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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tribute To Mother

Well, Today is Mother’s Day and a time for wishing all Mothers everywhere a Happy Mother’s Day and a day in which I reflect on my own mother and what an impact she had in my life.

My mother, Vida Lola Swift was born to David Elec Hamilton Swift and Laura Alice Arnold Swift on October 9, 1910 and passed away on Septemberr 2, 1992. She had four brothers Wiley, John, Stacy and Rod and only one sister Bonnie.

She lived through World War 1 (1914-1918) and through the Great Depression (1930-1939). I am sure that these historical events had a profound influence on my mother’s life.

She was a hard worker and loved working outside in the fields. She could hoe a row of corn or hoist a bale of hay as well as any man. On the other hand she was a great cook, famous for her chicken and dumplings as well as a good seamstress.

She met my dad through her younger brother Rod. They both worked on the Watauga Dam together with the Civilian Conservation Corps. They were married on January 14, 1943. My dad was stationed overseas in World War 2 until the war ended. He was discharged in December 1945 and I was born in September 1946. That makes me an “original baby boomer“.

She was very proud of all her children. She was always totally devoted to all seven of us. My older brother Doran, myself, Ann, the twins Mae and Faye, my younger brother John and my baby sister June. She never played favorites and if one of us got something we all got the same thing. Maybe she couldn’t afford it at the same time but she made sure we were never overlooked.

She shared the same philosophy with her sons-in-law and her daughter-in-law. At Christmas if one got socks -- they all got socks. One year she bought them each leather belts with their names hand tooled on them. She loved them all equally as well as her children.

She was a great role model. She loved to stay busy and she certainly had to with seven little mouths to feed . Many times along with my dad she would work outside in the fields all day for two or three dollars, come home, prepare supper and do the household chores before sitting down and either mending or working on a sewing project until bedtime. In the summer it was not unusual to find her preparing or canning food late at night. She taught us good work ethics and to stick to a job until it was finished.

She wanted us to all have a good education and she made sure we were up and out the door for school each day. I remember her checking our necks , making sure we brushed our hair and that our clothes were clean and pressed. She made sure that we never went without anything we needed for school and that we were in church every Sunday, participated in all church activities and that our morals were never compromised.

She taught us to respect our elders, to love one another and to take care of each other. She taught us forgiveness even to the point of taking all of her grown kids to visit an elderly relative whom we had a grudge with. She explained to all of us , “we wouldn’t be able to get into heaven by holding grudges and we needed to forgive and let go of the past” --and at our mothers request we all made our peace--it was quite an experience.

Although our family has drifted apart, and we are each caught up in our own little world, we all need to remember the lessons our mother taught when we were growing up .

We need to take care of each other, to watch out for each other, to be independent and strong, generous, self sacrificing , always forgiving no matter how many times we get it wrong, love for all, especially those worse off than ourselves and to offer up our prayers for everyone else rather than for our own needs. Our mother is the one, who taught us to live, love, and laugh, have morals, to know right from wrong, and that we are accountable for our own actions. We should all make time for each other. Sometimes a phone call, a note or a kind word is all that is needed.

My grandchildren gave me a very special card which reads,

You're a Blessing

When special people
Touch our lives
Then suddenly we see
How beautiful and wonderful
Our world can really be.
They bless us
With their love and joy
Through everything they give--
When special people touch our lives
They teach us how to live.

Mothers in my life that have touched me would be first and foremost, my own mother, Ola Holloway, as well as Irene Johnson, Bonnie Swift, Bette Snyder, Sissie Stout, Sue Roberts, Thelma Wylie, Emogene Swift, Dodie McNeel, Alice Swift, Mary Henson Swift, Neita Jamison, Jean Humphrey and my sister, June Thomas. These are but a few mothers that have taught me how to live.

And, in the words of my Father, "That's It for Today".


Leno said...

Beautiful post Jenny. Brought tears to my eyes.. Happy Mothers Day to you.. said...

You really have a way taking us back to the old days. I also was born in Sept 1946 plus my hubby is from the Elizabethton Tn area so what you write really interest me. Keep up the good work. Happy Mother's Day to You.

Speedy said...

You had a great mom...she has a great daughter. We have a great friend.

Anonymous said...

Pretty neat to see my grandmother's pictures here. I will always remember what she said to me the first time I was old enough to say "Grandma".I never realized how much you resemble her until I took a long look at the first pic.I love reading your writings but it always makes me homesick....pam