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Harris Blackwood: Take this week to call home to your mother, if you can
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

I decided to write my annual Mother’s Day column a week early. There is a reason.

I loved my mama and I miss her like crazy. She has been dead nearly 23 years. I’d be less than honest if I wouldn’t love an opportunity to talk with her for a few minutes.

She died in December and one afternoon in October, I insisted that we have a talk about life and what she wanted to tell me. I thought we might have a year or so with her, but it turned out to be about another six weeks.

I recently heard a second-hand story about someone I knew. They had a falling out with their mama and haven’t spoken to each other in nearly 15 years.

I understand that people, especially family members, can get angry at one another. I also understand that sometimes one of the persons has to be catalyst for patching things up.

When I was a kid, Social Circle was long distance from everywhere. Southern Bell offered the people a chance to be included on the Covington telephone exchange. The people voted no, thinking that a bigger calling area would bring in undesirable people.

Not long before mama died, they opened up the Atlanta dialing area to include Social Circle in the east and Gainesville in the northeast. The other side went all the way to parts of Alabama.

If you are under 30, you may need a history book to understand the previous two paragraphs.

During that time, I talked to mama almost every day. I was a grown man and my mama was concerned about things like wearing clean underwear and whether all my internal plumbing systems were working properly.

Yes, we got mad at each other a few times over the years, but in a couple of days it was all over and things were fine.

I couldn’t imagine voluntarily deciding not to speak with her for 15 years.

If she were alive today, mama would be 92. Like everyone who dies, I have a locked-in image of her at the time of her death. I have a hard time imagining my mama at 92.

If you are estranged from your mama, daddy or a sibling, you can be the one who starts the repair job on your broken relationship. Write a note; make a phone call, get a friend or family member to be an intermediary.

As we approach Mother’s Day, remember that this is the woman who carried you for nine months and gave you life. You may not be successful if things are really bad, but you owe it to yourself to seek to restore your family connection.

Undertakers tell me that fairly often, adult children will come in and buy the most ornate or expensive casket. It is not because they are rich, but they do it out of guilt.

I’m not trying to cut anybody out of selling funereal hardware, but it won’t bring that person back and it will not diminish your guilt.

You may suffer a broken heart because of long past words or actions. At the same time, the person who dies may also leave this world with a broken heart, as well.

One of my favorite television commercials is an old one for South Central Bell. It features the late Coach Bear Bryant. He talks about having his players write home to their mama and make a phone call to home.

In his deep voice, he closes the spot with a poignant question, “Have you called your mama today? I sure wish I could call mine.”

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.

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