My beautiful mom was raised on a farm in Pound, Va. When she met my dad in the early 1920s, she was the chief cook for my grandfather Daniel Short’s boarding house for coal miners on Main Street in Jenkins.
My mom and dad were married and I was born Nov. 24, 1928. My grandfather had been a captain in the Civil War, serving in Virginia.
Mom and Dad had three sons. We would move to a 100-acre farm at the head of Cane Branch. I would go to Burdine School for eight years, walking the four miles round trip each day. I never missed a day or was late for school.
When I started high school in Jenkins, I left with other young boys during Christmas break and joined the old Army Air Corps in 1945. After basic training, I would be flying on a B-17 bomber as a trainee radio operator.
I reenlisted at Langley Field in Virginia as a crew chief on air, sea, rescue planes in 1947.
In 1948 I was on job training (OJT) for the printing career field. Every time I went home on leave it seemed like my mom would have the same clothes on with an apron over them.
This one time I was home for a few days I asked my mom to take a ride with me. Mom did not go out much with all the work she had on the farm.
I took her to this nice clothing store in Neon, and asked the lady there to try a couple outfits on my mom. My mom did not want me spending money on her. When she came out from the back room she looked so nice in her new outfits.
When she found I would be home for a visit she would be sitting on the porch looking so pretty, and without the apron on.
Much later when my mom was in the home in Whitesburg for old people and I was home to visit with her, my half-sister and brother told me Mom would not know me.
When I walked into the home in Whitesburg, a lady was combing my mom’s hair that was down to her waist. She always had pretty hair.
I asked her if she knew me, and my mom said, “You are the pretty one. Come here and give your mom a hug and a kiss.”
I told my mom that I was there to take her back to California with me. With tears in her eyes she told me that she would never leave the mountains of Kentucky.
I would soon leave, knowing that I may never see her again.
My mom taught me a lot about being a good person. She loved my kids like they were her own. It broke her heart when my family and I would leave for the many assignments to another part of the world and she would not see us for some time.
My mom was the greatest person I ever knew, and I miss her so very much. I only wish I had spent more time with her.
I want to say to the folks in my part of Kentucky that on all those jobs I had in other parts of the world, I still missed those beautiful mountains, as I still do every day of my life.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)