Mom has an encounter in the grocery store.
She is stocking up on a certain brand of frozen meals. Apparently, there are two brands on sale. She chooses the pricier brand because the quality is a little better. Behind her is an aged man who is also buying frozen meals, though it is the less expensive brand.
He inquires as to why she prefers her brand of frozen dinners.
"I need to buy the cheaper kind, because I'm on a fixed income," the man responds.
That's all Mom needs to hear. She whispers to the cashier, "Can you put his bill on my credit card?"
Mom hangs around waiting for the transaction to complete. His grocery bill comes to $75 and when the man realizes he's just had a "pay it forward" moment from the stranger ahead, he is grateful, grateful, grateful.
From this one encounter, Mom becomes a benefactor to people in need, and she decides she will be a patron of military personnel.
Whether we are in Target, or leaving a restaurant, if Mom sees a man or woman in a military uniform, she sneaks off. I'm left to wonder, where's Mom? I see her from the corner of my eye. She's leaning forward, sneaking in as if she were a panther sizing up the prey. She always puts her arm around the recipient, and though I can barely hear, she says something like, "I want you to know how much I appreciate your service to our country." She hands them some American currency of varying amounts. I too have no warning of this almost 80 year old woman with good intentions. I watch from a distance, and unaware of my presence, I see the surprise, the we-don't-know-quite-what-to-think of this little old woman with the big hair. They laugh, they smile, they look uncomfortable, but who could turn down Mom?
I tear up watching her do it. Every single time. She's so vulnerable serving the people whom she perceives as vulnerable.
I am reading a book called Motherwit, the story of Onnie Lee Logan, an Alabama midwife. She follows in the footsteps of her mother's midwifery practice, and most everything she learned came from working at her mother's side. After her mother's death and when Onnie has her own practice, she writes about the families she serves, "Whatever they needed and what ever had to be done I did it. I could just see Mother in me doin those kinda things. I could just see Mother all over and I still can see her. When I get to doin somethin that's constructive like that for somebody else that's what Mother would've done herself. That's what she wanted me to do."
I see myself acting in my mother's footsteps; by the power of a mother's example, I am destined to one day become that little old sneaky lady passing on my mother's legacy, handing out money to the service men and women of our country.