All this time, I’ve been talking about Mom’s illness, her troubles, her triumphs. For Mother’s Day, I thought you should get a better glimpse of what she was like before she aged and landed in a hotbed of health problems.
Back in the day, Mom was a sharp-shooter. She was able to shoot a hole through a penny with a .22 rifle from yards away. My paternal grandfather carried the one she shot for him on his keyring until the day he died. I have no clue where it is or if whoever has it knows the significance, but he was proud of his new daughter-in-law at the time.
Before she and Daddy got married, Mom rode a motorcycle, an Indian, to be exact, but only for a short while. She lived with her aunt and uncle–the uncle who taught her to shoot, and the aunt who was scared of her own shadow and tried her best to create Mom after her own image. Mom rebelled. When her aunt put her foot down about the motorcycle, Mom took flying lessons, taking to the air in a Piper Cub. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long either, but it’s fun to think of her as a barn-stormer, even though she never quite made the status. Oh, and about her “biker” days? She still has the belt she wore as she rode, broad, studded black leather and tinier than my waist when I was thirty pounds underweight!
She was multi-talented. Many of my readers know she sang on live radio back in the 1950s. She also owned an award-winning dance school, and she was a landscape artist–which I remember most because she painted during most of my life until her eyes started giving out. Many of her friends have her work in their homes, and, of course, I do too. I could spend hours lost in the scenes of her brooks and meadows. I remember her singing, too. As I got older, we sang together. I have a recording of us in a duet. If I didn’t already know who sang melody and who sang harmony, it would be hard even for me to tell us apart.
Mom loved to fish, and would often get me out of school to go with her (particularly when Daddy was working out of town). Perfect attendance didn’t hold the priority that high grades did, and neither held priority when bass were biting! We fished the Brazos River, Lake Sommerville, and private ponds all over the Brazos Valley. Rarely did a summer pass when we didn’t have a pole in our hands.
What I appreciate most about my mother, though, is her vast knowledge of the Bible and her deep relationship with her Saviour. I wasn’t raised in church, I was raised at her knee. She taught me not just to read the Bible, but to study it. Not just to meet Jesus, but to develop a relationship with him. As a consequence, I don’t have “memory verses” stored away as I should, I don’t know what a woman’s role is as one of the matrons in the church, I don’t consider church attendance vital to salvation. But I do consider salvation vital to life, I recognize a woman’s role in raising godly kids and grandkids, and I believe the Bible holds the answers to all life’s problems, the lessons of the past, and the secrets of the future.
If you ask her, she can point out all the ways she failed as a mother. If you ask me, I can’t think of a one.