April 21st is what I consider the Patriot Retort version of a National Holiday.
It’s my Mom’s birthday!
And I always take time on every twenty-first of April to wish my Mom a very happy birthday.
My mom was born in Germany. She met a young American solider named Jim Russell and they fell in love.
They wanted to marry, but Jim was under 21. So the army required a notarized letter of permission from his Dad to marry my Mom. I have the original notarized letter. It’s one of my prized possessions.
So in January 1957, Jim and Betty were married.
And when Jim returned to the states, his new wife made the voyage with him.
They settled in Syracuse – just ten miles north of where my Dad grew up in LaFayette.
This is a picture of my Mom (R) with my Aunt Joy (L) sometime in the late 1950s. They were either heading to church or just getting home from church. Note the stylin’ gloves.
My brother was born when Mom and Jim were living in Syracuse.
Here’s a picture of Mark at the farm in LaFayette with my Mom and my Grandma Russell:
The morning after my mother’s thirty-first birthday – in 1963 – I was born.
And by that time, we were living in a newly built house in LaFayette on property purchased from my grandfather.
Here’s my Mom and I on the morning of my baptism:
Yes, my mouth is wide open and I’m yelling.
Nothing has changed.
Less than four months after I was born, my father died of a brain aneurysm.
My Mom got a job selling Amway – often taking my brother and me with her on her delivery rounds.
I can’t imagine how hard it was for my Mom — a new citizen of a new country with two small children.
But she rose to the occasion. As she always does.
From my Mom I gained my independence, my loathing of small-talk, and my love of wit and sarcasm.
And in some of the most painful lessons of my childhood, she also instilled in me a respect for others and a strong sense of right and wrong.
As I’ve said before on my Mom’s birthdays, she is PatriotRetort.com’s biggest fan — even though she doesn’t go near a computer. Every week I print up copies of every post so she can sit her living room chair and read through them.
And Mom always says the same thing to me, “I don’t know how you come up with all that stuff to write about. I don’t know where you got this skill.”
That’s easy, Mom. I got it from you – from the way you raised me, instructed me, prayed for me and encouraged me.
Everything I have become is because of you.
Today Mom turns eighty-six and I am still learning from her.
So happy birthday, Mom.
From your loving daughter,
Please feel free to leave birthday wishes for my Mom in the comments. Though she never goes near a computer, I guarantee you, my Dad will bring out his laptop and let her read your birthday greetings.
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