Mom, since you have been gone now over a year, I am still trying to get used to not picking up the phone to tell you about this and that, inconsequential stuff all of it. Family things that just happen. Upcoming things to chat about. Commonplace moments, so important in life. At first it was a bit embarrassing as I picked up the phone to call only to realize that you were not going to be there to answer. By the way, your family is doing just great and you would continue to be as proud of them as Karen and I are.
You knew, and then didn't know, that Sarah and Campbell were married in October of 2010 and they live smack dab between us and his parents. Strategic I presume, and we couldn't be happier. We told you about the wedding when it was upcoming, but as you sank deeper into mental and emotional confusion we decided that it was taking a much larger toll on you than was needed. The moment passed without you ever realizing it. Campbell has turned out to be quite the handyman in their house, and a determined individual! Sarah knew this all along and we are just now catching on. People like that seem to rise to the top in most cases. Life greets them with a handshake! We love him as our own and wish you could have been there, but Mom, forgive us this slight. Suzanne and I understood that Verna was not the same as the one who would have been the life of the party. At this time it was just not meant to be.
Verna, or Verna Marie as you were called by the people who grew up with you in Prescott, Arkansas. Your mother raised you and your twin brothers, Watson and Warren, by herself, and apparently did a pretty good job. Had your daddy not passed away with pneumonia when you were nine years old, you all might have had an easier time of it. Your mom, my grandmother, did an outstanding job with what she had to work with, and you all grew up to be productive, responsible contributors and friends to all who knew you.
Your mom Bess, my grandmother, had a sewing talent that she passed on to you that was just extraordinary! For someone who has a dead eye to that sort of thing, I have such an appreciation for the beauty and the creative detail involved in your efforts. Daughter Bethany has this gene in her for sure! I guess it lay dormant for some years, but as soon as she connected with her first sewing machine, it was off to the races and no looking back! She is self taught mostly, indicative of her passion for it, but as I say, the gene is there. It's so fun to see her folded down on the bedroom floor reading the "serger" (what is that?) operator's manual, and then finding some dress creation half way completed in just a few hours. By the way Mom, she prefers your old sewing machine to the new ones today that have more bells and whistles. Not surprising to us as she prefers most things vintage or retro. The story continues.
You know, I have almost forgiven you the time you caught me chewing some pilfered Juicy Fruit gum on a visit to Simmon's Drug Store in Texarkana. At six or seven years old at the time, I had no idea that taking that gum was in the slightest bit wrong, thus my overt smacking of two or three pieces in front of you. This turned out to be a defining moment as you marched me back into the store to apologize to the store owner and return the unused portion of the pack. Raindrop sized tears cascaded out my eyes as shame filtered it's way down, down, deep into my heart. Your parental insight knew that this was a "teachable moment" and to this day I would poke my eye with a sharp stick before I would consider taking something that was not mine!
On the occasion of an upcoming Mother's Day this Sunday, lest I forget or I sin by omission, Karen's Mom, Betty, who left us in 2005 is lifted up here. Her's was sweetness. Her's was grace. Thankful will I always be for my immediate embrace into the family tree. Her love was predicated only on my simple love for her Sovereign Garden Daughter (little family joke). Nothing needed. Nothing was required. My graft into the family tree was complete, said and done.
Betty left her fingerprint on Karen's heart in observable ways, if only to me. On so many occasions and conversations I am reminded that Betty's fingerprint and Karen's fingerprint are almost the same mark! These are wonderful remembrances and worthy of kind words here.
Not forgetting Everett and Bob for a minute, your Day and blog are coming next month. We are so thankful for the thread that you have woven through our lives. We are who we are because of who you were. Our gratitude to each of you is expressed in simple words in our backyard, words etched on a stone marker. As this marker will remind us each time we look upon it, the garden will grow like our families that surround it. It is strong. It is lasting. It will remind us of the joys and disciplines you etched upon our character.
Happy Mother's Day Verna! Happy Mother's Day Betty! We honor you as the very best parts of who we are.