John Stegeman, Sports Editor
May 11, 2013
This one is for Mom.
As I was growing up, down on the farm, my dad was a trucker and gone through the week. My mom didn’t drive so we spent a lot of time together on the farm.
Mom stood about five feet tall and wouldn’t go a hundred pounds, but she always had the bluff on me. I’m happy to say that I don’t remember ever having an argument or cross word with her.
She was very easy for anyone to get along with and she had great work ethics. Like I said, we spent a lot of time down on the farm.
When I was old enough to be out hitchhiking wherever I thought I just had to go, mom wanted me in by midnight. The doors were locked after that time and I slept in the barn.
Before that, as a kid, it was, “Go get your switch off the willow tree.” Don’t you just hate to pick your own punishment? Today’s kids would think of it as mental cruelty.
One of my biggest regrets about these articles is that mom isn’t reading them. My mom was one of nine kids in a family trying to make it through The Depression.
She had to quit school in the sixth grade to do housework and help support the family. My dad quit school in the sixth grade to follow a mule and a slip scraper in grandpa’s excavating business to help support their family with nine kids.
When it came to my education, there was never the choice of quitting. My parents never told me where I was going to college, but they were determined that I was going somewhere to school.
They made sure that I had the opportunity that life they were denied. Any school that I ever attended got my best effort and that was because I couldn’t stand the thought of failing the school and the two people who saw to it that I got there. This was a very deep-seeded motivation for me.
My mom always said, “Get your education. They can’t take that away from you.” This seems simple enough, but the more you know about mom, the more you know that she’s talking about you and her because they did take it away from her.
I’m very happy to say that mom worked at getting her G.E.D. after she raised her kids. By then, I could realize and appreciate how much education and denied education meant to her. I certainly tried my best to tell her how proud I was of her going back to school and how appreciative I was of her determination to give me educational opportunity and motivation.
If mom were here today, I really believe that as she read the articles she could take pride in them thinking that that time spent sleeping in the barn or looking for the switch paid off and gave me time to think about what her little Dennis the Menace wanted to be when he grew up.
This is not to suggest that I’ll ever grow up, but mom would see it as a step in the right direction. I’m just sayin’, “Dear mom, thanks for the memories.”
Dudley Wooten can be reached at 740-820-8210 or by visiting wootenslandscaping.com.