On August 2, we celebrated our mother's 80th birthday. At her party, I read this tribute. Of course, there are lots of personal references here, but I thought you might appreciate it anyway. First, though, you should know that Mother's grandkids call her Gangi pronounced "gan-gee" with two hard G's as in "Gloria" or "Grace." Also, my grandfather, her dad, was a math whiz who could do complex mathematics faster than a calculator. More explanations below. Enjoy!
Gloria Mitchell, Happy birthday to you!
80 years old? That just can’t be true!
(But if her daddy were here he would write an equation
And tell us for sure, “It’s time for celebration!”)
It was 1938 when she came into the world:
The youngest of five, a sweet daddy’s girl.
A giggly youngster, an award-winning speaker,
A signing teenager for her Sunday School Teacher. (1)
She turned 18 and headed to college.
Mercer provided all kinds of knowledge.
Papa spied her on campus, and thought she was cute.
So he took her sign class, and began his pursuit.
Harold had in his hand a Heinz pickle pin; (2)
And when Gloria accepted, it sure tickled him.
In 1960, they went and got married.
Then headed up north to get seminaried.
Dawn and Aileen, and their baby brother
Made Papa a daddy and Gangi a mother.
They ministered together, preacher and wife,
Dealing with deacons, and other church strife.
Gangi handled it all, and managed the stresses;
But she wore pants to church, forget fancy dresses. (3)
In each of their churches, each town where they roamed,
Gangi converted each house to a home.
Wherever we were, she worked her home magic . . .
Even at Crescent, where Hal’s lizards went spastic. (4)
She held lots of jobs, she filed lots of folders; (5)
But best job of all? A Romanian head-holder. (6)
Actually, the job she does as our parent?
That is the one where she is truly inerrant.
Our birthday parties were best of the best.
And our Easter Egg hunts? They topped all the rest.
She handmade our clothes, on her Singer machine,
Like the best cowboy suit that you’ve ever seen.
She made Easter dresses with purses to match them,
And suits for her pastor to go to work in.
Plus, that isn’t all, our friends also choose her
(Until they play games and end up the losers)!
Once we were five, then each said I do:
Jay, Mike, and Kim, and soon grandkids too.
We were up to 16 by 2004,
And just this year, we added one more.
“You text us all daily, with Bitmoji flair
And we know every morning you lift us in prayer.
So, despite how it looks to everyone here,
It truly is your 80th year.
We try (but we can’t) to name all the lessons;
We cannot even start to count all the blessings . . .
Of having you as mother, aunt, friend, and wife.
We celebrate you and your wonderful life.”
We surprised our parents with a combined 80th birthday/anniversary gift. (They were married on August 14, 1960.) They've dreamed of taking a train trip through the Canadian Rockies. We set up this fundraiser to help them make that dream a reality. While private donations have essentially doubled the amount you see online, we still have a ways to go. Would you like to help us make their dream come true? Every amount counts--single digit donations add up fast! Here's the link: https://goo.gl/ESDQ5A.
Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.