By Chuck Woodbury
I lost my mother 13 years ago. It seems like yesterday. I think of her nearly every day. I miss her terribly.
She was a happy, happy person. That was her nature. My father was more serious. When she was around him, she was quieter. But without him, she was full of it: She reminded me of a college girl — so youthful in spirit.
I tell the story sometimes about driving her from Northern California after my father died to live with me in Seattle. That turned out to be only five months before her own death (those months by her side ended up being the most rewarding, happiest time of my life).
She was in the passenger seat. She loved being on the road. Her father and mother took her and her brother on a trip on Route 66 in the early 1930s from Southern California to Chicago. Maybe that’s where she fell in love with road trips. She and my father owned RVs for most of their married life and traveled often with them.
As we passed through Oregon, she spotted a huge barn in a farm field off the east side of Interstate 5. In huge letters — they must have been at least 12 feet tall — spread from the front of the slanted roof to the back, was the single word ANTIQUE.
I observed her as we passed. I had noticed the barn myself. I saw the gears in her head spinning. “I guess they only have one antique,” she said.
That was my Ruthie — always finding something to say that just came out funny. I know I got my sense of wanderlust from her and my often sarcastic sense of humor, too.
I miss her now so much. If your mother is still living, call her. Visit her. Tell her how much you love her. She won’t always be there. I wish I could have my Ruthie back for even one day. I have so many questions for her that I put off asking when she was alive. And I want to give her a big hug and a big kiss and tell her how much I love her and how much I appreciate everything she did for me, from changing my diapers to being my biggest fan when I grew up and became a writer.
Happy Mother’s Day, Ruthe Elizabeth Woodbury, wherever you may be.