Sunday, May 12, 2013

Remembering Mom, Almost Daily

Opal McCourry Smith
It's odd how often Mom comes up these days. She's been gone for about 25 years or so, but I refer to her almost daily in one context or another. Usually, it's misquoting her about something, but even with the bad quote, there's a deeper reference to what she taught me.

She would never, for instance, have said, "Show me a modest man and I'll show you a man with considerable to be modest about," but I attribute it to her because it gives the thought more power. She'd have said something more like, "Show me a modest man and I'll give him a hug."

But, hey, what are mothers for if not for ascribing our most noble and ignoble thoughts to? Every time I'm with my brothers and sisters (and there is a passel of them), I am taken aback by how direct--mom would have said "blunt"--they are. They're honest, funny, insightful and about as perceptive as anybody I know. Just like Mom.

She didn't have the benefit of formal education, but Dad, who did, said she was the smartest woman he knew. "She knows things intuitively that people spend years in school trying to learn," he said. "A lot of them fail to learn it."

Mom has been especially lively the past few weeks as I've gone back to CLOG! to try to finish my first novel. She's in it--all over it, you might say--even though it's not at all about her. I'm on what I hope is my final re-write and I'm increasingly finding spots where Mom's wisdom needs to be shared through one of my characters.

That, I suspect, is her final gift to me, the memory of what she would have said, thought and done. And it's a novel, so I can misquote her all I want.

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