May 10, 2020

You probably guessed who those beautiful women are on the cover of this post.  My mother, Darline Plumley and my wife of 54 1/2 years, Sandra.

Naturally, I’ll say something about both of them.  But don’t stop reading because I am going to say something nice about your mother, too.  Yes, I know them.  Keep reading and you’ll agree.

My Mother was the best mother to me and my three siblings that anyone could ever ask or hope for.  I’ll sum up her philosophy of Motherhood with a simple story.

I was within a few day’s of my 13th birthday and Mother asked me to go to Texarkana with her – just the two of us.  She told me she would let me drive.  That really hooked me.

So, once we got to Texarkana, I asked her where she wanted to go.  She said to Sear’s Department store.  We went inside and she said I brought you here to buy you two suits of new school clothes.  You’ve nearly outgrown the ones you’re wearing now.  So she let me pick out the clothes I wanted.  Then she asked me if there was anything else I wanted?  I said, “Yes, if we can afford it.”  She said to me to go ahead and pick it out.  I wanted a new baseball bat because the one I had I had broken it in two batting a ball.  I picked out a bat – I remember well it was black.  I was so proud of everything.

On our way home, I began again telling Mother how much I appreciated everything.  She told me she was honored to buy me something I liked.  The she told me this statement that became to me the epitome of my Mother:  She said, “Son, I would do anything in the world for you that was within my power to do.  I would be willing fight a Mother Bear if she tried to attack you.”  I said, “Mother, you know you couldn’t beat up a Mother Bear.”  Then the great statement:  she said to me, “Maybe not. But I could stall her long enough for you to get away, even if I died trying.”

Mother was that way about all four of her children.  We were her whole life till the day she went to heaven.

Then the next best known mother I personally knew was my darling wife, Sandra.  Our three children have been at the epicenter of her whole life.  She would do anything for any one of them.  You couldn’t possibility know, even if I attempted to tell you, how much she sacrificed for our children. So, I’ll just tell one story about her that sums up her whole devotion to our three children.

This event took place in the hospital where  John Paul was born.  He turned out to be the biggest baby we had – close to nine pounds.  When Sandra began having intense labor pains, it nearly killed me – and Sandra’s mother, Ruby, who was right there too.  We were both crying and holding Sandra’s hand.  I clearly remember telling Sandra, “Honey, this is going to be our last baby because I just can’t stand seeing you suffer this way.”

About then the doctor decided it was about time for the birth, and he ordered her to be taken to the delivery room.  She wasn’t in there long before John Paul was born.  Eventually, the doctor sent word to Ruby and me that we could go in to see Sandra.  When we got there, Sandra was sitting up smiling big.  The first thing Sandra said was, “See all this long black hair on John Paul?  Dr. Lynn told me that I had brought another hippy into the world.”  We laugh about that still today. Then Sandra made that provocative statement to me and Ruby:  She said, “I don’t care how much I suffered over John Paul being born, I would do it all over again.  And I still intend to bring us a daughter into the world.” – and she did – Rachel.

I could say so much about Sandra being a great mother, but I won’t, because I want to talk about your mother soon.

And I want to start with observations about all mothers in general.
This event (Providence?) started last Wednesday.  Summer (our 23 year old granddaughter, who lives with all of us here) and I hatched a surprise event for Mother’s Day that we knew would really surprise Rachel, Summer’s mother, and Sandra, my wife.  We were going to have each of them a photo album made. 

So I called the photo shop and asked when would be a good time for me to come in.  The manager told me to come Wednesday at noon, that the night manager would be there to assist me.  I got there at noon like I was told. The lady who helped me the next two hours looked to be about 28-30 years old.  She said due to the virus they could not touch anyone’s photos, but she would stand right by my side and guide me all the way.

During the next two hours we did a lot of small talk, I told her my name and she told me hers.  She had worked there for 6 1/2 years, said she loved her job helping people make lifelong memories with their photos.  Not long into our session, I asked her if she had bought her mother a Mother’s Day card yet.  By the way she paused, I knew I had touched a painful chord in her life.  Before she could answer me, I told her I was very sorry- that I had stuck my foot in my mouth like I had done so many times in my life.

She gave me a big smile and said, “That’s okay, it’s just that my mother and I have been estranged for about eight years now.  It’s all my fault.  It started when I was dating my boyfriend, whom I eventually married.  My mother told me from the beginning, “Please don’t date this man.  He’s no good, he’ll never amount to anything. He’s nothing but an alcoholic and can’t keep a job.  You’ll be miserable and very disappointed if you marry him.”

The young lady told me that she soon realized her mother was 100% right. But she just wouldn’t listen to her mother’s advice, and that she had become very angry at her mother for interfering with her life.  She went on to tell me that she was getting ready to file for a divorce the next week after she got her paycheck.  But that all became a moot point, because the very next night her husband was running all over town, making all the bars and chasing other women, when he was so drunk that on his way home he had a single car accident and was killed instantly.  I saw tears glistening in her eyes.

About that time we were finishing up our project, she told me she would have the albums ready in about three hours and I could pick them up then.  I told her no, that I was too busy the rest of the day and that I would pick them up sometimes Thursday.  She said she wished she could see me when I picked them up so she could see how much I liked them.  I paid for the albums and asked her when she got off work?  She said at midniight, that they were on twelve-hour shifts due to the virus.  Then she said it’s not too bad because customers slowed down a lot around 9:00 p.m., and that she got to take a long break.  I left after telling her that I hoped to see her tomorrow too.

I had several other errands to run uptown that day before I could go home.

After everyone had gone to bed that night but me, I had a lot of office work to do on my computer.  I was very busy when the phone rang about 9:00 p.m.  Immediately, I was upset by being disturbed from doing the work I was doing.  I thought, as I looked at the number on my phone and didn’t recognize it, “That had better not be a telemarketer calling me this late.”  But I answered the phone anyway.

I didn’t recognize the voice when the lady said to me, ”Mr. Plumley, I sure hope I didn’t wake you up.”. She said, “I’m the lady from the photo shop who helped you earlier today.“. She asked me if I could talk to her a few minutes.  I told her “Sure.”  She said she was on her 9:00 p.m. break and that she had been thinking about our conversation all day. Then she really surprised me with her next statement.  She said, “You’re a preacher, aren’t you?”  I said “Yes, a retired preacher after fifty years of pastoring”.  I asked, “How did you suspect that?”  She said, “Simple, who else but a preacher would talk to a complete stranger about their mother?”

Then she asked me if I could wait until noon the next day to pick up my photos and If I could come a little early to talk to her.  She said it was very important.  I said I would be there at 11:45 a.m., and asked if that was early enough.  She said she thought so.  So we finished talking and hung up our phones.  I wondered the rest of the night what was going on in her life?

I had a lot to do Thursday, but as I told the lady I would be there early and I was right on time.  I got out of my car to go in and let her know I was there, but she was parked nearby in her car and saw me arrive and got out of her car to meet me.  We exchanged a few pleasantries and she asked me if we coulld sit in her car or my car to talk.  I said, “Let’s just sit in my car.”

We sat in my car and she started telling her story.  She said after we had talked last night on her 9:00 p.m. break, that she went and picked her mother out the prettiest and most expensive Mother’s Day card they had in the store.  And when she got home it took her a whole hour to write on the card what she had been thinking about the whole previous evening.  She said it took her awhile to find the childhood poem that her mother used to read to her so often at bedtime.  She said she finally found the poem and wrote it out on the card.

By this time, she was really all teared up.  I got her some tissues that we had in the glove compartment.  She continued by saying she was going to hand deliver the card and to ask her mother to please forgive her for being so hard-hearted and unforgiving – that she knew her mother was right all along.  She said she had been so brief and curt with her mother when she called to check on her and so often to invite her to church, especially during special services like Christmas and Easter.  Then, she said, “I’m going to ask my mother if she would let me take her out somewhere really nice to eat a good meal together.”

I said, “Young lady, you have really blessed me and made my day.  This is one of the things pastors love to see.”

She said, “I want to correct you.  You have literally made my day – and I think the rest of my life, too.  I know somehow that God sent you to me yesterday.”  By this time we both had big tears streaming down our cheeks.  She said then, “Sorry I have to go, because I’m already five minutes late to work.  We said goodbye to each other, and I assured her I would be praying for her and her mother.

Mother’s are always there whenever their children need them. Does that statement remind you of your mother?  This Mother’s Day, if you haven’t already done so, take at least a few minutes of your time to call her and tell her how much you love her and appreciate all the sacrifices she made for you in your lifetime.

If your mother is already in Heaven, do something to honor her memory.  Call your siblings and reminisce with them about the wonderful mother you shared together. 

I am going to call both of my sisters today and talk to them about our precious Mother – and how much we all miss her, and that she will always be in our memories to shape our lives, even though she is now in Heaven.

Do SOMETHING today to honor your mother.  I promise you this – you will never regret what you do for your mother, or to honor her memory.

I want to close with honoring some other great mothers I have known well through their years of being mothers.  First, there’s my daughter, Rachel. She’s been an excellent mom to her only child, Summer.  Then to Jennifer. 
She’s technically our daughter-in law, but ever since she and John Paul have been married, she just like our daughter.  She’s been a very loving mom to Jay and Jake. Then to Missy. Even though Spencer, Jr. died 17 years ago, she’ll always be our daughter-in law.  She’s been a very great mom to Paige and Spencer.  And since my brother, David is not living to tell her, I wrote his only daughter, Shannon, Saturday, to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day on David’s behalf.  And I certainly can not leave out my dear sisters Lana and Lisa, who learned well from our Mother how to be a loving mom.  Lana would do anything for her only child, Kelly.  And Lisa has been a terrific mom for her only child, Maleah, who turned 30 last week.  All these Mom’s are perfect examples of what God wants all mothers to be.

God Bless You,
Spencer Plumley

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