Dick Yarbrough: Where would we be without our mothers?

Published 10:54 am Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Don’t look now, but Sunday is Mother’s Day. Actually, I’m just kidding. You are free to look all you want as soon as you and I are finished here.
Whether we are liberal or conservative; black or white; rich or poor; speak English or habla Espanol; live in God’s Country (aka Georgia) or are from up north where all the buildings are rusted and it snows 10 months a year, we share one thing in common: We all have or have had a mother.
There is a lot of weird stuff happening these days, but I don’t think we have found a way yet to birth babies without one. At least I hope not. I don’t want to think of a world without mommas.
I am an authority on mothers. I am married to one and the father of one, the grandfather of one and hope to be — sooner rather than later — the grandfather of two.
I have told you on several occasions about my own mother. She was a stem-winder. I’m not sure how this DNA stuff works, but it is fairly obvious to our family that my brother, Bob, got most of our dad’s genes. He is quiet, thoughtful, kind and chock-full of integrity — the solid rock in our clan. Me? I swim in my mother’s gene pool — funny, acerbic and as blunt as a sledgehammer.
My momma didn’t stand on the sidelines and complain. She got involved. I can’t think of an organization she belonged to that she didn’t end up running. She is probably chairing the monthly meeting of God’s Angel Corps in heaven as we speak.
After our dad died, Momma moved into a retirement home with a vow to not get involved in anything. She just wanted to read all the books she could and enjoy a life of leisure. I bet her $10 that it wouldn’t be long before she was in charge of something there. She took my bet and a few months later sent me a $10 bill along with an announcement that she had been named chaplain of the retirement home.
I have heard beautiful stories of loved ones who say they saw Jesus just before they died. Not my mother. On her last day, she was in Intensive Care with a bunch of tubes in her and machines blinking and whirring. The nurse told us that we might want to tell her goodbye for the final time. She was a bit groggy, but I hoped she had heard us.
As we were leaving, she made a motion for the nurse to come closer. The nurse complied and look startled as my mother mumbled something to her. “What was that about?” I asked. “Your mother wants to know what time the Braves game is on tonight,” she replied. Momma wasn’t going to see Jesus until the game was over.
If you had met her, you would have assumed she was a college graduate. In fact, some people did. She could intelligently converse on any subject you could name. Yet, she only made it through the seventh grade, growing up in the rural South when education was not a priority. She had an insatiable appetite to learn. She created in me a love of words, whether it was the daily crossword puzzle or the summer reading program at our little library in East Point.
I’m not sure what her politics would be today. In her day, she was a yellow dog Democrat, although she never forgave Zell Miller for promoting the lottery, which she considered gambling. I do know she would not be happy to see the way our nation is trending these days. She loved her God, her family and particularly her two boys, who may have exceeded their own expectations, but not hers.
Her homegoing service was perfect. The church was filled to overflowing. Her two grandsons (my brother’s sons-in-law, both ordained ministers) told “Granny stories” and had the crowd in stitches. That is just what she wanted. No tears. Just laughter and celebration. She knew where she was headed. Nothing to be sad about.
My mother was a great lady and I hope I am a chip off her block. At a time when we seem to emphasize our differences, this would be a good time to think about what we all have in common — our mothers. Where would we be without them? I don’t even want to think about it. Happy Mother’s Day to one and all.

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at dick@dickyarbrough.com; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb