Today is “Mother’s Day” in the United States, and on this day I honor and give thanks to God for my mother–Sybil Short Fudge Dewhirst. Now 91, she surveys nearly a century, “rich in memories, friends and family.” Hers is a life marked by strong faith, quiet strength, and great courage; a life in which she has outlived two husbands, raised six birth-children, claimed two equally-beloved stepchilden, and has been given more than twenty direct descendants besides. Mom has taught her share of top-quality Bible classes, but she teaches best, and most, and most effectively, using the language of love spoken with the eloquence of example–modelling godliness in her own consistent life of quiet devotion, kind service, and a gentle spirit. “God has been faithful,” she says, “and my heart embraces the future in hope and joyful anticipation.”
I also honor and express thanks this Mother’s Day for Celia Baldwin Taylor Locke, who fell asleep in Jesus exactly five years ago this week. She was as excellent a mother-in-law as anyone could imagine, as wonderful as any man could wish. One of her favorite songs included the prayer, “Come in thy sweetness, come in thy fullness, stamp thine own image deep on my heart,” and God did just that. Sara Faye eulogized her mother’s “gentle nature and precious sweetness that never left.” Always kind and giving, she was very appreciative for every kindness shown to her, and she regularly said “thank you” for them all.
Today, as our own two children wonderfully honor their mother, Sara Faye Locke Fudge, I will echo an “Amen” to every good thing they say, and personally recall her care and love for them in a zillion special ways they never even knew. I was the “easy” parent in our family. Their mother checked the schoolwork, cracked the whip, enforced the rules. Each style of parent likely needs the other for balance, but although they sometimes liked me better during the process, now that they have children of their own, it’s not old Dad who gets the cheeriest “hello!” when we see them, or the first intuitive hug when someone finally has to leave. (Good job, Sara Faye! You deserve it.)
I need to mention two more moms–of our grandchildren. Daughter Melanie Fudge Simpson and daughter-in-law Kristy Lang Fudge, you both are doing a super job! I thank God for you every day and constantly request his best blessings of every kind on you both. Finally, a word of recognition about a few “substitute mothers” who fed us, encouraged us, and otherwise took us in when our real moms were far away. These include Mary Alice Ciampa in Webster Grove, and Mildred Magnusson and Maude Miller in Athens. I could add Ouida Hargrove in Sweetwater, Doris McGuire in Abilene, Pat Starr in St. Louis, and one or two ladies in Houston, though, I declare, you all are so nearly our age that you seem like sisters and not mothers. But be that as it may, I say “God bless you anyway!”