Today the bulletin at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church is dedicated to Mom, and a more deserving person you could not find among the entire congregation. She is distressed over Pastor Tom leaving soon for a new assignment, so we do what we can to put her mind at ease.
I watched her closely last night, as you do when you marvel at someone who has aged so gracefully and still pushes ahead in her twilight years with a big smile and an enduring purpose. That is great granddaughter Nora beside her in the photo, a remarkable image that tells you so much about our family.
As we sang Happy Birthday I was engulfed in memories of my mother and how, without really trying, she shaped the musical directions of her children. For starters, it was she who purchased the first Beatles record in our family, "I Want to Hold Your Hand." She made sure we saw the Mitchell Boys Choir from Harlem when they came through town. We sang along with Mitch, for crying out loud. Mom, with Dad's support, was the reason Sue played saxophone, Mary played flute and both Jeannie and I wound up in percussion (though I would quickly flee the drum kit to pursue mindless endeavors.) Money was always tight but I remember more than once Mom slipping us enough money to go downtown and buy a record album. It's the reason we had 33 rpms like "A Symphony For Tommy" playing on our turntable.
Last night she listened intently as audio from the day's Dairyland Conference Solo and Ensemble competition was played and grandson Carter did her proud. And we were reminded once again: This is all about family. It always has been and always will be. We can never forget to thank our parents for that.
And we should never forget to celebrate a birthday in style, especially the big eight-five. Happy birthday, Mom.