By Tony Parra
The Bradfutes believe Mother’s Day as a day set aside to appreciate your mother. But if this is the case, the Bradfutes believe every day should be Mother’s Day.
Zoe Bradfute raised her three sons, Richard Jr., David and Steven in Portales and stressed the importance of getting an education and believing in God to find your path in life.
“I told them to trust in God to find your way,” Zoe said. “Sometimes my sons would ask me, ‘What do I do?’ in certain situations. I told them to pray and trust in God for the answers.”
Richard Jr., who works for Portales National Bank, said it was a lesson that’s stayed with him.
“She taught us how to love the Lord,” Richard Jr. said, “and no matter what else you learn from your parents, teaching them about knowing Jesus is really important.”
David, Zoe’s 30-year-old son, said Mother’s Day is a small way to show how much you appreciate your mom on one day.
“She’s the best person I’ve ever known,” David said. “I’m not just saying that because she’s my mom. She’s kind and good to anybody, even if she doesn’t know them. It’s a day to show your appreciation, but one day is not enough. I wish I could give her more than I possibly can.”
She said when her sons were in elementary school, her husband Richard Sr. would take the three boys to the store for gifts, and tags weren’t necessary for her to know who bought which gift.
“They would each pick out a gift and it would reflect their personalities,” Zoe said. “Every child is different and each one is magnificent. I knew them so well.”
Zoe also remembers other Mother’s Days when her boys were creative with their gift-giving.
“Sometimes they would make me cards,” Zoe recalled. “I kept those cards. They are very special to me. They would pick flowers for me out of the garden. I have a picture of Steven when he was a boy with a baseball cap and a handful of flowers for me.”
The boys weren’t the only creative ones in the family. Richard Jr. couldn’t single out any one anecdote about his mother.
“She was such a cool lady,” he said. “It’s almost like having Lucille Ball for a mother. She always had such a good heart and she loved us for what we were.”
Zoe said she and Richard Sr. taught her sons the meaning of a strong work ethic and each of the boys worked when they were 12 or 13 by mowing lawns, shoveling snow or doing paper routes.
“It was very interesting raising three boys,” Zoe said. “They were very active, climbing and leaping around. The boys wanted to work. We were grateful to Marshall Stinnett for giving them a job (paper route). It was difficult to find jobs for kids that age.”
Richard Sr. said he met Zoe under unique circumstances when both were attending Eastern New Mexico University.
“We both had a Spanish class together and it was a Monday/Tuesday/Thursday class,” Richard Sr. said. “The both of us showed up to the Spanish classroom on Wednesday, when there wasn’t a class. That’s when we first started talking to each other.”
Zoe said all three of the boys went on to attend ENMU and Steven is now attending Baylor Medical University. She said Steven is doing stem-cell research at Baylor.
Zoe said Steven told her of a time when he was flying into Chicago and when he got to the airport, he saw a banner which read, “Call your mom.”
So he did.
“I had forgotten about that,” Steven said, laughing when he was told of the moment. “That was about as literal as you can get. I went to a pay phone and immediately called my mom.”
Steven said one of the things he remembers the most about his mom is the times she spent reading to him.
“We (boys) would all listen to her read a book to us and she would change her voice for each of the characters when we were kids,” Steven said. “She would tickle us sometimes while she was reading.”
Steven said she was always there for him during times of need. He recalls another moment when she was there for his first day of kindergarten.
“She was there (school) for half the day on my first day,” Steven said. “I cried on my first day, but she was there to help me. She asked me if I wanted her to be there on my second day, but I told her I prayed about the second day of school and I was fine.”
Steven said he will be unable to visit his mom in Portales, but said he will make sure to give her a call on Mother’s Day. Zoe also has a message for all of the other sons and daughters who will be unable to be with their mothers for Mother’s Day.
“Call your mom,” Zoe said. “No matter where you are. Any time you have a chance. A mother always loves to hear your voice.”