Posted March 18, 2012 by jimhigley
My mom, Betty, died 37 years ago today. Though gone a long, long time, the lessons she shared are still a part of my DNA.
Take a close look at this picture.
That smiling, beautiful woman is my mom. 49-years old. Fooling around as she often did. This time on a rock in Disneyland with my favorite-all-time-Uncle, Jack. The grinning guy in the foreground puffing a pipe is my dad.
Happy memories tucked in my 14-year-old memory bank.
She died two months after this photo was taken. And I’m betting having just read that last sentence, you’re looking back at her smiling face one more time.
I’ve found myself sharing stories about Mom a lot recently. When talking to clubs, parent organizations, cancer groups – it doesn’t matter. The subject of her life often seems to come up. And even though I only knew her for 14-some years, I have an endless collection of stories – and lessons – passed from her to me.
One of my favorite took place shortly after a pounding Nebraska snow storm. It was probably one or two days after our little town was dumped on by several inches of snow. I must have been in grade school at the time and the story takes place in the car – with Mom driving – and me in the passenger seat.
As we were approaching a stop sign at the corner of 5th Street and Clarkson, my mom and I both spotted the same thing waiting ahead of us: A group of five or six teenage boys, standing high on a snow hill to our left, all of them armed with snow balls. Ready for their next victim – which obviously was our light blue, wood-paneled, Ford station wagon.
All I could think about was the humiliation I was about to feel as I sat in a car with my mom, as we got pulverized by a storm of sailing snowballs.
But my mom had something else in mind.
As we approached the intersection, Mom rolled down her window and started waving to the boys. It was a little bit of a wave and a little bit of a “halt” motion.
“What are you doing?” I yelled.
She ignored my question but directed her attention to the boys who were all staring at our car as it came to a stop.
“Hi boys!” my mom sang out in her best mom voice. “Isn’t this snow fun? Tell your moms I said ‘hi’ and don’t get too cold!”
And with that, off we went as mom waved good-bye to a snow hill full of boys, mouths open with their limp arm dangling down by their sides.
“Who were they?” I asked my mom.
“I have no idea,” she said smiling. And laughing.
Knowing when to blend just a tiny pinch of fear with an abundance of friendliness. One of my mom’s many super-powers.
Here’s another story about Mom. Enjoy.