By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
If somebody accused me of returning to Portales after nearly 30 years away because I was a momma’s boy, I’d probably have to agree with them.
I could tell you coming back made good sense financially or that the opportunity to pursue journalism in my home town was just too tempting. Those things are true but they could have been true in other cities too.
I could tell you I wanted to be here to help my mother as she aged. But anyone who knows my mother would know that’s not exactly the case. She’s too busy looking after her children — and now their children — to need looking after herself. We’ve all had reason to ask for her help recently for problems both minor and serious and she’s been there, ready to give up her carefree retirement days to tend to her family.
She shrugged it off when I mentioned it this week. She said she once asked my grandmother (her mother-in-law) if the children ever stop calling on her for help. Grandmother told her that never happened in her case. Mom said she’s finding out recently that grandmother was right. The kids are always there with their problems.
The two of them, my mother and grandmother, were cut from the same fabric in that respect. The most important thing each day for either of them was taking care of their family’s needs.
That’s right, I think I moved back to Portales because a 30-inch pants inseam is still just a little bit too long. Drop ‘em off at mom’s sewing machine and — presto — they’re perfect.
Not sure what might be ailing a house plant? Give her a few minutes of pinching peaked leaves and pushing the potting soil around and it’s off and growing again.
Not sure exactly how to fix a certain recipe for dinner? Pick up the phone and she’ll usually know what to do without looking it up.
Not sure of your own self worth or your course in life? Talk it over with mom and you can bet she’ll have an answer and some encouragement. You might not always like to hear it, but you can bet it will be based in common sense, fairness and love.
She taught me the common sense when she set me straight that whatever I was thinking of doing wasn’t really as important as I thought. Or when she would offer up another idea I had missed.
The fairness came when she made us live by rules like: “One of you does the halving, the other does the choosing.”
The love was apparent every time I’ve ever messed up. Somehow nothing I’ve ever done wrong has really ever mattered to her.
You don’t have to look very far, especially in my business, to get a glimpse of really bad things and messed up lives in need of a mother’s unconditional love. I feel blessed that I’ve always had that love as close as my heart, even when I lived 800 miles away.
Just the same, it’s comforting to know that she’s just across town.
Karl Terry is the managing editor of the Portales News-Tribune. He can be contacted at 356-4481, ext. 33, or by e-mail: