Remembering Mama

130509—Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day. My mom has been gone twelve years—she died fifty years to the month after we lost Dad. We three boys still talk about her—we laugh, mostly. She was that kind of gal.

I was glad that her later years were mostly fun. She had so much grief to deal with. A lot of things we boys didn’t know about. After Dad died, it was all on her. Taking care of us, paying the bills, keeping the farm going, on and on. I recall feeling kind of isolated, like maybe no one else other than God had any idea that we might be facing challenges. But in that sparsely settled country, people clear across the county may know about you.

We boys were too young to realize all she had to deal with. She’d say, “Boys, we’re going to town (Liberal, Kansas—18 miles away); I’ve got to see the banker.” So we would go to town and the three of us boys would wait in the bank lobby, surrounded by polished granite, glass, and serious looking people sitting at highly polished oak desks while Mom went in to ask J.C. Naylor for a loan to keep us going—without collateral.

This map shows the incorporated and unincorpor...

This map shows the incorporated and unincorporated areas in Seward County, Kansas, highlighting Liberal in red. It was created with a custom script with US Census Bureau data and modified with Inkscape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mr. Naylor—she always called him that—probably wondered if he’d ever have to tell this widow that he couldn’t lend her $500 for seed and fuel—not while those three little kids were sitting right outside his office.

He didn’t ever have to tell her “No” because she always came through … or really, God always came through. In dry years that rivaled the thirties, somehow Mom put things together—the sale of three or four yearlings or just enough wheat to pay Mr. Naylor what she promised.

A few years ago, when I went back to Oklahoma to see my brothers, Dick and I went up to Liberal. We went into one of the popular cafes for lunch. Most everybody spoke as we came in, probably because they knew my brother. We ate and on our way out, Dick went over to greet Eugene and Florence Regier, whom I scarcely knew, as they lived across the county. In the course of our discussion of the weather (dry) and farm prices (low), Eugene mentioned our mother. He remarked how he’d always admired her.

I was surprised and asked him why. He said, “When we heard your dad passed away (remember, those people pay attention to what’s going on around them), we talked among ourselves. ‘How is Mrs. Hall going to manage? Alone with those three little boys out on that farm …’ So we kept up on how you were doing. Every year, she was still going … what an incredible woman.”

Well, I knew people in our community knew us, but to think that the sympathies of good folks on the other side of the county followed our fortunes; I was amazed. I heard later that some of our relatives figured Mom would fold her tent and leave that little dry land farm that was mortgaged to the hilt.

Those relatives didn’t really know her. She said she intended to stay on the farm because it would be best for us boys. She did and it was.

That’s what always impressed us about Mom: She was always looking out for us.

What do you remember best about your mother when you were growing up? What kind of scrapes did she rescue you from? What do you wish you could do over?



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About samuelehall

A follower of Jesus, husband, father of 3 adult children, writer and learner.
This entry was posted in Families, My Okie Past and Present and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Remembering Mama

  1. Julia Sumrall says:

    Your Mother was so special and loved by a lot of people!! Thank you boys for sharing her with many!

    • samuelehall says:

      Julia Faye! I been missing you; thought of you this week so glad to hear. I knew you liked my mom; she thought you were really special.
      Have a great Mother’s Day!

  2. John Halstead says:

    Really enjoyed your tribute to your mom. My mom was out of a similar cloth, tender heart, but determined to raise four of us kids and taught school too! While my dad was away all week working on the railroad, home on weekends, we managed a 12 acre family farm. The farm provided not only the sustenance, but the experience of being responsible. Lots of lessons learned in this arena. Seemed like we were pretty poor, but honestly we were rich in other ways, we had the blessing of a home, values and determination to succeed, maybe a little out of balance, but good none the same.
    What would life be like without something to allow God to work on here and there? From no electricity, other than two hours from a generator in the evening (very dim), carrying water to house to barn, to garden from a hand pump hand dug well. The “privy” outside toilet was all a part of the life in those days. It seemed that all those around you, but one here and there, were all in the same boat. Made you thankful for the little things and then later (PP&L arrival of power in the early 50’s), the really big things. My father was absent lots of the time, but always there. In my adult life I struggled with the concept of an ever-present, near God, always a breathe away, because my earthly father didn’t match that, maybe by personal choice or just circumstance.
    Yes, our history has shaped us and I am thankful for my mom everyday!

    John Halstead

    • samuelehall says:

      John, what a tribute. People would look at you now and possibly think “that guy’s so calm and unflappable; he probably never had many problems.” They may not realize what gave you that air of confidence and those values, the determination to succeed, and your strong sense of responsibility. Those didn’t occur unprompted.
      Thank God for your Mom. Certainly, God was working on you “here and there.”
      The tough times, the inconveniences that you accepted as a fact of life, and lotsa hard work–those were the fodder but the Lord working thru your folks provided the power and direction. Thanks for sharing, Man.

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