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From the Publisher's Desk – I got lucky in my upbringing (June 24, 2015 issue)

We have now celebrated both Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. Although it took both parents to create our existence, none of us have the same offerings once here. Having a child is one thing, but being a father and mother is totally different.
From love to discipline to support and providing, we all have varied levels met of our needs. Some are too strict, some too relaxed and some not there at all. In fact, for the small group we have at The Erwin Record, all of our backgrounds are different.
We grow and conform or change from our influences based on childhood. Parents are given a blank slate to work with. Yet, sometimes the best parents have to throw up their hands in a loss of what’s gone wrong. There are so many sad situations in the world today, so many shootings, so much violence. I am truly surprised by racism. There is good and bad in all races. We all have feelings, a soul and one main creator. Making a difference because someone is a shade different than us in color is hard for me to believe. Yet, many white people will bake their bodies in the sun to be browner.
I was saddened by the recent shooting at a Charleston church. Reports say the young man almost changed his mind because the church people were so nice to him. Hopefully what he heard in that one hour of Bible study will stick with him in prison and make a difference in his life.
News like that has an impact on us all. I am sure for many of the victims’ families it made a difference with the celebration of Father’s Day.
But, holidays are always a strange mix of emotion. For some it is joyous. For some it is the sadness of a deceased parent. For some it is the sadness of a failed parent or of not being able to even conceive a child.
Both Father’s Day and Mother’s Day haven’t been around for very long. In fact, our just celebrated Father’s Day, did not come about until 1972, in the middle of a hard-fought presidential re-election campaign, Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making it a federal holiday at last.
Mother’s Day became a commercial holiday in 1908, when–inspired by Jarvis’s daughter Anna, who wanted to honor her own mother by making Mother’s Day a national holiday. The John Wanamaker department store in Philadelphia sponsored a service dedicated to mothers in its auditorium. Thanks in large part to this association with retailers, who saw great potential for profit in the holiday, Mother’s Day caught on right away.
In 1909, 45 states observed the day, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson approved a resolution that made the second Sunday in May a holiday in honor of “that tender, gentle army, the mothers of America.”
I was blessed with two mother figures, my real mother and my grandmother. Both had tremendous influence on me. My grandmother died when I was a young teen but I still hear her delightful laughter that she sometimes tried to hold back. Most of the time it at least came out as a snicker. I remember her holding me to rock me to sleep and falling asleep herself.
I remember how she could whip up delicious treats in the kitchen from seemingly nothing. I remember various words that she would use like “I swan” and “I wish to my never.”
Now over 40 years later, I still think of her and smile and sometimes tear up from missing her.
My mom has been my best friend in life. She constantly amazes me on how adapting and loving she is. She taught school for 44 years but she teaches me something amazing everyday. She is a friend to everyone and sees the good in people. Most of my friends have a great love for her as well. I am proud to have her for a mother and honored to be her son.
I had several role models for fathers and males in my life. I feel like they have all taught me many valuable lessons.
I grew up around my grandfather and my uncle. They both supported me and helped me as well as setting a good example to follow. My parents divorced when I was young but I got closer to my dad later in life. He was always there to help me if I came to him in need of anything. I always respected him and never heard my mom say one bad thing about him. She allowed me to get to know him for myself. After retirement, and during his sickness, he came to Christ. From that point we had a new relationship and closeness. There was much bonding and healing.
I have a gentleman that I call my step-dad. There couldn’t have been any two people more alike than us. He is 83 years-old now. Going to visit him is like a stress reliever. We talk gardens, word meanings, nature, art and just about every other topic out there. He challenges my thinking and is like a continued education every time I am around him.
I usually go to church with him on Father’s Day. Sometimes I slip in the church and surprise him. This year I was Elder of Month for June and needed to be at church to help with a new members class and pick ushers. I chose three fathers and their children in honor of the day.
After lunch I went over to visit my step-dad. He was thrilled as usual to see me. I always get a hug upon arrival and before leaving. We sit and talk and I think about how relaxing it is to be around him and how I treasure those moments. I won’t always have them but I am thankful for all of the people who have had influence on me and that I have felt loved from day one. I just got blessed into the right family and I’m thankful for that.