Flag Day

In 1975 we were about to celebrate Flag Day with my mother. I was nine months pregnant. I tried to tell her not to travel to Lexington as the Doctor said I was not going to deliver anytime soon. She drove down from Cincinnati anyway. When she arrived, she wanted to go shopping and had me drive her car. I remember just barely fitting behind the wheel of her used Plymouth. (No adjustable steering wheels back then!)

As we traveled around the Lexington “Circle Freeway” to our destination she sang me a hymn she had recently heard. The title was “How Great Thou Art.”

Mom had brought food in a Styrofoam cooler. After we put the items in the refrigerator, we rinsed the cooler and placed it on our tiny apartment porch to dry. She arrived Friday night and we stayed up late watching Johnny Carson. He hosted Seals and Croft and they sang “We May Never Pass This Way Again.” I went to bed exhausted. Bob and Mom finished the show. Bob helped her pull out the sofa bed and made certain she had everything she needed.

Saturday there was a Flag Day parade in town. We had decided to attend. Here is a link reminding us of what Flag Day stands for https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/flag-day

Saturday dawned bright, but there was a breeze kicking up outside. Mom was not awake yet, but I decided to tiptoe through the living room to the porch and bring her cooler in before it blew away. As I passed the bed, I knew.

Stunned, I realized she was not breathing. I captured the cooler and walked through again. Certainty about crushed me. I woke Bob and made him go check her. By that time he had been working in a hospital for quite a while and had sometimes gone into a room in early morning to draw blood only to realize the patient had passed.

The rest of the day is a blur. The biggest shock of my life so far. It was years before I could hear “How Great Thou Art” without bursting into tears.

She never met my children. We will never celebrate things on earth again together. Though we had our problems, I do believe I will know her again in heaven, where she is singing How Great Thou Art among the many other hymns that she taught me.

4 thoughts on “Flag Day

  1. “How Great Thou Art” was one of my parents’ favorite hymns, along with “His Eye is on the Sparrow.” I think of them whenever I hear or sing those hymns. It is amazing how music has a way of transporting us back to the past, if only for a few moments.


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