When a person turns 80 years old, it’s a lot more appropriate to throw a party than give a gift, but we’re going to do both because this octogenarian deserves it.
June Vickery turned 80 Monday, and we’re going to celebrate her life this weekend with a couple dinners and a get-together at the Salem United Methodist Church, where she attended before moving to Columbia.
She served as The Salem News assistant publisher to her late husband, W. Ray Vickery, in the 1990s. She is also Mother to me, Mums to my sister Denise, Momma to my sister Cathy and Grammy to her grandkids. She is Boots to people who knew her in her much younger days, and simply June to most of the rest of the world.
I wondered what you were supposed to do to celebrate an 80th birthday. We talked about a trip abroad, which is her passion, but she nixed that because all of the family would not be able to go. We finally settled in on a birthday party in Salem, and relatives from across America and friends from all over Salem and Missouri will be here to celebrate the 80 years.
I read somewhere that there is no better way to celebrate an 80th birthday than a reunion. We all know my mother has seen a lot of birthdays, and it’s time for a reunion of old friends and new friends, and relatives who have shared a lifetime with her.
Speaking of a lifetime, just how long ago was 1933? Well, Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany, “The Lone Ranger” debuted on radio, the first singing telegram was delivered, “King Kong” starring Fay Wray premiered at Radio City Music Hall in New York, prohibition was repealed and FDR proclaimed, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
FDR’s quote really struck me as I thought about my mother. I can remember so many times when fear struck my mother, my sisters or me, and she came up with just the right words to right the wrong, ease the pain or survive the day. Her strength is immeasurable, her commitment unconditional.
People who know her best describe her as rock solid, the mothering type who would never turn you away or turn your down. My mother is giving of her time and resources, sometimes to a fault, if you ask me. But I wouldn’t have it any other way, especially during all those times I was the one she was helping.
It angers me when she tries to stuff chocolate-chip cookies down my throat when she knows I’m trying to lose weight, but I get over it. I can never repay her for all the great things she’s done for me and family and friends through the years.
My mother has a servant attitude and always has. Jesus said whoever wants to be great among us must be a servant. My mother has that role down pat.
Anyway, we’re going to celebrate this weekend, laugh about the good ole days and tear up about some of those bad ole days.
As she turns 80, my mother will likely reflect on 80 years of life. The goal is for all those in attendance to remind her of what a special life she has led. It didn’t always go the way she wanted, and still doesn’t, but she will tell you quickly it has been a good life, and the people in her life made it that way.