I am so glad I started this series while my Mom was still with us.
Today I want to share her lesson about Blooming Where You are Planted.
My Mom had become an icon in Galax, VA. She was a part of the Old Time Music culture there and promoted the music and "musicianers". She led the volunteers and developed shows at the Historic Rex Theater on a weekly basis. She created and directed a clogging group named Blue Ridge Country Kickers. She learned to play bass and fiddle and played with various bands. She taught children and adults how to clog. She led workshops annually for Notre Dame students to teach them mountain dancing. She led volunteers for the annual Houstonfest, honoring Houston Caldwell, one of her dear friends that lost his own life way too early. She fed folks, became an adopted parent and grandparent to many, a friend to most. And this is just to name a few of her accomplishments.
But I will let you in on a little secret.
She didn't want to move to Galax to begin with.
My parents were both from Galax and had left there due to the Air Force and settled in Newport News VA to raise their children. The mountains called my Dad to return the day he retired. My Mom loved the activity and life in Newport News, and had just moved into her dream house a few years prior. But my Dad wanted to return to Galax so she supported him and off they went within months. It was a couple of years later that my Dad died of a heart attack, leaving her alone with a few elderly relatives.
She could have chosen to be reclusive. That certainly would have been the easiest thing to do. Instead she bought a set of golf clubs and started to play regularly. She took clogging lessons. She began accepting her friends invitations. And the rest is history. She created a life where she was that fit her circumstances.
And in the end, she had touched many lives. People moved to Galax after meeting her at the Rex and getting pulled into the music culture. She taught people that were lost to dance and gave them a group to form friendships with that will last a lifetime. Children that she encouraged as youngsters to play an instrument are now becoming adults and are teaching and encouraging the next generation. She became involved with the City's Tourism Dpt and helped guide decisions that are making impacts today. The Virginia State Folklorist has already written a story about her since her passing. And the city that she didn't want to return to? They held a Celebration of her life, and have commissioned an Appalachian Artist to draw her portrait to post in the Historic Rex Theater.