Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pep Talk: "Get On Your Horse And Ride!"

“Hey this is pretty cool,” was an initial thought and comment to a revelation. Speaking at the very same time you’re thinking can be a dangerous occupation. It can lead to totally dumb statements. Been there many times. However, I don’t think that was the case during a recent Friday morning phone call with Patsy Sue Perry, my mother. I offered, “It’s the Alpha and the Omega.”

The feisty 79-year-old agreed. I love our weekly early morning chats that occur while I’m driving to Platoon. Mom and son have lively debates about many topics. We often take different stances when discussing pertinent issues. Not this time. Nope. While I was driving to meet up with a bunch of knuckleheads and challenge one another to grow stronger in spirit we were united. With contentment oozing from the voice tone, Patsy Sue muttered, “I can’t wait to go home.”

We were discussing a pending move to St. Joseph, Missouri. Located about 60 miles north of Kansas City. The city sits right along the rolling waters of the MIssouri River as it winds southward toward a connection with the Kansas River.  At that confluence, the “Big Muddy” makes a sharp 90-degree turn and heads east toward St. Louis and a meeting with the Mississippi River.

Growing up, your sports-crazy scribe spent a ton of time in St. Joe. My parents were each from the “Home of the Pony Express.” There’s a majestic statue downtown that tells the history of the infamous mail-carrying system that had dudes galloping horses through hostile territory from the Heartland, over the Rockies and to the West Coast in the late 1800’s. Brave men. Mom and dad grew up there and had many family members still living there. I spent lots of my childhood there playing with cousins and hanging out with uncles, aunts and grandparents. Good memories.

Now in the twilight of her interesting journey, the woman who gave me life is going back home to an active and vibrant community where she lived before moving to the Kansas City-area about five years ago. In fact, the mother of four is moving back into the very same high-rise community. Five years later, updated nicely and still populated with many of Patsy Sue’s buddies. It’s like the prodigal daughter is returning. When we walk into the place - right across the street from the Pony Express statue - mom’s greeted like a rock star.

Within easy walking distance are trappings desired in the golden years: a senior citizen’s center, medical facility, library, restaurants, bars, schools, post office and other important services I’m forgetting while writing. Oh, and there’s a couple of more powerful pulls to Patsy Sue heading back home: the nearby two houses where she grew up.

On a recent drive around the St. Joe neighborhood smack dab in its downtown area, we drove past each dwelling. I felt like the Morgan Freeman in “Driving Miss Daisy.” It was a sleepy Saturday morning in a town hard hit by the changing economics of America. Key industries long ago departed. The downtown streets were quiet. I would pull up in front of the house and mom would start sharing memories. It was moving.
So mom’s going home to where it all began. It’s the “Alpha and Omega” mentioned earlier that inspired this Pep Talk. Returning to roots with a cadre of services nearby, friends at beckon call and a spirit that seems to be upbeat about the possibilities. She’s excited about the future, rarely a bad thing for any of us, right?

But it takes guts. Moving at any age is a pain in the butt. Mom’s doing it again. A new frontier on an old and familiar spot. Heart warming. The mother who always kept my youth-league uniforms clean and organized is putting fear aside and allowing wonderment to win. There’s a clear vision of the future. It is promising.

I hope and pray it becomes everything she desires. What’s your vision of the future? Is it clear? Promising? I sure hope so. If not, dare to dream of something different and take immediate action. Be like the brave mail carriers depicted in the impressive statue in downtown St. Joseph, Missouri. Or, be like my mom. Get on your horse and ride!

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