My 93 year-old mother, the grown up farm girl, came this weekend for my daughter's wedding. She traveled with my sister from Minnesota to Utah and stayed at our home for three days. Sunday she came to church with me and caused a minor stir among several of the people who had read Farm Girl. They fell in love with her, murmuring things like, "I can't believe she's 93! Her mind is so sharp." "What an honor to meet your mom. She is adorable!"
"I loved Farm Girl! And here she is!" "If only she could stay longer and talk to us about the book and answer all our questions."
Truly I feel blessed to still have my mom around and active mentally and physically. She lives alone in an independent living center and drives her eighty-year-old neighbors to their doctor's appointments.
Since she went back home, I've been thinking "if only." I've thought about the enthusiastic reactions that came from those who met her Sunday, and how they took to her right off. I'm used to people taking to my mom. She has a way about her that attracts people. I've thought about the tour we took in Nebraska two years ago. As hard as it was traveling at her age, she enjoyed it immensely.
"If only" we could figure out a way and means to travel again and let people meet her-- this elderly white-haired lady with a quick mind who amazes everyone. "If only" people could meet her, hear her speak and reminisce about those farm girl days, and feel inspired to write their own stories or those of their parents and grandparents. "If only" we could travel the world carrying the message of Farm Girl-- that ordinary people often have the best stories.
As my mother wrote in her forward:
"After all, history is just the story of people's lives. To me my life has been very ordinary and typical of others in our community of that era. It is rather humbling to think that anyone other than family would find much interest in my experiences. Nevertheless, I am thankful to Karen for believing that these memories are worth saving."
"If only" we could turn back the clock and give her the vigor she had at 73, then my mom and me would tour the world and share the story of Farm Girl. That would be so fun.