Saturday, July 25, 2009

One Good Turn

At dinner the other night, Mom told was about how she went to the movies that week. She and her friends were standing in a line to buy tickets, when she noticed a couple about her age (80) standing in line in front of her. Mom has been a widow now for four years, and she (of course) misses my dad, so when she saw this couple talking together, she leaned over and said warmly,

"You don't know how blessed you are, you two; to still be together."

The couple smiled, and the wife said, "Oh, yes, we do."

They shared a little small-talk, and Mom told them she was going to see The Proposal. She then turned back to her friends in line, and a moment later, when it was her turn to buy her ticket, she turned back to see the husband, holding out a movie ticket to her. He smiled and said,

"This one's on us."

(Damn, that chokes me up.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Mom is Crazy (but in a good way)

My mom is 80, but you'd never know it; she has the spirit of a child and is way too much fun for an 80-year-old. For example, Mom has been dressing up in costumes and singing crazy songs since I can remember. It keeps her young, certainly; she really, really loves it. She and three of her friends have been singing together for more than 30 years. They started out as Sweet Adelines, but broke off into their own singing group called The Stumblebums. Thirty years later, "The Bums" continue to practice weekly, and they even have a "gig" now and then. Tonight, I went along to one of their "sing-outs" (for the first time) and took a little video. (The performance was for a small audience at a local assisted living facility.)

The Stumblebums sing some sweet melodies, as evidenced by this clip,

but the thing that really crazy is the ridiculous outfits Mom puts on in the name of entertainment. Tonight, she rolled out a new act. Here it is...

"Elvis" was a big hit! (I can see a 100th birthday party in our future...)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thousand Words Thursday

This week's Thousand Words Thursday photos are of Mom and her sisters (one is a SIL, but does it really matter after more than 50 years?), as we try to get everyone's pics taken with Mom at her 80th birthday party.Need I say more?
There are many more pictures that "say a thousand words" at Jen's blog, Cheaper Than Therapy. Head on over and say hi!

Wordless Wednesday

Celebrating Mom

There are two times that families come together-celebrations and funerals. The last time my siblings and I were all together, it as 2005, when my dad passed away. Having spent Saturday with my family, celebrating Mom's 80th birthday, I have to say I much prefer parties to funerals! The celebration could not have gone better.

Now, when you turn 80 and have nine kids, you can expect a LOT of photos to be taken. I took more than 189, and 94 of them were keepers, that'll tell you how much time Mom spent in this swing Saturday. But she doesn't look like she's complaining, does she?And here she is with 12 of her 20 grandkids (there are also at least that many step-grandkids, and several great grandkids who live elsewhere and couldn't make it.) I can honestly say I have never seen Mom happier than I saw her on Saturday; she was the belle of the ball all day and loved every minute of it, as you can see in these pics (and those that will follow in the coming weeks :)

She loved her album very, very much, of course. She was moved, too, by the photo montage Judy made for her and set to music... I think the hit of her day, though, was when her daughters performed for her (for a change.) First, my sisters, Mary and Geri, (both in red) took the words to In My Mother's House and changed them to be uniquely about my mom, and after some arm-twisting encouragement on their parts, Judy, Michelle, and I joined them in performing the song for Mom. The result was absolutely beautiful. (Watch the video, if you like. Again; no hurt feelings if you don't watch it. I just know that some would love to.) If you do watch it, it will help to know these things:

*My mom's name is Elsie and she collects cows; there are more cows in her house and yard than at a corporate dairy farm.
*Mom lives in a tiny house that is filled to the brim with knick-nacks. At Christmas, she puts up an angel display and has a particular place for each and every one.
*That's Mom's voice (laughing, talking, and singing) you hear in the background now and then.
*This was literally the first time my sisters and I have ever sung together. Judy, Michelle, and I sang during the chorus, mainly, as we had not sung this song before. All things considered, it turned out great.

My sister Mary also wrote an incredibly beautiful, original song that had us all (including Mary) in tears and will be a treasure for a lifetime. It's called "Jimmy Strikes Gold" and is about Mom and Dad; how they met and fell in love, and their life together. It ends with these lines:

For 56 years
He was her partner in life
Now he smiles from above,
with 80 winks for his wife!

How sweet is that?!

The party was an excellent team effort. Everyone pitched in and made it a day to remember for Mom, as well as the rest of us. I'm grateful to Mom for giving us a reason to celebrate her every day, and I'm so glad we all got together in her honor. And like Mary's song reminded us, I know that Dad was with us, too--This time, with the spotlight on his "Brown-Eyed Beauty."

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