The kids on my street called my mother, Grace, the 'neighborhood mom.' When she passed away a few years ago, our dear friend, George Hudson wrote a poem I treasure. Here is an excerpt:
The neighborhood mom had a family of her own, and a tribe of 15 to go along with it.
Football, baseball, basketball, kick ball, kick the can, wiffle ball, dodge
ball, monopoly, 21, checkers, chess. Life, Rook, Risk,
Scrapes, and tall trees, sweet honeysuckle, and bumble bees.
Broken arms, and broken bones, broken hearts, and broken homes,
The neighborhood mom was there for all.
Grace would block off Northwood Road, call square dances, officiate volleyball, set off fireworks, and talk the local Pabst distributor into dropping off a KEGerator (full sized) that she would put on the back porch of our home in Asheville, North Carolina.
Katherine and I were having a good laugh about Grace recently. (She has been pied piped by her on more than one occasion.) She said to me, "you know, you are her, right?" And while I have been known to rally the neighborhood troops on occasion, being "the Hen" does not allow me the time to do it as much as I would like. I caught myself half-apologizing to my son Bobby for that very reason the other day. He just shrugged his lanky 14 year old shoulders and said, "you try to be there" and that is enough for him. Children are resilient, amazing sweet blessings that fill in the gaps between memorable moments with an abiding love that sustains them. (I could stand to take a refresher course in Unconditional Love.)
"Grace" calls to mind poise and elegance. To you, maybe. That "Grace" gave Cary Grant the what-for and became a princess. But to me, Grace was agility and heart. Tall, nimble and, to be honest, something of a rabble rouser. But always there for all. (That's Grace leading the line dance in the middle of the street in the image below. See her? Her tribe is watching and following.)
Grace may have led more lines dances, but my kegs are way better. That's Sierra Nevada in this one.