Watch Out for the Little Lady on the Big Wheels!

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Today, Melissa and I took mom to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, Virginia. The flowers were in full bloom and putting on a show for all of us. The sky was slightly overcast, which made it perfect for mom. So, once we convinced her that a wheelchair ride would be a fun thing and assured her that we knew she could walk anywhere she chose to, we were off to explore and enjoy each other and the day. We could tell mom was excited, because she was humming and wanting to stop, look and touch anything and everything that had a leaf or a bloom on it.

Mom has never met a stranger in her whole life, and there is no one within her eyesight that doesn’t get a greeting, a question or a comment. Here are a few samples, all from today.

  • “Hi there, sweetheart, isn’t it a beautiful day.” 
  • “You are the prettiest thing! Look at that beautiful dress you have on.” 
  • “I love these flowers, don’t you?”
  • “Hey there, boy! You have the bestest (mom’s word) smile I’ve ever seen!”
  • “Where are you from?”  This was the most frequently asked question of the day. If the answer was, not from Richmond, mom would volunteer to show them around the city after informing them she was born here and that her father was Dr. B.H. Martin “Dr. Berkeley Hancock Martin … the best doctor Richmond has ever had.”

Interspersed with the exchanges above were the following:

  • “That man has the roundest, shortest legs I have seen, do you see those legs, son?”
  • When a well endowed lady in a low cut shirt walked within earshot mom said, that woman has the largest you-know-whats I have ever seen and more than I ever want to see.” Mom then put her hands over her eyes while shaking her head.
  • “I love your hair! I love your teeth, too. They are really something, aren’t they?!”
  • When we asked directions to the tea room and a couple from out of town replied that they didn’t know, mom said, “Dumbest people … they don’t know a damn thing” before we could get away fast enough.
  • She said, “hey girl,” to a long haired teenage boy.
  • She said, “hey boy,” to a short haired lady.
  • While on the subject of hair, mom asked one little lady if she had blue hair.
  • “Hey, I bet you are pretty when you smile!”
  • “Hey there, do you want to sing, This Little Light of Mine, with me?”
  • “Mom said, “hey … hey there” to a Hispanic man, and when he didn’t answer, she looked at Melissa and loudly exclaimed, “I don’t think he speaks English, do you?”

After what was a non-stop-laugh-a-second, don’t-make-eye-contact-with-anyone-mom-might have offended, hide-your-face adventure, I whispered to Melissa, we are going to print a banner that would go wherever we took mom from now own that would read, in BIG BOLD LETTERS:

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed by my 91 year old mom do not necessarily reflect those of anyone in our immediate family or friends of anyone in our immediate family. Engage at your own risk. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

As we rolled mom to the car, she was singing the Star Spangled Banner at the top of her voice. And, by the way, this lady has some pipes. Folks just coming to the gardens didn’t know whether to salute, sing along or run back to the safety of their cars.

We had a blast!

About Tom Laughon

Tom Laughon (Pronounced Lawn) is President of Catch Your Limit, an organization whose sole purpose is to guide and grow leaders. His journey from lead singer in a rock-n-roll band, to a successful career in marketing & advertising to consultant, strategist, keynote speaker, facilitator, professor and writer is a fascinating one. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, Tom and his team guide organizations, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies to national associations, to "catch their limit" in areas such as leadership development, creativity, innovation, teaming and transformational change. His commitment to "practice what he preaches" has made Catch Your Limit a petri dish for round-the-clock discovery and learning. The firm's brand reflects Tom's personal brand: Fun, Inspirational, Strategic & Hot!

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