Robert Hitt Neill column
There have been many, many wonderful words written in honor of the women who are our mothers by many, many wonderful writers.
I’ve written a few myself over the 22 years this syndicated column has been running, since I had a mother whom I appreciated an awful lot, and am approaching 44 years of marriage with the beautiful mother who has borne my own children, plus have been introduced in the past year and a half to the joys of grandfatherhood, or rather “Grunk-hood,” as the young man in question terms it. To become a proper Grunk requires that one of your own children must produce a child, thereby creating another mother to be honored on Mothers Day.
The most profound words I consider to have been written about mothers were, as far as I knew when I first learned these words, by an unknown author. I don’t remember, matter of fact, whether I heard someone else make the quote or whether I read the quote somewhere without attributing it to its proper author.
“Anonymous” covers a lot of sins in the several books of sayings and poems that I regularly enjoy, and as an author myself, I have over the years figured out the truth of the old saying, “What goes around, comes around.”
Folks come up with a novel way to phrase a well-known truth, and sometimes years down the road, it gets quoted as Gospel to the original writer, except it is attributed to someone else entirely. If it happens in a book, the second guy sometimes gets sued.
A dozen years ago, as I was doing a lot of speaking hither and yon, a lady asked me months beforehand to speak to her group on “the first Friday in June.”
While I have had Lyme Disease with its accompanying memory loss, I can pretty well remember where I’m going for the next few months. I just can’t recall where I’d been the past few months. So, without looking at a calendar, I told the lady that I could be at her function. I found out that she required me only to “speak on whatever you want to,” agreed on a fee, and plugged the occasion into my Steel Trap Mind.
The date arrived before I realized that it was also the date of my wedding anniversary, June 3rd. However, it was a close-to-home appointment, so I hied me off to do my duty.
It didn’t take much thought for me to decide to speak on a subject that I knew quite well: my anniversary, I told the audience a Love Story about my Bride, naturally. Especially since she was back at the house.
I even waxed somewhat poetic in places, and some of the ladies – and I’m trying to say this modestly, now – had tears in their eyes as I expressed my love for Betsy. I ended my testimony with the quote I had for years considered to be the epitome of Marriage and Family Love, although I had no idea who had originally penned the line: “The Finest Gift a Father can leave his children is the Knowledge that he Loves their Mother.”
I reckoned that I had left that Gift to my own children, thanked the lady for asking me to come speak, and sat down.
After the meeting concluded, a good many folks came down to say they enjoyed my presentation, shake my hand, hug my neck, or even to buy a book and get me to autograph it.
The last person to greet me wore a policeman’s uniform. And he had a little book in his hand. I quickly thought back to where I had parked my pickup, but couldn’t remember a parking meter, nor that I’d seen a handicapped space to ignore. Surely he hadn’t observed me speeding to the meeting, tracked me down, and now was going to give me a ticket?
Nope. He was the city’s Police Chief, and the little book in his hand I now saw was not a ticket book, but his day book. He was almost speechless as he shoved it forward for me to inspect.
It was one of those little pocket books with a Devotional Thought printed out for each day. On that year’s date of June 3rd was printed these words: “The Finest Gift a Father can leave to his children is the Knowledge that he Loves their Mother.”
His book named the author, a man named Rex Hespeth. I had never heard of Rex before, but he sure wrote one good quote!