Today she is 29 (again)
She is the one on the right!
My Mom… Dorothy Eller Sowers, yep… that’s her!
Happy Birthday Mom…
oh yes, and that is her imaginary friend with her! Tonight I plan to celebrate her well, as I attend Willie Nelson’s concert here… I’ve let her know that I’m sure she will love knowing that I’m here doing that for her birthday! Can’t really write what she had to say about that though… but it was rather funny as I laughed til’ tears squirted out of my eyes. Yes I called first thing this morning and sang and sang, only to hear her ask ” what did you do with the money I gave you”. I was surprised by the question and it gave me pause, until she finally cleared it all up for me saying, “YOU know, the money for singing lessons!” Ohhhh, that money I thought! Yep, that’s here, there with Elvis and cuz Angie; but today she is chillin’ at home as the snows have hit, the ice has rendered her on the hill that has yet to be safe to get down in her car! I was lucky to get through on a phone that is blowing up with those calls of Happy Birthday to the woman known all over town! Now that she knows I’m off to see Willie tonight, she has plans to kick up the volume to his latest CD while checking the weather and see if her plans for the day are a go or a stay… Perhaps she will indulge a bit. After all she is getting ready to hit Vegas next month! Maybe she will hit it big on the slots… Oh how I hope…
EAT ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST
EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT ALL DAY
MAKE FACES AT STRANGERS
TALK TO STRANGERS
EMBARRASS THE KIDS AT DINNER
SLIDE DOWN THE HILL ON A SHOVEL since there is SNOW
My Mom lives in Dublin Virginia on a hill above where my Granny lived for years and years. Across the road is a railroad track and when the train runs you hear it long before you can see it… it shakes the house! I can remember running as a child to wave at the conductor; funny thing is, we will still do that when I’m there visiting! Dublin is a small little town, population 11,077 and Mom knows just about everyone there. The adjoining towns of Radford and Pulaski are not safe havens as she seems to know everyone there as well! Heaven help us if we are in a hurry and go to the store… cos’ Mom has to stop and have a “hi how are you” with just about everyone she sees! This is a source of great comedy and often greater teasing from my 19 year old Godson D’Vante. He has texted me from the airport with this message, “Dot is talking to strangers”! haha
Thing is, Mom knows no strangers and loves to engage folks in conversation it seems!!! If you don’t believe me, just ask Kamryn, Angie or D’Vante. We have all enjoyed hearing the stories and have even more funny playing with her about learning to not talk to strangers.
Ah yes, Mom is also he volunteer of nursing homes, caller of bingo extraordinaire, and all around good pal in her area. She is there for so many and so often on the move that someone would be fast to keep up. She is an advocate of the YMCA there that once was struggling, once at a place of perhaps closing their doors… now that has changed, people have become passionate, involved with a sense of community and common values of care. She is there about three times a week in the water, has learned to swim this last year and with her friends has a ball! She is on the streets, in the water and now helping to teach little ones to swim, to foster fellowship and community. One busy woman I tell ya, and in the stands of the basketball court screaming success for Kamryn and those Radford ballers like nobody’s business to the point of losing her voice at each game. She’s in it to win it!
Mom has been called many names & has many a story from & by her friends & family; and of course it would not be right if I didn’t share some of that with you… after all Granny would want me to, and I am after all celebrating Mom’s birthday with all of you this morning.
It is Mom’s hand you see on the photograph on the cover of Healing Heartaches! Now famous, I am sure should you ever run into her she will tell you all about having to pose for me and the 250+ photos that were taken! She will autograph the book for you as well which she did in Charlotte NC for a couple of women from the Philippines! She passes out cards/bookmarks everywhere she goes as she promotes Down the Hallway along the way!
Mom and I grew up together… which is why she is but 29 years old… or maybe by now she is 39, I never have been good with numbers.
Mom has a way about her that others love; from the depth of her volunteerism, to her concern of others at the YMCA that gives them a deep sense of community caring. If someone doesn’t show up, someone calls to check… If someone is unable to drive, someone will go and get the person in order for them to come. Mom has sat by the bedside of the dying, visits the rooms of those in Nursing Homes, brings a ray of hope to those who would go without a hug or a smile, and she does it as though they were family. She is funny, she is fierce, she is a force to reckon with if you piss her off or mess with someone she loves.
Granny used to call Mom “Boss Hog” and then we started calling her “The General” years and years ago. Why you may ask… well, you see Mom’s home sits on the hill where the pigs used to live back in the day! So once the pig pen was gone, (Mom was once chased down the hill by the pigs when they escaped and oh how Granny loved seeing that through the kitchen window) and the land was changed to be able to have a home for Mom it only seemed fitting that she would be “Boss Hog” hahaha!!!
Now as for the title of “The General”… Granny & Dorothy & Me all decided that since Mom like to act like she was in charge we would let her feel like she was in charge by giving her that name… It stuck through the years, and darn if she didn’t act more and more like a General!!! We would pretend to pay attention, but we really didn’t cos’ we all knew that it was Granny who really ran things, but we let her keep the title anyway… But, Mom could leap into action and line people up with their tasks and hold them to it… especially in times of heartache and tragedy. She would move em out! Get things done, but again that was back in the day when she was tough and before she got “mushy”!!!
Now come the boys, Kamryn and D’Vante who she adores and who drive her completely crazy on any given day… they absolutely love to stand on her last nerve with their antics and practical jokes. They love to spend the night and play the WII, bowling, boxing, watching movies, throwing popcorn across the room, pillow-fights, and the like, all of which she is usually in the middle of when she is not the instigator of. Years ago they took to calling their beloved “Dot” by a new name… They dubbed her “Big Nose” making jokes and all sorts of things and then decided to call her that in public places; airports, restaurants, in front of friends!!! So being the sophisticated & classy lady that my Mom is, she takes it all in stride and waits patiently for just the right timing… usually in front of the kids’ friends or in a busy restaurant. And then it happens… she gets the attention of the boys and in a heartbeat with a gleam in her eye and without warning will open her mouth and stick out her tongue (which will have the contents of a bite of food) and then make a face at the kids! THEY GET HYSTERICAL & EMBARRASSED at the same time!!! But they have a ball and wonderful memories are made; great laughs are had by all and others watch with amazement at the bonds between them are clearly visable from two kids through the years to a single Mom of — and an Elder and it is beautiful, and my heart and soul sing knowing “that is my family, that is my MOM”.
Then she comes to Florida and meets some dear friends of mine, Laura and Mitch. We spend time on beautiful Lake Tarpon and by the time Mom returns home she has yet another name… COB! So when in Florida and you meet my Mom, just say “Hello Cob” and she will answer I’m sure! That’s my Mom, she’ll talk to you like she’s known you all of her life, and then she will tell you about her daughter, and she will sell you your very own autographed copy of Healing Heartaches or Down the Hallway too!
And so it goes… MY MOM is having a birthday today! And heaven only knows what is in store in Dublin, Radford or Pulaski Virgina. The great news is that she is good buddies with the Sheriff there, and that makes me feel better. It helps to know that if she is out and about and running the roads with or with Angie and the boys and they are trying to make a spoon stick to the end of their nose and someone decides she or they are a danger to themselves or others…
It will probably be her friend who answers the call.
And somehow that makes me feel better!
On a more honoring note I will tell you: I could not ask for a more loving and beautiful Mother… whose love and support through the years have been a gift. I am blessed to have her, because of her I am more. We will laugh much, love often and live well.
I am one of the lucky ones, still able to laugh, love and experience life here with her and for that I give thanks… And So It Is!
At 73 years old, Helen Hayes said, “The hardest years in life are those between 10 ~ 70″
I think she must have known my Mom! She has not had the easy road; it has been a path of heartaches, losses and tragedy some of which is written in Healing Heartaches, most of which is kept personal and honored as private. But she is a survivor, a thriver, she is a woman who has found her way back from the uncertain and dark path of sorrow and into the light of hope and healing ways. As Granny will remind her and all of us with her sage advise, “Keep your head held high, even when your butt drags the ground”. Granny taught by example that through tragedy we will survive… and some will choose to thrive.
Happy Birthday Mom, you walk with amazing grace in all that you are, all that you have given to so many through the years. Your dedication to your family; your volunteer work with Hospice through the years and your commitment to Highland Ridge Nursing Home, Pulaski Health and Rehab and the residents there along with your service to the YMCA in Pulaski, your gallons of blood given with love to the American Red Cross and the Lions Club so that others needs are met are all to be applauded and admired. YOU are a remarkable human being, and Granny would be proud of her daughter as I am proud of my Mother. “whole lot”
YOU’ve still got it !
To all of you today… If your parents are alive, honor them, pick on them, love them and laugh with them… if they have died, honor your memories, live their legacy, stand tall for as long as you live they to shall live as you remember them.
I hope you will take a moment today, whet your breath and send a message of birthday wishes to My Mom, and honor yours while you are at it!
Walk IN Beauty,