My Mother was born on November 18, 1928. She was named Winnifred Denise Shannon. She was called Denise, Rusty or “He” all her life.
Her Mother was Ruth Parker Shannon who was born in 1909 in Hooker Oklahoma.
My Mother was raised by her Mother and her Grandparents: James Ace Parker and Virgie Myrtle Pittman Parker. They lived on my Great Grandparents farm near Red Springs, Texas. Mother called it the Sand Hills.
Mother was a beautiful child and grew into a beautiful woman. She grew up carrying a heavy burden that was not even hers. Because of that, she determined that she would be a great Mother and she lived up to that determination.
She met and fell in love with a tall, dark, handsome young man named Bob Morrison down in those Sand Hills. He hailed from Saint Jo, Texas but migrated to Red Springs, Texas with some of his relatives to pick boles (cotton) one fine Fall.
Mother was almost 12 years old and Daddy was five years older. They had their first date during the first Fall, shortly after she turned 12. Bob came back several more Falls to pick boles, or was it to court Denise? This went on for almost four years. When Denise was 15 and 1/2, Bob convinced her to marry him. He was already on his was to serve during World War II. They married in September 1943, just two months before she turned 16. Daddy spent the next three years in Germany, France, and Italy. Mother said more than once, when he came home he was a different man than she had married. Daddy returned to Mother. The war was over but the battle still raged in her husband.
By February of 1947 they had added a beautiful baby girl to their small family. My sister Sharron was born of the 5th of February. She was dark haired and brown eyed. Three years later another baby girl was born into the family. Mother said she always wanted a bald-headed baby. Guess what? She got it and it was me. I stayed like that until I was well over two years old. She said I looked like an old, toothless, bald man. That cured her desire for a bald-headed baby.
Three years later we finally got our baby boy. Bobby Earl was born on March 16, 1953. His birth is the first memory I have. I remember being so happy when he was born. I thought he came along just for me. He was always so special to me.
He was ornery and beautiful at the same time. The picture below depicts his orneriness. We were all cleaned up waiting on our Grandmother-Mama Ruth and Great-grandparents-Pawpaw and Mawmaw, to come see us. In the meantime, Bobby found a mud puddle to ride his trike through. That’s the way he rolled.
We were not a family of picture-takers. This is a rare one of our family. Mother’s brother and his family were there, so I guess we got the old Brownie camera out.
This is one of the last pictures I have of Bobby.
He was in a car accident and paralyzed
from the neck down when he was just 21.
He lived 13 months and died at the age of 22 years.
That is a story for another time.
Mother and Daddy and their grand children. Missy being the oldest grandchild got to name the grandparents. She chose Bob for Bob and He for Denise. Thus they became known as Bob and He to everyone who knew them.
Sharron has three kids and I have one. Sharron has several grandkids and I have zero. She has three great-grandkids. I have zero.
Back to my beautiful Mother.
This is one of my favorite pictures of my Mother. It was taken three years before she passed from this life. She loved birds and the Spring Time. One of her favorite hymns was I’ll Fly Away. She did fly away on April 7, 2007.
What was so ironic about that date; it was my Dad’s earthly birthdate. He passed from this life on April 27, 1992.
Mother lived a simple life. If she was guilty of anything it had to be that she loved too much. She loved her children and family deeply until her last day. She got to see all of them before she passed.
She taught me so much about God and life. She taught me to cook, sew and clean. She taught me how to worry about the ones I love. (Not always a good thing). I am more like her in a lot of ways than I want to be sometimes.
She taught me so much about dying too. The doctor told her that there was nothing else he could do for her but she could go to Hospice if she would like. My heart stopped beating and I could not breathe, as I turned to look at her, dreading to see the look on her face. Remember, she taught me to worry. It seemed like I was moving in slow motion. As I looked her squarely in the face, she had the most peaceful look I had ever seen on her face. She actually glowed. Her blue eyes sparkled and she had the sweetest-slight smile on her face. She said, “I am ready.”
Never in my life have I seen anyone so ready to die. From that moment on she could hardly keep from smiling. She was so tender and kind to everyone she came in contact with. Even when the pain was so intense that it brought tears to her eyes. That was a Tuesday and she left this world four days later, on a snowy Saturday around noon. She had just seen all of her loved ones and she was ready to take her leave by flying away.
As we mark the 10th anniversary of her death, I will never get over her not being here. I am forever thankful that God made her and she became my Mother.
Psalm 139:13-16 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my Mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.
I feel her is the Springtime when the grass turns green and the birds are back in full force. She loved the Spring because she was a child of the outdoors and nature. She grew up in those Sand Hills and she knew every inch of them.
I feel her when I hear her voice inside my head. I feel her when I think of how much she loved her family.
Sometimes I even hear her voice come out of my mouth. I know because Tommy tells me that sounded like Denise Morrison. I own it, I am my Mother’s daughter, good or bad. Mostly good.
I would like to have one more hug, one more birthday song on the phone from her, I would like to have one more loving me so deeply that it hurts from her. There are so many one mores I would love to have from her. But, I could never ask her to come back to this world for anything. She is so much better off than we are.
My Mother You will Always Be
I will love you forever,
I will love your always,
Always my Mother you will be.
Thank you, Mother, for all of the love and everything you did for me and taught me.