Principal's Pennings, May 5, 2016
Sunday is Mothers’ Day, and my thoughts quite naturally go back to my own mother. She went to live with Jesus twenty-nine years ago this month. Thoughts of her still bring an occasional tear, but most often a smile accompanied many times by a chuckle as I remember certain instances. Mother would have never considered herself a comedian, she was much too shy for that. However, many times she was funny, and the source of much laughter for the family. Most times she wasn’t even trying to be funny, she was just being herself, which is often much funnier than someone who is trying to be funny.
She grew up on the farm, married a farmer, and spent her entire life on the farm. That made her a great farmer’s wife, but did not automatically qualify her as being a good farm hand! I remember only a couple of instances when we were in a time bind, that Dad asked her to run a piece of farm equipment. Both times were nearly disastrous, and ended up costing us more time than less. Both were while haying. My brothers were much older and gone by this time, so Dad and I usually did the haying by ourselves. Mother wanted to help, Dad told her she didn’t have to, mother insisted, and Dad said, “OK!” I did the mowing, Mother was to do the raking (have you seen how wide those rakes are??), and Dad did the stacking or baling. We were all busy doing our part of the job when I noticed Dad waving me over to his tractor. He said, “Ann, look over at your mother. I think something is wrong!” That was quite obvious as the rake looked much too close to the fence, the tractor was stopped, and Mother was standing on the seat of the tractor waving frantically in our direction! Dad just calmly said, “Ann, go get your mother out of the fence!” It wasn’t said angrily, but only with a little smile on his face that might have been interpreted as “See, I knew this would happen!” When I got over to Mother, she had a sheepish grin on her face and said, “Guess I got a little close!” We laughed, and did a bit of maneuvering , and again she was on her way. She had one of those wide “dump rakes,” which, when done correctly, left long straight winnows. Mother’s winnows were long, but they certainly weren’t straight. I believe that was the beginning of the end of Mother’s career in the hayfield. I don’t remember any real discussion; I think it was more of a mutual understanding that the next day Mother would return to homemaker and bring out scrumptious meals and snacks to the fields to those who were a little more comfortable with mowers, rakes, and hay stackers.
I was once told that everyone leaves a legacy. Mother gave her children lots of laughs, but I believe her legacy was in her Christian witness of kindness to everyone she met. She had a gift of seeing something she genuinely liked in everyone. When someone was gossiped about or criticized in her presence, she would stick up for them and say something positive. She was very uncomfortable with hearing anyone put someone else down. I don’t ever remember her telling us not to be critical of other people, but to find something lovable about everyone, but I certainly saw it by example. Mother did not have the best self-image in the world. She felt inferior to many. She shouldn’t have! She was the best Christian witness I have ever seen, and she did that by how she treated everyone, and talked positively about everyone. She was a great example of Christ’s love for us. Kindness goes a long way, both in relationships, and in the witness of God’s love! It leaves no room for idle gossip or put-downs. Our chilren will learn by example!