I had the mother of all mothers.
She was made of curiosity, passion, boundless energy and love.
She had been a sculptor, a painter, she made the wooden crib that her children were nestled into when they were born, the little wooden chair we sat in, the monogrammed hammered silver box on her dresser. She made her clothes and most of ours. She even made my father's bow ties. She made me several winter coats from upholstery fabric. She knit our sweaters and hats.
She gardened, rode horses, leapt into a jack knife from the high dive, went skinny dipping, mountain climbing, berry picking, skiing, skating, sailing and fishing. She could fillet and skin a perch or “pull down the pajamas of a frog for frog legs in seconds.
Then, boy, could she dress up! She could waltz, French braid, debate with dignitaries and commune with the hopeless.
My mother went to nursery training school to become an educator. Who knows if she needed to because she was a born teacher, she could not help herself.
I discovered at my mother's funeral that she had taught her younger brother, who was playing college football at the time, how to punt!
I was truly one of the lucky ones. She had six children, but her capacity for love extended beyond us to generations of children and adults to whom she taught endless riding lessons. Thrown in for free were pearls of wisdom on country life, cleaning stalls, manners, diction, posture and nutrition.
She was using the words "empty calories" and preaching on the evils of sugar and unnatural ingredients while conjuring solutions for over population and pollution in the 1950's.
She woke early, her flashing teeth smiling broadly, ready to take huge appreciative bites out of the day. She was the carpe of any diem.
She adored us and she adored her husband.
She was a cheerleader of life, a gardener of good, happiest on the back of a horse until the age of 86.
In her last years, despite severe pain, she never lost her faith, her bravery or her hopes for this world that she found so utterly marvelous!