When my sainted Mother was on her deathbed in 1959, she made my late Father commit to one promise – that he would keep their five boys, ages 5-13 at that time, together as a family.
Thanks to a visionary Mother and a faithful Father, we did stick together.
I was that 5-year-old back in 1959.
After her passing, we moved back to Tulsa from her native West Virginia and moved in with my paternal grandparents.
They were in their seventies and deserved a quiet retirement season. They didn’t get it, thanks to my and my rambunctious brothers.
My Grandmother was a saint and she was just what my brothers and I needed at just the right time. After a bad experience with a church in West Virginia, my Dad held some hard feelings. But Grandma insisted that the boys go to church every Sunday and we did go to Tulsa Bible Church, a block from our house (near McClure Park in East Tulsa).
Thanks to Grandma, all five of us made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and were baptized.
But she also instilled in me a respect for Native Americans and for poor people. We lived in a small house in a low-to-moderate income neighborhood that back then was filled with young families and lots of kids.
I only had about three years with my dear, sweet Grandma before she joined my Mother in Heaven. Grandpa was gone, too.
We were a handful for my Dad. God, in His wisdom and provision, put us in a church family that truly loved us and cared for us in a way that met our specific needs. The late Pastor Bob Kelso and his wife sent us meals, bought us winter coats and taught us the Bible. The late Rev. Willard and Ruth Heck brought us to New Life Ranch, where we grew in all aspects of life.
There are too many Godly women from wonderful families for me to mention by name. They will get their rewards someday when we stand before God the Father.
I have the best mother-in-law in the world.
Martha Campbell is one of the most giving and unselfish ladies that I have ever known.
I have friends who have various levels of friction and strife with their in-laws but that has never been the case with Martha.
She sends a birthday card – with a generous check – to me, my wife and my kids, like clockwork. The same goes for Christmas.
Who does that anymore?
When Susan travels to Florida to visit, Martha always takes her shopping and buys her nice stuff. George and Martha gave my son a car (with only 20,000 miles on it) when George suffered a stroke and could no longer drive.
When our family visits, Martha cooks wonderful dinners (her prime rib is out of this world) or she pays for us to go to nice restaurants.
Our kids are grown and she hosts them, which is a real treat since they live in Orlando, Florida.
When George and Martha retired, instead of buying a motor home and enjoying leisure, they moved from North Carolina to Orlando to care for Martha’s Mother.
When Martha’s aunt and uncle, who had no children, needed care, she moved them from Nashville to Orlando and cared for them. They needed “high maintenance” and it prevented George and Martha from traveling much.
God could not have given my family any better examples of unselfishness.
Perhaps the best example of a Godly mother is my wife Susan.
For seven years, every Friday night, we packed the kids in the car and drove to Claremore to visit my Father, who was in the Veterans Center. His physical needs were such that we couldn’t care for him in our home.
Susan is the reason that our family is normal. She supervised the kids’ education, their diet, their wardrobes, their social activities, their health care and their spiritual development.
She worked so hard to make a good life for those kids and me that she would stay up late at night to get work done so she could devote more time to her children during the day.
When we started the Tulsa Beacon, she added 10 hours a day of work to her cooking (she is a great cook), transportation duties, laundry, tutoring, housekeeping and all of her duties as office manager of our newspaper.
For years, she cooked dinner on Wednesday nights for more than 100 people at our previous church.
Even as our children are grown, Susan looks for every opportunity to help them through the rigors of life and to grow in their spiritual walks.
Read Proverbs 31 if you want a clear picture of the kind of mothers Susan and Martha are.
I like to go on long drives with my kids because we get a chance to talk. One of my sons always makes one particular comment – he thanks us for being good parents.
I won’t argue with that but in all honesty, most of the credit goes to Susan who is wonderful mother (and a great wife).
PS – My daughter Sarah is marrying an impressive Christian young man in August. I expect someday to write a similar column and add Sarah to the list.