Of Mother and Country and Things to  Come

By Steve Cooper


I loved my mother dearly and alway thought she was the smartest and most beautiful lady around, because she was. My mother had grown up fast, leaving her home at eleven to escape an evil step-father, who was one of the heads of the KKK.  His thoughts on good family discipline involved chaining a young step-son out on the front porch like a dog,


My mom and her younger sister and brothers were abandoned, so she packed them up and found a job as a taxi dispatcher, living in a rat infested upper room above the taxi garage..


Older brothers took in her younger family members, but my mom decided to make her way to California from Missouri, She took a Greyhound bus here and landed work, plucking chickens and serving tables.  She was very tough, but not the hard kind of tough. She understood kindness, from the lack of it, I guess, and gave it out freely.


My mother had picked up smoking at ten or so and never got around to kicking the habit. As a child I saw a piece of lung preserved from a smoker at a health exhibit.  I was shocked and began to beg my mother to quit smoking.


When i was about ten, I poured out my concerns to her.  I told her that she could smoke now and nothing bad would happen to her because she was young. But i said, "Some day you are going to be older and if you don't quit smoking now, when you are older you will be in a hospital bed dieing,


I added that  my sister and i would be grown up by then and have kids and that we will all be gathered around her, but it would be too late.  I told my mom, "You will want to live, but you won't be able to; explaining that my grandmother and grandfather were old, but they still want to live, I pleaded, "Just quit smoking now and none of this will happen to you."

Years later, as my sister and I, along with our grown children, gathered around my mother's hospital bed, this talk with my mother as a child haunted me repeatedly.


Once during the weekly hospital staff meetings at the Roseville hospital, a staff member asked me a question. Actually, it just sort of leaped out before she could stop it, She said,"Why does your mom fight so hard to stay alive?  I have never seen anyone like her before."  All of the other staff members quickly looked up in unison. She had asked the one question that they all longed to ask."


The doctors had told us that my mother's heart and vascular system was like a teenager. Her mind was sharp until the end, adding up numbers in her head and giving the answer before the nurses could work it out on paper. But her lungs were gone.  So far gone that nobody understood how she stayed alive. Despite this, after a year in the hospital she was able  to come home for a few weeks before she was able to fight no more,


I am telling you this,not because i get joy from making you  sad, but rather I am warning you just as I warned my mother. This warning is about something of much greater evil and greater destruction. Years ago i began volunteer teaching in some local elementary schools. My children were young and I wanted them to get the science they needed.  i was asked by the district to take my new method of science teaching to other schools in the area. This was when Reagan was still president.


What i saw in the children was a very disturbing world view.  A mindset had taken hold that was not going to be able to sustain freedom.  They had garnered this world view from the depravity of Hollywood and even from the school system. I began telling people, in churches that unless we work to restore the hearts and minds of that generation, they were going to grow up and vote for a charismatic communist for president.


You see, reality is not kind. It has strong jaws and large pointed fangs.  No matter how many good traits we have as a nation, some things will destroy us.  If we don't stand against these things, we will find out how unkind reality can get.  The truth is, America is heading for nightmares my mother never knew.


I surely sounded like a nut back when Reagan was president and there I was talking about the demise of America. I knew I sounded insane, but i also knew I was right, Not long ago I ran into a man who had heard me talk at a Christian event.  He said, "It looks like you were right, we need to have you come back and speak again."  But the time for simply speaking is long past. We must now act quickly.




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