Our family lived in poverty while my dad got his doctorate. One day my mom went to the neighbors to sell them a 1¢ stamp so one of us kids would have enough money for milk at school! (I try never to pass up a penny on the street any more, in honor of the untold sacrifices Mom made.) Nevertheless, I recall a blissfully happy childhood of family camping and car trips to places like Alaska (yes, driving!) We got to experience not only adventure, but witness the everyday battles and thrills of living for the greater purpose that were my parent's lives!
I was astonished later in life to hear the story of her engagement to my dad. When he popped the question she said "Yes, under one condition: that you never make me speak in public!" She of course overcame that fear, but never lost it. At 80 when she was going in for heart surgery my sister asked her if she was scared. "Oh goodness no," she replied, "This isn't half as scary as speaking in public!"
But since this collection is about me, enough about Mom! Let me tell you about my first act of heroism. Somehow by the time my folks were having kids, my dad'd recognized Mom's talents and had talked Mom into finally preaching for him on Mother's Day in 1955. My great rescue came early that morning when I was born, saving her from her moment in the pulpit!
One of the most moving moments at Mom's funeral was when her dear friend and ex-Speaker of the House Hal Harper simply read the titles of some of the legislation she introduced during 10 years as a pioneering woman in the legislature. The breadth of her compassion brought me to tears. Even to her last day she still wrote intelligent hard-hitting editorials for local newspapers. And she never quit working tirelessly to make the world a kinder and gentler place.