Trudy Paschal dropped by the other day to place a memorial advertisement for her dad, who passed away a year ago.
We're not related, though our families are both from the Winfield area and I tell everyone we're cousins. While in the office, she reminded me that she used to work with my mom, and how hard it was losing her own mother.
My mom died during surgery that was supposed to fix bleeding on her brain nearly seven years ago, and every Mother's Day since has been tough. We celebrate with my children's mother, and with her mother, but all of us whose mothers are no longer with us still have a tough time.
Little things help, like the sunny memory of Mom from Trudy - a fellow health-care worker about whom my mother often spoke. A very kind note from Tonya Nettles was also a real boost.
Though she sent the note two years ago, I still keep it on top of my desk. Mrs. Nettles, who lives in Martinez, lost her mom five years before mine. But while both were still around, Mrs. Nettles' mother and father were patients of Dr. Barry Tarpley in Augusta.
My mom was a nursing assistant for Dr. Tarpley, and loved her job. The feeling from her patients clearly was mutual; I've been amazed at the number of people I run into who still remember her fondly.
Mrs. Nettles is one of those people, and after meeting me at the county's 4-H awards banquet in 2005, she sent a very kind note about Mom.
"I wanted to tell you how much your mother, Janie, meant to me and my family," she wrote. "She treated my parents as close friends rather than patients. She was always cheerful and encouraging.
"She was truly an angel on earth and I know she is with God," Mrs. Nettles concluded.
Moms are always glad to hear nice reports about their children. But I suppose it goes both ways: Children can never hear too many nice things about their mothers.
And for all the children whose mothers are still with them, please be sure to treat them nicely today. The memories of tomorrow will be much better for it.
A summer runoff?
So, who made the most points at Thursday's stump meeting in Grovetown?
It's hard to tell. After the rear end gets numb from sitting on folding chairs while listening to a steady parade of candidates who all believe they are better than everyone else, the brain starts to wander. And the candidates all start to sound like the adults from the "Peanuts" cartoons on TV: "Bwah bwah bwah bwah...."
The election is June 19, the result of a domino effect that has brought all these candidates to the table. When Charlie Norwood died, that set up a special election for the 10th District of the U.S. House. Then, when Jim Whitehead resigned to run for Norwood's seat, that created the need for an election for his 24th District seat.
Then 10 people signed up to run for the 10th District; five people signed up to run for the 24th. (In a bizarre twist, one of them, Barbara McLendon, an Elberton Democrat, withdrew from the race on Thursday - after realizing she lived in the wrong district!)
Though the odds-on favorites in each race are Whitehead in the 10th, and former state Rep. Bill Jackson in the 24th, sheer numbers almost guarantee runoffs.
The timing almost guarantees abysmal turnout, too. While the number of candidates and multiple races should help with turnout on June 19, a runoff would be held almost a month later, on July 17 - right in the middle of summer vacation season.
One reminder: Anyone who wants to vote in that first election, on June 19, must be registered no later than May 21 - a week from Monday.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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