Not your typical Mother’s Day tribute
Mark Twain once said, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
I don’t know the circumstances regarding the utterance, but I think we all understand the meaning. I know that more than once in my life I have had to muster up strength and courage to fight against all kinds of injustice. I’m proud to know my own children carry that legacy on, and we affectionately refer to one of our kids as “the truth and justice meter”. More than once, I have heard my husband say, “She may be small, but she is scrappy. My money is on her.” I don’t actually consider myself small, but my “fight” in this world can pack a mighty wallop.
The truth is this is one trait where the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
In most ways, I take after my dad from chosen career to genetic traits. But there is one trait that I definitely get from my mom. The tenacity to never give up and to fight when no one else speaks up are pretty big legacies.
I am reminded of a time from my childhood when my mom accomplished the bravest thing I have ever seen anybody do. Now, if you were to ask her, I probably have some of the details wrong, but remember, it is my elementary school brain that remembers the story.
Long ago, my parents were dorm parents. We lived in the apartment complex attached to the Men’s Athletic dormitory at Columbus (GA) College. To us kids, it felt like we lived in a castle. There was lots of room to romp and play, with the exception being right out our back door. The neighbors had “some type of something” going on over there that involved large and vicious-sounding dogs. Most likely, those were real fighting dogs. The people, who we rarely ever saw, kept those dogs tied out on short stakes with no shade in the hot Georgia weather, day and night. If one of us kids so much as stepped foot back there, those dogs literally warned us with their growling and snarling not to do it again. They were big, barking behemoths that scared us to death.
Then one day came the thunderstorm of all thunderstorms. Deep, dark, threatening clouds that released thunderous noise, bright lightning, and golf ball hailstones terrorized our neighborhood. My mom looked out the window at the storm, but instead of seeing the weather, her heart was broken. All she saw was frightened animals who were being pummeled by hailstones. Putting her own life at risk, she gathered up cardboard boxes and went out into the storm. All I can remember doing is holding my brother and crying, watching her go from one dog to another to provide each one with a rudimentary shelter.
Sopping wet, cold and I am certain bruised, shed didn’t bother to towel off before she proceeded to call the police upon returning inside. From there, the details get fuzzy, but I do know that she was called to testify in court about the maltreatment of those animals.
And she did!
An injustice had occurred and if no one else was going to stand up for those dogs, she would.
One day, the dogs were all gone, and she told us the police came and picked them up. I would like to believe that they went to loving homes, but even if they didn’t . . .
I am so proud of my mom and the fight left in her “dog”. It is a lesson I never forgot.