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A Tribute to Mama on her 85th birthday – 10/26/2014

The following is a Tribute written to our Mama on the day of a glorious luncheon served to family and friends in our family church I hope you enjoy my sentiments:

December 26, 1949 at the early morning hour of 5:01 A.M. and protected by the watchful and competent hands of Dr. T.H. Bates, I met my Mama, Lois Marion.

Apparently it had been a difficult Christmas Day for Mama (I was there, however, memory escapes me…) She was the tender age of 19 and our Daddy, Charles Henry was the tender age of 18. They had married in this church, First Baptist Church of Lake City, Florida on January 9, 1949 and were resigned to my entrance into their world just days from their first wedding anniversary. Had I possessed any courtesy at all most certainly I would have delayed my own birth till they had become at least used to each other. Unfortunately I arrived screaming and requiring their respective undivided attentions… From there I’m sure it’s been downhill all the way!

            At that time in history our world had survived a Depression and a terrible time of war which took Mama’s only remembered Father-figure. Our Daddy at the age of six years old had lost his own Mama during the birth of his youngest sister.

            Both survived their respective childhoods each with the help of their single parents but very early in their lives possessed a fierce devotion one to the other which could not be broken. Mama relates a time having survived throughout the aftermath of the Depression years and then World War II, my Daddy promised “My children will never go hungry!”   At that point in our parents’ lives my three sisters and I were merely a gleam in my Daddy’s eye. However, it proves that he always wanted and treasured his own family. I’m so proud to be a member of that exclusive and treasured group.

            Today in this wonderful gathering of Mama’s friends and family on her 85th birthday celebration, and knowing of our Daddy’s determination to pull my Mama and himself up by their own “bootstraps” I am reminded of the trials and tribulations my parents went through to get my sisters and me through our childhood years and to become independent and successful adults.

            I will not trouble you to document the pain and suffering they endured to protect us through childhood illnesses, financial ups and downs over the years, accidents, fears and second guesses of their respective decisions to guide us to adulthood. I will say, however, through all those years of the battle of wills from teenaged angst (I was the first and probably the most determined of all four…I’m so sorry!) and the determined plans of our Daddy to progress and succeed in his quest for a successful and comfortable ‘older years’, I hope that I have made both of my parents proud. I cannot begin to share my three sisters’ feelings at this point in my life (that I will leave to each of them) but would love to share just a smattering of what I feel for my beautiful Mama.

            As stated before, I was the first to arrive in this small, faithful and financially struggling little family but remember well the times of absolute fun and complete joy Mama shared with me. I was an only child for six of my childhood years and realize that I probably sucked the life out of both of our parents on more than one occasion. From all indications, our Granddaddy William Henry was devoted to me since I was the closest Grandchild in physical distance; however, we lost him early in my young life. Many of you may remember our Grandmother, Lois Annie and she was, as I have proudly documented in print, my hero.

            For those times of the fun I shared with Mama and Daddy I am truly grateful to be able to be here with all of you and share my appreciation of what Mama and Daddy did to help me arrive at my present adulthood, bumps, bruises, broken bones, mistakes and all.

            I have enjoyed our years together, I appreciate Mama’s devotion to us as her children and thank her for her dedication. The trips we have enjoyed together will be forever treasured in my memory and I especially thank her for allowing me to document her life with our Daddy in print. Her memories have brought great pleasure to my existence as well.

            I hope this small time of fellowship, a token of sharing with her friends and family, will prove her daughters’ appreciation for all her hard work, dedication, love and faithfulness and will show Mama just what she has meant to all of us over the years. We are grateful to God for allowing us to be here and for her continued health and happiness. We look forward to many more years of family love with her and only pray we can all live up to her expectations.

Our Daddy left our midst on January 17, 2009 but his memory and his strength remain with all of us. (As well as what he stated all four of us possessed… “Those young’uns sure have firm heads!”) Our Mama misses his twinkling eyes, his wit and his kindness daily.

One of his greatest pleasures in life was to share a meal with those he loved. He never wanted any of his family to go hungry and unfortunately, many of us here today provide the absolute proof that he did not fail …

Today we share a meal of fellowship in his memory and honor our Mama’s 85th birthday. We are grateful that each of you took time from your busy schedules to share with us. Daddy would be so honored to hold this special meal and celebration within the beautiful building he so lovingly helped to construct.

To Mama we wish a very Happy Birthday from her ‘cubs’ and we hope this remains a very special birthday indeed!

With that being said and with the sad knowledge that our Daddy can’t be here to say a blessing over the multitude of tables today, I will merely state what he ALWAYS said just after his blessing…”We are just SOOO proud to have you all here!”