I went to Miriam Brown's funeral today. She was "Mrs. Brown" to me - or more accurately, "Angela's Mom". I first met Angela in the nursery at First Baptist Church of West Columbia, which I hate like you don't know to admit was 50 years ago. So that means I've known her mom for 50 years, too. Church was a big part of our social life, so even before we were in the same middle school, Angela and I spent a lot of time together. The Browns had 5 children, 4 boys and then Angela, the youngest. I spent a good bit of time at their house and it was almost always full of children and then teenagers - not just their 5, always some extras, including me. I remember Mrs. Brown as the Ultimate Mom. All those boys! She was always cooking and whatever she cooked was always good. (now that I have 3 teen and preteen boys, I understand why she was ALWAYS cooking.) She was our Sunday School teacher and our VBS teacher. She sewed, she cut everybody's hair, and she helped Mr. Brown run their family's grocery store on State Street. Mrs. Brown became a grandmother while Angela and I were still kids. Finally some more little girls in the family. Today, she leaves behind her husband of 64 years, her 5 children and their spouses, 14 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. I think I got that right.
At the funeral today I also saw Mrs. Hill and Mrs. Cromer, Mrs. Crider, and Mrs. Bourne. And Mrs. Shepherd. All moms of my friends growing up. All of us children have moved away, none of us still go to FBC. But these women remain important to me. They helped shape who I am. They gave me the examples of what a woman, wife, and mother should be. I know that they had lives before children. I just didn't know them then. So to me, they are forever Wesley's mom and Laura's mom and Angela's mom. And I owe each of them a great big Thank You.