She was a singer...and she was always singing.
I remember she told me that she took voice lessons as a teen. I guess my Grandmother, or someone in her life, must've known (or been told) there was a potential for more, or she wouldn't have even thought about voice lessons for her. There wasn't much extra money in my Mom's house growing up. I don't know what her voice sounded like before, but she had the voice of an angel. Truly, she did.
Side note: there was a picture of a very young Betty (my Mom)...and a very young Skip (my Dad)...standing out in front of a little cabin. Now, I never knew my Mom to be much of a "cabin" person. She was more of an Embassy Suites person, if you get my drift. (wink!) I asked my Dad where they were...you know, in the picture. He said, "I don't know."
Unfortunately, this is the answer I typically get from my Dad whenever I ask him about pictures or people or memories. My Mom was definitely the detail person.
Granted my Dad moved all of his life. He was the son of an Air Force Colonel, and grew up all around the world. And then he went into the Air Force for his career, and we moved a lot. But this picture was before all of that. Before the Air Force. Before kids.
He had no clue where it was.
I kind of forgot about it, but days later my Dad brought it up. He said, "I've been thinking about that picture...wondering where it was...and I think it might've been taken on our HONEYMOON."
Glad it was so memorable for ya, DAD.
He said that they stayed in a little cabin at Niagara Falls...and that, yes, they had a great time. (TMI)
ANYway, in the box my Dad gave me, there were lots of "pageant" pictures of my Mom. As a teen, my Mom was in a lot of pageants. She was really pretty...or, I thought she was...but I'm guessing that her sense of style and poise, her confidence...and her beautiful VOICE is what won her all of her awards.
I believe that things worked out the way they were supposed to...but I can't help but imagine if she'd had more opportunities as a young girl...with her voice and talent...where would it have taken her? Would she have chosen a life as a wife and mom? I don't know. We'll never know.
My Mom sang in church...in every church we went to, and we moved 16 times before I graduated from high school...so just sayin'. She sang in choir, in ensembles, and by herself. She sang for SBC meetings, and for luncheons and banquets and conferences. She even led music at one of the churches we attended back when I was a girl (Well, I'm still a girl, but you know what I mean). For a while, she was a member of a group called the "Sweet Adelines." Ever heard of them? She loved it, but it just got to be too much travel and practice times with the little free time she had, so she resigned. And, in the last years of her life, she had formed a women's ensemble group called, "Rhapsody" and they sang all over the place at different churches for women's conferences and revivals and things like that.
My Mom always had a stack of music she was working on. She had an old cassette player that she carried around with her...at her work, in the kitchen, in the bathroom. She loved to sing, and she was good at it...and she was never, ever going to show up unprepared.
As long as I can remember, my Mom was singing. She sang, she hummed, she sang some more. I remember her telling me one time that her humming kind of got on my Dad's nerves.
I don't get this at all.
My Mom's voice was beautiful. I could see it being annoying if she was a howler like me. Which, speaking of, on our last road trip, Jim did ask me...after just the first 10 minutes, "where is your OFF BUTTON?"
Because, on one a road trip a couple of years ago...I sang for the first few hours. I didn't even realize it at first, because I know all the words to all the songs on K-LOVE. And the ones I don't know...I'll kind of make up words that sound JUST AS GOOD. Jim changed the station to country...and then to 70's music...I still sang along. Finally, in an attempt at some peace...he changed it to talk radio.
And, I wasn't bellowing or being obnoxious. Or intentionally being obnoxious. But even my Logan leaned up from the back-seat and said, "Mom, I don't mean this in a bad way, but I'll be happy to drive if you'll just please be quiet."
I am thankful my Mom, as part of her legacy, instilled a love for music in my heart. I mean, when you have a song in your heart, it kind of makes you happy. Or maybe that's just me.
You know, that whole "exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't shoot their husbands...they just don't." (name that movie).
So many songs...I can hear her singing them. When our choir busts out an "older" song, my eyes well up with tears, because I can just hear my Mom's voice.
I know she is singing in Heaven. We joke that she was probably the one who organized the choir...who probably asked for different color robes, because "white is not in my color wheel."
I bet she thought they had all been waiting for her to get there.
My Mom is buried in a military cemetery...because she is the wife of a veteran. When my Dad dies, he will be buried right beside her. We were limited in the number of "characters" or letters we could put on her headstone. We thought of several different things, but finally settled on this verse, because it suited her life so well:
"I will sing to the LORD as long as I live." Psalm 104:33