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Harris Blackwood: Mother's Day comes with an emotional cost
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 A commercial on the radio was advertising a $5,000 ring for Mother’s Day. In the 36 years I had my mother, I didn’t spend $5,000 combined for Mother’s Day gifts.

The truth is a good or bad Mother’s Day doesn’t cost much money. What it does cost is an emotional cost.

I saw a woman last week and asked about her daughter, who was about my age.

“Oh honey,” she said, “we haven’t spoken in about two years.”

I asked her what happened and she told me that her husband died. One morning, she went to get a cup of coffee and struck up a conversation with a man who happened to be a widower. They were talking about some limbs that had fallen in her yard, and he offered to cut them up and put them by the street for pick up.

Someone saw the man in her yard and told the daughter, who was convinced some kind of romance was going on. The daughter called and screamed and the two haven’t spoken since.

That’s just crazy. A cup of coffee and a few ounces of gasoline for a chain saw were the costs of a couple of bad Mother’s Days.

Two mothers in southwest Georgia had sons who became police officers. Late last year, the two responded to a call in an apartment complex. They were shot in the head and killed by a no-good thug.

The cost of a bad Mother’s Day was less than a dollar’s worth of bullets.

Some mothers in our area are facing this day after losing one of their children to a drug overdose. A hit of heroin sells for less than $10. That’s a heck of a price to pay for a bad Mother’s Day.

But the news is not all bad.

Some women have raised their own children and decided to become an adoptive or

foster parent.

The cost of their Mother’s Day is the risk one takes by sharing their heart. It’s priceless, but worth it.

Before I leave you on this Mother’s Day, I want to pay tribute to some special moms. Some are still here, others are gone, but they deserve a tip of the hat for how they raised their children.

Mrs. Mary Deal lived to be just shy of her 100th birthday. When she and her husband moved to Sandersville to take teaching jobs, no one could watch after her little boy, Nathan. For two years, he went with her to first grade at Sandersville Elementary.

She gave him a foundation that would eventually take him to the U.S. Congress and the Governor’s Mansion. She also gave him a heart full of compassion. She did well.

Mrs. Agnes Shirley Niles is gone, but not before she raised eight children in the old Melrose housing project. All eight of them found success and escaped the bonds of poverty. They all got their education and one, Avery, is commissioner of Juvenile Justice. He is trying to help young people find their way out of difficult situations.

Mrs. Nedra Green took her boy, Mark, to piano lessons for years. He now serves as minister of music at First Baptist Church, and his piano playing has brought joy to hundreds of people.

Mrs. Bobbie Jean Coates’ oldest boy felt the call to be a preacher. She played a great role in making that happen. Dr. Bill Coates is a fine man and preacher because of the upbringing in Kershaw, S.C.

Both Mrs. Green and Mrs. Coates are still here cheering on their boys.

And last, but not least, there is Mrs. Betty Blackwood. This is my 20th year without her, but I think of her daily.

When I was 3, a doctor told her I would never speak plainly because of an accident during a tonsillectomy. She pushed and prodded and took me to speech therapy. I’ve made my living by talking (and writing) and she had a lot to do with that.

To all mamas: Happy Mother’s Day and thanks for all you do.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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