My mother refuses to grow old

My mother is a whirlwind whose social calendar is over-filled.
She will turn 85 this year—and she refuses to grow old. Her energy is amazing.
She is a mother bear and doesn’t let anyone get away with criticizing her children or grandchildren.
I have many fond memories of my mother. I remember that when my parents bought their first big boat, it was named “Mother’s Worry.” It was mostly that we would travel places where our old skiff didn’t go.
With the boat, on a birthday in July, my parents presented us with water skis. My brother and I were excited, and we began skiing from a beach on Stanjikoming Bay.
My brother was a natural while I learned to plow water by failing to release from the rope after losing my skis trying to come out of the water.
My mother, on the other hand, proved to be most adroit—popping on to the water on her first attempt. She was an inspiration to all of us.
My mother, realizing that my father had a huge love for “Bridge,” learned the game. The two were avid competitors. Today, even with some failing eyesight, she still manages to play the game at least twice a week.
Nothing can intervene with her Bridge game.
Mom and dad taught us the fun of card games, and at the cabin nightly contests of “Blackout” or “Hearts” were played. It often was cutthroat and neither mom nor dad would give an inch.
My mother also has spent a great deal of her life volunteering. The Order of the Eastern Star, at one time, annually hosted one of the most elegant balls in Fort Frances at the Rainy Lake Hotel. Preparations would begin months in advance, and our household would be filled with her committee creating huge decorations for the walls of the ballroom.
She volunteered with June Smith working with adults with learning disabilities.
She also found time to be a camp leader and Sunday School teacher. She canvassed the neighbourhood for various charities. Even today, she volunteers for the “Friends of the Library” and can be found on tag days working for the hospital auxiliary.
She instilled in us a requirement that we have to find ways to help our community. And she and her friends find every opportunity to help.
She seldom misses a tea, bake sale, or fundraising supper. She’ll be found at every musical, high school concert, or play. Her philosophy is, “If we don’t support these activities, how will they continue?”
She is right, and was first in line to help fund the library, the CT scanner, the hospital expansion, the Ice For Kids Arena, and the Townshend Theatre. She is a community citizen.
That is what I think about when I think of my mother on Mother’s Day.
I suppose I should think about the confidence she instilled in her children and how she went about it. I should think about going to university and, without fail, every month a package would arrive with broken chocolate chip cookies, orange crystals, occasionally butter tarts, and always a note.
While in school, mom took up painting and one of her first originals was looking northwest from our cabin across Sand Bay. I still have it, and think about how good it made me feel at Waterloo.
It had arrived just after Thanksgiving of my first year away, when everyone from campus disappeared for home and I felt so homesick. She must have realized it at the time as the painting filled a great void.
That’s what my mom has a knack for doing. And she still does.

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