This will begin a new feature, the Monday Spotlight. Shown will be people I have had the pleasure of knowing and a few I've never met. Today, I'll begin with an obvious choice...my parents.
Jean and Henry were quite a pair. They met by accident, or should I say because of an accident. Mom was riding her bike at the local elementary school where dad was in charge of the neighborhood boys' club. She was 15, he was 21. She noticed the tall, handsome young man, and not paying attention to where she was going, ran her bike over the curb, falling basically at his feet. That began a relationship that lasted from their marriage six years later through the following fifty years. Both were blessed with good looks, intelligence, and big dreams.
My father had a glorious voice and mom was an avid reader and writer. In a few years, the births of myself and three precious sisters made the family complete. Mom's culinary skills were legendary and our house was filled with visits from family and friends who enjoyed the camaraderie and good food.
After some years in the city where dad attended college, our family relocated to the small southern town where he was born. Life was good there. Raised in that environment, we enjoyed the relative safety and security we found. We never locked our doors, and church on Sunday was followed by family dinners and fried chicken. Dad would go to bed early, by nine every night, and the rest of us would enjoy cards and conversation, our favorite TV programs, or a good book.
As with any family, there was sadness... the most devastating, the loss of one of my sisters, Jeanie, killed by a drunk driver at the age of thirteen. Despite their grief, mom and dad made sure their remaining daughters were provided with strength and counsel from loving relatives and friends.
They put my sisters and I through college despite their limited funds, sacrificing their dreams for ours. The years after retirement were spent with family and community, and when mom and dad passed, the days of unlocked doors went with them.
My parents left us with something worth more than any material possession...a sense of self, of having a purpose in life. We were taught to wake each day with a smile, that every action we took must be made with respect for others, and to always be kind to those less fortunate.
Thank you mom and dad.