Mom’s Rocks

A friend of mine asked me the other day, “Hey, how did you get involved raising money for breast cancer research?  I know you fight for Constitutional issues and you’re a sucker for dogs and other animals, but why breast cancer research?”

At the time, I just smiled and asked him to buy a book, but since then I have been thinking about his question.  Why did I get involved with this?  Yes, Helen is a friend and I admire and respect her greatly, but that isn’t really it.  If you have a few minutes, I’ll tell you.

You see, just like everyone else, I had a mother.  My mother died when she was thirty-six years old; I was eighteen.  No, she didn’t die of breast cancer, she died from heart failure, which was brought on by a bout with rheumatic fever as a child.  She didn’t know it, but she had lost more than half her life span before she entered grade school.

At her funeral, people kept telling me how young she was and how she was too young to die.  I didn’t truly appreciate those comments until I turned thirty-seven.  I have lived twenty-four years longer than she did and I am just now beginning to understand all she missed.

People say I look like her and they are right.  She left me with her dark brown eyes and a thick head of hair that is still more pepper than salt.  If it gets longer than about two inches, it decides for itself how it will be worn.

My mother never swore and she never used profanity; she didn’t have too.  When she got really upset or angry, she made up her own words.  There were many times when I was sure she was speaking in tongues.  I struggled to contain my laughter while she lectured me with a mix of words that would only be heard during an argument at the United Nations.

My mother was a farmer’s daughter and she became a farmer’s wife.  I was her first born and I became a farmer’s son.  We lived in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in southeastern Idaho.  The dirt there is called black mountain loam.  If you scoop a couple of handfuls and hold them to your nose, you can smell the life trying to grow out of the soil.  It also grows rocks.

I don’t understand the process but during the cycle of winter, rocks between the sizes of soccer balls and watermelons rise up through the soil.  These rocks have to be picked up when they show up in the fields or they could damage farm equipment.  My mom was a champion rock picker-upper and she expected no less of me.  No matter what other work we were doing, it stopped, if a rock dared to show itself.  Every vehicle mom drove, during spring, had rocks in it.  When she got home, I was the one she turned to most to get rid of the offenders.

I think I was about twelve, maybe thirteen and she took me to a field to walk the fence line and repair any wire broken by the past winter snows.  Of course, we found a rock and when she sent me after it, I whined, as only a twelve year old can and asked why.  Why did I have to go pick up yet another rock?

She could have replied with the standard, “Because I said so.”  She could have lectured me about broken farm equipment.  What she said was,

“Because it needs to be done.”

How do you argue with logic like that?

I took the trail around the mountain, but I got where I intended to go; that is why I’m involved.  It needs to be done.

My mother was special to me just as I’m sure your mother is special to you.  My mom was funny, kind of goofy, talented, and wiser than I gave her credit for during her life.  I don’t know if she can see me, but if she can I hope she’s pleased.

I’m going to my mom’s life between now and Mother’s Day.  You are invited to join in with stories or memories of your mom.  I hope you do.  We only get one you know.

If you click on the image of the eBook “The Ghost in the Mini Skirt” you will be transported by internet magic to where you can buy the eBook and help support breast cancer research.

I’ll make you a deal.  Buy one copy for yourself and send one as a gift to your mother.  It will only take a few mouse clicks.  Email me at and share your private email and I will gift you a copy of “Dear Emma”.  Guess what?  It’s about mothers.  If you already own “Dear Emma” let me know which one you want and I’ll substitute.

If your mom is not available, like mine, send the gift to your favorite girl.

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