The woman who gave me life, then nurtured, and sacrificed for me, died peaceably yesterday in her sleep. Her 102 year old body finally gave out on her. No words can adequately express my love for her, and my appreciation for all the things she had done for me, and my brothers and my sisters. Her legacy lives on in the really wonderful family that she and my father created, encouraged, and nurtured.
Minnie grew up on a farm where she inherited the characteristic of self- reliance. She seemed to always accept the “cards she was dealt” in her life. In 1999, when my father died, she insisted that she move out of our family home to live independently in the small old house next door.
She was still mowing the yard well into her 80’s. Once she mowed too close to the steep slope down to the lane that ran beside her house, causing the riding mower to flip over and roll. She was thrown off in the tumble. Mom lay there on the ground for a while, hoping that a neighbor would come down the lane and help her. She waited and waited, but no one ever came, so finally Mom did it herself; she forced herself back onto her feet and just slowly walked herself back to the house. That was the kind of woman she was.
Although seemingly conventional, I was sometimes surprised to see a bit of a wild side to Mom. We were once at a big smorgasbord-type restaurant, and when Mom was up getting herself a soft drink from one of the many drink dispensers, a woman stranger came up carrying a tray of food and ask Mom if she would pour her a drink also. Mom asked her what kind she wanted, and the woman replied, “Just anything” and went off to put her tray on a nearby table.
Mom then proceeded to pour the stranger what was known in our family as a “Suicide”; a mixture of four or five different flavors in the cup. I would never have done anything like that in such a situation, but Mom did. I don’t know what the woman thought when she took her first sip of her drink.
Mom loved to read and was a skilled and creative quilter. I also love to read, and many of my favorite novels were books that she had recommended to me. I always felt like it was her quilting that influenced my love of color in my paintings.
Below is a favorite photo which shows Mom as a girl, standing on the neighborhood Indian Trail Tree.