I call Mom every night. We may have spent time together that day, but our evening ritual never changes. She is 88 years young and still full of life. I have always been blessed with her unconditional love and support.
Childhood memories drift back to happy days filled with encouragement to develop my creative free spirit. What a gift she has given me.
Mom let me keep every injured or homeless critter that I brought home. From feathers to furry, to scaly, to hairy or slimy. Nothing was turned away.
She helped me make tents out of blankets on the clothesline. We’d have a circus and invite all the neighbors. One of the cardboard signs read “Step Right Up” – “You’ve Never Seen It Before, You’ll Never See It Again”. We’d show them a piece of taffy, instruct them to “chew and swallow”, and voilà!
Together, we handmade all invitations to functions and to my numerous birthday parties. How many of us share quality time like that with our Moms anymore? I wonder if our grandchildren ever even heard of the games we played; pass a tray with object on it, then take it away and guess what you saw? Pin the tail on the donkey?
Mom used to make all my clothes. She took lessons at the Singer Sewing Machine Company in downtown Topeka. I would be dropped off at the movie house just around the corner with 50¢ while she was in class. That would pay for my ticket, a box of JuJuBees and a soda.
Many times our sewing machine ran late into the night to complete a costume for a tap dance recital or a formal for an accordion concert. The beginning of my freshman year I got to help pick out fabric for five new skirts, one for each day of the week! I felt so special.
Mom held full time jobs as a sales clerk at Pellitiers department store then at Meeks Office and Art Supplies. Her warm outgoing personality kept customers coming back.
Over the years the walls of Mom’s condo have become an art gallery. Every watercolor and oil painting on display is her creation. She made the decision long ago never to sell a picture—instead; Mom offers them as gifts. There is a list of over 300 people who proudly display one of her paintings in their home.
One of her most recent accomplishments has been to glue tiny feathers, one at a time, on the front of a folded piece of construction paper, each having its own design. A special occasion note is then placed inside. Those who receive them treasure these prized greeting cards.
Mom was a devoted wife to my wonderful Dad who passed away in 1985, following a 10 year battle with Leukemia. They found happiness in simply being together. My younger sister and I learned how to love by their example.
Mom is the first one in the pool every year at the condo, sometimes in frigid water. Unless there is lightning she is faithful to her schedule of one hour a day, five days a week!
She is still a child at heart. Her bedroom is full of fuzzy animals and rag dolls. A very special family of life size gorillas sits on a park bench in her dining room.
Mom gets her hair done every week and goes to a movie. She attends bible study on Tuesday and church on Sunday, then has lunch with the girls.
Her minister made a comment to her recently that she would remember and cherish for a long time. He told her she was an “amazing woman”. When I called Mom that night she was so pleased and happy. When people say that little things mean a lot – that is not true. It’s the little things that mean everything!
One of Moms creations stands proudly in the ranch headquarters yard. After convincing Dad to bring home a section of telephone pole, she spent a good portion of one summer 30 years ago intently working with hammer and chisel.
The result was a one of a kind totem pole that we proudly display at Headquarters.