Hallelujah!

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Spring 2014

Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!- Sitting Bull

Early last week it was nothing but chilly and cold … it chilled my body and my soul. I had had it with winter.

But, two days ago, things changed … almost over night … without advanced notice … a sunrise surprise … spring had sprung and was painting splashes of bright colors all over the dark, drab ones with giant brush strokes here there and everwhere.

My hands shot up toward the heavens and I shouted, “Hallelujah, you made it!”

Purple Martin MajestyI was not only cheering for spring’s arrival, but the purple martins had also picked this day to come back home … at least to their home in America.

Purple martins and I stand united in our lack of tolerance for winter. In late fall, they escape in mass to South America, and spend the winter months in the warmth of their second home. Then they fly all the way back here, where they were born, bringing spring with them.

Yep … these little North American citizens fly over 5000 miles each way, each and every year, like clock work. And, here they are, back where they were born, to find a match, and to hatch and raise the next generation.

My mom, dad and sister hoisted five purple martin bird houses up on tall poles in their backyard when they moved back to Richmond, forty plus years ago. That was the same time they planted the daffodils. The one mom is holding sprang up from the roots of those original plants.

As a result of my family’s efforts, Melissa and I will have plenty of daffodils and plenty of purple martins. My guess is, counting the adults and their babies, we’ll have well over a hundred purple martins hanging out and performing their aerial acrobatics for us in mom’s backyard (conveniently located next door to where we live).

My mom’s maiden name is Martin, which we have always said makes the purple Martins and us kin. Birds of a feather stick together!

This will be mom’s 94th spring … and spring has always been her favorite season.

Spring is a time of renewal, restoration, resurrection … it is a time for rejoicing.

Hallelujah, you made it!

 

Naked Trees, Pet Zebra, Cannibals & More

Driving mom to Circle Center Adult Day Care is the best way I know to kick-start a day.

Talk about a great attitude, no matter if it’s scorching hot, rain, sleet or snow, mom never complains or never says she doesn’t want to go … she just goes.

She is my poster child for a great attitude … and she is funny.

When we ride down the road together there is no way to predict what’s going to happen, other than something will happen. I call her my Happy Day Maker.

On this particular day, it was anything but happy outside. It was ice cold and damp, so I warmed up the car, and somehow that warmed up mom’s motor-mouth as well.

She was pointing out “naked trees”, telling traffic lights to quit changing all the time, asking … Where are all the cars going? Where was I born? Where did I buy our car? Who is my mom? … all this while clapping her hands and singing her old University of Richmond alma mater. She was one happy 94 year old out for a wild ride. She had no idea where she was going, but was having a great time going there.

When mom is on a roll like this (which is pretty much every day), I’ll ask her a question or two just to stir the pot even more.

All I have to do is pose a question like, “Mom, have you ever had God over for supper?” Her answer without hesitation starts with, “Yes, many times …”

“Mom, have you ever had a pet zebra?”

Not only has she, she taught it English, her zebra graduated with her from University of Richmond (insert mom singing her school’s alma mater at the top of her lungs here).

So, today’s question was just another crazy Tom question.

Me: “Mom, have you ever known a cannibal?”

Mom: “A what?”

Me: “A cannibal. You do know what cannibals are, don’t you?”

Mom: “Yes, everybody knows what cannibals are.”

Me: What are they?

Mom: They are people.

Me: “Well, do you know what these people do?”

Mom: “Yes, I know what they do. Everybody knows what they do.”

Me: “What?”

Mom: “They talk to each other.”

Me: “Yes, that’s right, but what else do they do?”

Mom: “They go to school.”

Me: “Yep. What else?”

Mom: “I don’t know what else they do. What do they do?”

Me: “Cannibals eat people, mom. That’s what they do. They eat people.”

Mom was dead silent for four solid blocks. And, that gave me plenty of time to think about how absurd, yet brilliant, my question was. I mean, this was the very first time one of my crazy questions didn’t conjure up an instant reply. It was the very first time I had left my mom speechless.

So, here we were, riding in our car, with nothing but the sound of tires on pavement to keep me company.

Then, out of nowhere it happened. Three words … that was all it took. Three adamantly stated words … “I — EAT — CHICKEN.”

I laughed so hard tears were running down my face. And, just like that, mom resumed her normal, non-stop, happy day making chatter. I’ll never know if mom knew just how perfect her comedic timing was or if she just knew that there was no way she wanted to be mistaken for a cannibal.  One thing is for sure … I have no idea why I asked mom about cannibals but I will remember and recount this morning drive with mom for a long, long time … especially when I — EAT — CHICKEN.

Love with all my Heart

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Livi, mom’s great granddaughter, is ten years old, lives four-and-a-half hours down the road in Wilmington, North Carolina, and loves to write mom letters.

My role is to read the letters to mom and video her reactions for Livi to savor … forever.

So here goes Livi’s latest letter … just know you are in for a treat!

If you do the math, Livi is 84 years younger than mom, but the connection between the two of them bridges both space and time.

I call this bridge, L-O-V-E.

And, I call my role as messenger, the greatest role one could ever dream of playing.

Want more? Click Here!

The Day Hell Froze Over

Cold as Hell!

When a preacher’s wife, who has been on this planet in all kinds of weather for 94 years says, “It’s cold as hell,” it must be as cold as hell.

All of the weather forecasters in Richmond were unanimously proclaiming we had a record low wind chill of minus 10. Not only that, but they were teaching us a new buzz phrase for the day … the polar vortex (play scary music behind this phrase and you get the drift).

Getting past all the highfalutin weather speak and scary background music, I figured out it meant weather of biblical proportions was blowing frigid air from either the North or South Poles or both our way and it was going to freeze the holy crap out of all of us.

I even heard the forecasters throw in the word cyclone for good measure. Does Apocalypse Now come to mind? I don’t know … my mind was too frozen to think.

All I could see while on the verge of hypothermia was a sign from God and it didn’t look promising.

Hell Frozen Over

What kept me going was the fact that I had to go to work and that I had to take mom to Circle Center Adult Daycare Heaven. When I told mom we had to go, she acted like a champ.

She asked if the car was warm and I said, check.

She asked me not to take too long to walk her to the car because she didn’t want to turn into a Popsicle. I thought that was more than reasonable, so I said, check.

Then mom asked me if we could get a Slurp (mom’s word for Slurpee) on the way to Circle Center. That was the last straw. I said, no way … not while hell is freezing over, mom … not on the day hell is freezing over!

With that, we marched double time, arm in arm, to the car … thankful we weren’t turning into ice on a stick.

Note: Arrest Me!

I just noticed the picture I took of mom and I forgot to put her gloves on. Whoops! Now NSA surveillance has me on their radar.

I am doomed.

Mom’s & My Blog: 2013 in Review

Perfection!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,700 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Mom’s 94th Christmas and Counting

Birthday Girl

“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.”- Alexander Smith

Mom’s 94th Christmas and Counting:

Counting the Christmas Day mom was born on.

Counting the number of Santa’s knees mom must have sat on.

Counting the number of Santa’s knees she took my sister and me to sit on.

Counting the number of Santa’s knees she took my two daughters to sit on.

Counting the gifts of loving, caring, sharing and giving she has brought to our family and to so many others that there are just too many to count.

Counting the memories and the smiles she magically creates for us all.

For a meaningful, wonderful, joyful Christmas, you can always count on my mom.

My mom, Helen Douglas Martin Laughon, was born on Christmas Day, 1919. I believe the old Timex watch slogan was really made for her … she “takes a licking and keeps on ticking”.

Mom & Santa

Next to the North Pole and home sweet home in Richmond, Virginia, Circle Center Adult Day Care Services is mom’s favorite place on earth.

And, on this magic day, Santa came all the way from the North Pole to Circle Center just to visit mom.

When he asked her if she had been naughty or nice, Mom’s answer was YES.

She also whispered to Santa that her birthday was on Christmas Day.

He asked her how old she was and she said six.

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