Have you called your mother lately?

Published 7:21 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2019

I spent an interesting Mother’s Day with my wife.

It was the first time in a long time that we were able just to spend a Sunday together away from the house for most of the day as we walked through one of the city’s antique shops and looked at the items, some of which made us remember times from our childhood or reminded us about a relative.

But there was something missing from this year’s observance. Our mothers. Marcia’s mother died in 2016, and my mother died this past November. Those missing links we evident as we walked through the shop and saw things like a rocking chair, a carving set and other items that brought out the phrase, “Mom (or mama) had one just like that.

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My mother-in-law was an exceptional woman; she put up with me, and as the mother of seven had to deal with “pharaoh’s army,” as my wife called it, when her extended family would gather at the family home for holidays.

She was understanding and didn’t interfere with our lives or tell us how to raise our daughter.

When she died, ironically also in November, it was a loss for my wife’s family and for me.

My mother was also an exceptional woman, but in a different way. She grew up in France, came to the U.S. as a teenager, and when World War II broke out, enlisted in the Free French Army under Gen. Charles de Gaulle and trained as a nurse. She also had to put up with me, as well as my brother and sister. She tried hard to give us the childhood she never had, and sometimes, I think, took things a little to far.

She never really understood football or baseball, but when I or my brother played either sport, she was one of the most vocal fans in the stands. When I ran track, she never missed a home meet, and I can remember during afternoon meets looking into the stands and seeing her.

Mom worked all her life, retiring well into her 70s, and then wanted to go back to work in her 90s.

After she turned 90, her health began to decline, but for most of her final years, she remained active until a broken hip finally slowed her down.

There’s things I’m going to miss with the loss of my mother. Her early morning calls on my birthday to wish me a happy day.

The Sunday evening calls we had for 30 years that began the weekend we moved from Louisiana but became fewer as her health declined.

Sometimes those calls were nothing more than to just say “hello” and find out how I and my family were doing. Sometimes I passed on something about Baton Rouge that I learned from reading The Advocate online.

I miss her and my mother-in-law, so I’ll close this with a comment I’ve used before.

Have you called your mother lately? I wish I could call mine.

John Surratt is a reporter for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at john.surratt@vicksburgpost.com.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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