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A TRIBUTE TO MY MOM, Miriam (Mrs. James) Blackwood

May brings us to one of the true common denominators in life, our moms, and the day we set aside particularly to honor them.
My mom is 90 and still lives in the house I grew up in. Daddy died ten years ago and mom has maintained their home just as it has been all my life. It is always a comfort to go home and sleep in my old room and enjoy that link to my childhood.
Mama, as I call her, is quite a lady. Ask anyone who knows her. Although far more people knew my dad due to his illustrious career in gospel music, the people who know my mom always describe her in glowing terms. The word I most often hear is "classy."
Daddy traveled with The Blackwood Brothers across the continent and around the world during my growing up years and it was my mom who primarily raised me. While daddy's position afforded me the privilege of traveling and seeing much of the world before I was twenty, my mom got me off to school and did all the normal "mom" things at home.
I've seen pictures of my mom as a young woman. I particularly think of her high school graduation picture. She was stunningly beautiful. She was also the valedictorian of her senior class, a cheerleader and very popular in school.
It was just about that time in her young life when the Blackwood Brothers Quartet sang at her home church in Weathersby, Mississippi. The group had a daily radio program from Jackson, Mississippi, and my mom had sometimes sent in requests for certain songs, a common practice in those days of radio. On the day the group came to sing at her home church, she caught the eye of my dad. During a break in the concert he made his way back to the rear of the crowd to get a closer look at the young beauty. My mom had strategically carried a songbook with her name written across the top so that it would be visible to whoever might happen to see it.
Well, my dad saw her name, recognized it as the name from the radio requests and immediately struck up a conversation. To hear my dad tell it, he put two and two together and swept her off her feet. To hear my mom's version, he fell perfectly into her trap! Either way, they courted and subsequently married on May 4, 1939. My dad was 19, my mom 17. Their marriage ended only with daddy's homegoing on February 3, 2002, 62 years later.
My parents were not perfect people nor did they have a perfect marriage (I'm not sure there is such a thing). But one thing they did that was both wonderful and terrible at the same time; they set the bar so high and loved me so well that I thought that was the way life was supposed to be. My mom and dad were both givers who gave to and for each other and for their sons. It has taken me years to realize that not everyone is a giver and that I grew up in a very special family where, regardless of my failures and shortcomings, I was loved and accepted.
I have had the painful experience of talking to many people over the years who said they never heard their dad or mom say, "I love you," until they were adults. I cannot imagine such an environment. I was lavished with love and affection from my earliest memories. Even though daddy was gone much of the time, when he was home he was very loving and attentive. And my mom probably went too far in seeking to meet my needs and make up for daddy not being there.
My mom kept the home fires burning, raised two boys, and still managed to endear herself to all who knew her with class, charm and her high standards for personal conduct. Never one to complain, she accepted her role as wife and mother and did it faithfully.
Proverbs 31 describes a godly woman who serves faithfully in her role as a homemaker, a manager over the affairs of the house and family, and a diligent worker who serves her family well. Anyone who knows my mom would tell you that she has worked just as hard as daddy, only behind the scenes. And she has done it with class and dignity.
So, I take this opportunity to publicly praise and honor my mom, Miriam Blackwood. You have the love and admiration of all who know you. And two sons, daughters-in-law, grandkids and great grandchildren who daily enjoy the blessings of calling you mama, Mim, mawmaw, grandmother, and great mawmaw. Thank you for the life you have lived and how you have blessed your family. We are eternally grateful. We love you!

Billy Blackwood

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