off his shirt to get out the car. And I am still alive to tell the story. So Happy Mother’s Day. Get her something good. Really good.