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Lucky to still have Mom

by Larry Patrick

    I’m one of the lucky ones.  I still have a mom to celebrate Mother’s Day with.  She’s 81 and lives near my two sisters in Michigan.  I try to get back and see her twice a year and I talk to her weekly on the telephone.

    I know many of you no longer have a mom living and some of you have lost your mom since the last Mother’s Day.  Some of you still have a mom living but aren’t on speaking terms for whatever reason and yet others have moms that may not seem to be the best of moms.  If your mom fits into these last two categories I still encourage you to show some love, compassion and respect and not forget her this Mother’s Day with a call or a card or e-mail at the least.  Even if you don’t appreciate doing so now, someday when she is gone, you will.

    I’ve been one of the lucky ones, as I said earlier. I’ve always had a good mom even when she got the wooden spoon or a switch after me when I was a kid.  Yes, I tease her that she’d probably be in prison today for the spankings I got if attitudes today were prevalent then.  Back then the saying was “Spare the rod, spoil the child.”  True or not, my sisters and I seem to have turned out ok, at least in our opinion.

    I still get to give mom a hard time about throwing all of my baseball cards away while I was in the army during the Vietnam War.  I tell her I could have been rich today with all of the Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Ted Williams cards I had.  Today, those same cards I got five for a nickel, are worth hundreds and thousands of dollars today and I had quite a few Mickey Mantle cards. 

    Of course, back then the cards didn’t have much value.  It is only after moms across America threw them out and caused a shortage, that they became valuable.  I found a t-shirt a number of years ago that said, “I was a millionaire once until my mom threw my baseball cards away.” 

    Mom always laughs about it but defends herself by saying she had gotten a “safety” letter from a city official saying that people should keep their attics clean from lots of items to prevent fires.  So guess where my baseball cards were kept?  As a city councilman in Walsenburg today, I vow that this city will not send out such a letter to deprive collectors today of such treasures in the future.

    Since I can remember events when I was 3-4 years old, it’s hard to imagine today being without my mom.  We’ve been through a lot of bad times and great times together in all of these years.  Most of the bad ones were early on with an alcoholic father.          Mom grew up on a tobacco farm in Kentucky and only weighed 2 pounds at birth.  She was a twin but her twin sister died 2 days after birth.  Mom was so small that they cut an oatmeal box lengthwise and used it for a cradle.

    I recall listening to mom scream as she had all of her teeth pulled when she was in her early 20s.  She’s had false teeth ever since I can remember.  Mom only had an eighth grade education but tons of common sense.  I still respect her advice and opinions today.

    When she got her first sewing machine, she was a wizard at putting patterns together and making my sister and I school clothes and summer shorts and shirts.  Today, she lives in a 10 story independent living center for the elderly.  All the people there know that if you need something hemmed, stitched, patched, taken out or in, you take your clothes to Dee in apartment 208. The money she earns is probably the money I still get in my birthday cards every year.

    I know that many of you have or had great moms like mine.  One of the perks of working in the media all of these years, is that I get to tell more of you about my mom.  It’s one of the perks in writing and speaking for a living.

    So I end this piece by saying that I’m truly blessed to still have my mom around and I love her dearly and I am glad to still be able to tell her, “Happy Mother’s Day mom, I love you!”  larry@huerfanojournal.com.