Last year the world recognized the passing of Barbara Bush, an American Great Lady- a label with which most folks seem to agree. In an interview before her death Mrs. Bush remarked that her legacy was her family. Family meant everything to her, and everybody knew it.
But this blog isn’t about that lady. It’s about the legacy of another American Great Lady. On the day of Barbara Bush’s funeral my Mom called me. She wondered aloud if there were any great ladies left these days, gracious women of faith with poise, guts, steadfast love for their husbands, dedication to their families, vocal about their positions on issues without being hateful or rude or ignorant. Women who help shaped our nation in a positive way. I don’t know how many women like that there are in the public eye, but I know there are still great ladies in this land because one of them is my mother.
There is so much I could say about my mom, but this is a blog not a book. Her parents’ only daughter, she was beloved but not spoiled. Petite and pretty. An obedient teenager (so she says). She was an avid horsewoman, active in rodeo barrel racing and a fixture in the Grand Entry. She was pictured on the cover of Texas Highways before she was 20. No small accomplishment for someone that young.
But Mom would say that her greatest achievement is her family. She loved and enjoyed time with her husband. She managed the finances and household while her husband provided for the family. She raised the four of us with love, faith and discipline. Especially love – we never doubted her love for us. Mom didn’t spare the willow switch (most often used on my brother who totally deserved it) and she took us to task immediately if she learned we had been disrespectful or dishonest. She prayed for us, took parenting classes for managing the difficult teen years, was active in the PTA, led a cub scout den, and made sure we each had piano lessons – lessons which remain a blessing to me. She didn’t give out unsolicited advice. She was a second mom to many of our friends who were always welcome at supper for spaghetti or hamburger helper – or fried chicken on Sunday.
Mom models her Christian faith. She made sure we were in church and around good people but without trying to force her beliefs on us. She sang in the choir, led the youth group, and served in whatever capacity had the most need. She is a prayer warrior. She has so many talents, from taking a powder puff mechanics class to becoming editor of the local newsletter to authoring a book on Texas at the young age of 79. Miles and Miles of Texas by Rosemary Owen My parents didn’t have a lot of money but made room in their budget for trips with the Rowdy Bunch – something else she modeled, having and keeping good friends.
In my youngest years she cried over spilt milk – well not the milk, but 3 cents deposit she’d lost on the glass bottle. But she didn’t make gaining wealth her priority. Rather, she taught us the value of a dollar and how to stretch it to the max. Even if it meant she went without new shoes at start of school but we all got new ones.
Her love of country, and especially of Texas, is legendary. An 8th generation native Texan, Mom is a former member of Daughters of the Republic of Texas. She taught us to exercise the privileges of voting, free speech, contacting our representatives and make a considered effort for change if you truly believe it is needed. She’s taken writing letters to the editor to a new level. She stands firmly on her convictions without being ashamed of where she stands.
Strangers were always welcome to the family table at Thanksgiving. Taking care of her mother – a great lady in her own right – was a priority. She made sure Grandmother got to see the bluebonnets every spring and pulled out all the stops for Grandmother’s 80th birthday gala. Which turned out to be only six months prior to her death.
Other things Mom taught us:
- Always keep your sense of humor and you can get through anything.
- A seed of something good always comes out of something bad.
- Do the right thing.
- Respect your parents and your siblings.
- If it’s not yours don’t take it.
- Work for a living.
- Give out of your excess to the less fortunate.
- Honor God and country.
Mom is in her 80’s, still going strong, still loving and influencing her children, grandchildren, and now great-grands – 11 at last count. What a blessing! Her legacy spans four generations and has touched the lives of everyone who knew her. Mom, you are a great lady with a great legacy. Thank you.