I remember the very first time I played this song on the radio. It was October, 1979 as I worked on a radio station in Indianapolis, Indiana. I froze as I listened to the lyrics. I turned up the music, sat back and listened to every single word of the Jimmy Dean song.

College graduation had happened only a few months earlier, as had marriage.

Yet this song stopped me in my tracks. It's old. It's worn. It's still true today.

Happy Mothers Day.

Words to Jimmy Dean's I.O.U from 1976.  The song reached number nine on the country music chart after its release.

You know most people look through their wallets or their pocket books and, way down at the bottom, past the credit cards and baby pictures and green stamps, you usually find a little 'ol dog-eared piece of poetry.
I was cleaning out my wallet the other day and ran across a whole bunch of I.O.U's, some of 'em thirty years overdue. The funny thing is, that all these I.O.U's are owed to one person and I kinda feel like right now might be a pretty good time for an accountin'.

Mom, you listenin'.
Mom, I.O.U. for so many things....
A lot of services, like nightwatchman for instance..... For lyin' awake nights, listenin' for coughs and cries and creakin' floorboards..... and me comin' 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.O.U. for service as a short order cook, chef, baker.....
For makin' sirloin out o' hamburger an' turkey out o' tuna fish,
And two big ol' strappin' boys out of leftovers.

I.O.U. for cleanin' services,
For the daily scrubbing of face and ears....all work done by hand.
And for the frequent dustin' of a small boy's pants to try to make sure that he led a spotless life. And for washin' and ironin' no laundry could ever do. For dryin' the tears of childhood and for ironin' out the problems of growin' up.

I.O.U. for service as a bodyguard,
For protectin' me from the terrors of thunderstorms and nightmares
Hah, And too many green apples.

And Lord knows, I.O.U. 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' or 'If you cross your eyes, they're gonna stick like that'.
And probably uh, most important of all is, 'Be sure you got on clean underwear boy, in case you're in an accident'.

And I.O.U. for veterinarian services,
For feeding every lost dog that I dragged home at the end of the rope,
And for healing the pains of puppy love.

And I.O.U. for entertainment.....
Entertainment that kept the household goin' 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.O.U. for construction work, for building kites and confidence, hopes and dreams an'..... Somehow you made them all touch the sky.....
And for cementin' a family together
So it could stand the worst kind of shocks and blows.....
And for layin' down a good strong foundation to build a life on.

I.O.U. for carryin' charges.....
For carryin' me on your books for the necessities of life that a growin' boy's just gotta have. Things like, uh, a pair of high top boots, with a little pocket on the side for a jack-knife.
And one thing, Mom, I will never ever forget....
When there were only two pieces of apple pie left and three hungry people..... I noticed that you were the one who suddenly decided that you really didn't like apple pie in the first place.
These are just a very few of the things for which payment is long overdue..
The person I owe 'em to worked very cheap....
She managed by simply doin' without a whole lot o' things that she needed herself....

My I.O.U's 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, that she'll mark the entire bill 'Paid In Full'
For just one kiss and four little words....Mom, I Love You!