SURRATT: A letter to my mother and a reminder to call your own

Published 4:00 am Friday, May 6, 2022

Dear Mom,

Here’s hoping that you’re doing fine.

I guess there’s a lot more of you in me than I thought because I’m still working. It seems that like you, I just can’t seem to slow down and say to myself that it’s time to retire.

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Marcia and Kimberly are doing fine; Marcia, of course, is retired and Kim is working and very involved with her church. I’m doing alright; a few pains and groans than before, but nothing I can’t tolerate.

Given the circumstances, I guess you might find it strange that I’m writing to you, but since you passed on in 2018, I’ve missed the Sunday calls we used to have and I guess this is my way of calling you to just give you an update on things. I’ve missed you and dad; I miss your counsel, your take on current events and your concern for me and the family.

Folks, this Sunday is Mother’s Day; a time, of course, when we pay tribute to our mothers and all they have done for us. The problem for me is, as I said in my letter, my mother is no longer with me so I have to go back to my memories.

Mom was an interesting person. Born in the Alsace region of France, she came to the U.S. as a teenager with her mother in the 1930s. In 1940, at the age of 17, she joined the Free French Army, was trained and served as a nurse. Like my father, she rarely talked about her experience in World War II.

She met my father after the war and had me, my brother and my sister, and she and dad both had to work to keep the house going. She was a good cook and I miss her rice pudding, homemade split pea and potato soups and her apple fritters. And I miss the goodies she baked for Christmas when the aroma of baked goods alone could put 20 pounds on you.

Mom, I believe, always wanted to be a doctor. She never said it, but I know that had her situation been different growing up, she would have made it. She never had much of a childhood, but she made sure we did, sometimes going a bit overboard. She could be tough on you when it came to schoolwork and grades because she knew the value of an education. Mom never could understand America’s obsession with sports but when I ran track or my brother played baseball, she was there in the stands cheering us on. She was also my source for LSU football tickets — the benefit of working for a doctor who had a habit of putting patients with tickets in the hospital on game day or the day before.

As the years went on and I married and moved away, mom would call me on Sunday afternoons to find out how we were. Sometimes the conversation would be brief; sometimes they’d go on. It was always good to hear from her. The calls stopped on a November night in 2018.

So, as I’ve said before, call your mother and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. I sure wish I could call mine.

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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