Today is a special day that I remember fondly each and every year—it's my mother’s birthday! Sharon Kay (Slack) Hair (b. Aug 31, 1939 d. Dec 13, 1999) would have been 71, but sadly she passed away nearly 11 years ago following a long struggle with cancer.
Mom was a fiercely dedicated and supportive lady who would stand in front of a freight train if that’s what it took to protect her children! She was one of those people who simply had a presence about her, or as a cousin of mine recently said, and aptly put it: “she was a force of nature”. Despite her tough persona, my mother was a kind and generous soul who liked a good party and engaging in great conversation with friends and family. She could really talk, and I enjoyed listening.
Mom taught both my brother and I to stand up for ourselves and never even consider giving up. I fondly recall, prior to suiting-up for football games, her enthusiastic recital of her favorite line from Pat O’Brien in the 1940 movie, Knute Rockne All American: “Hit ‘em hard, hit ‘em low, and if they get back up, hit ‘em again”. I even remember her belting that out prior to a few baseball games! Needless to say, I could always count on her to be the loudest cheerleader at my sporting events no matter how poorly I played.
She also pushed me along in school as well, especially when I struggled with a particular subject or teacher. In fact, Mom took parent/teacher days as serious as a diplomat approaching a foreign peace negotiation. It was amazing how many concessions she would win. When I decided to put off graduate school to go directly into the Army after completing SMSU, she threw a major fit. I was to continue my education, and that was that. Her children were going to get advanced degrees (we both did) no questions asked! After a feeble attempt at arguing with her, I realized resistance was futile. I gave in and am thankful I did.
While I didn’t always agree or even understand Mom—what child ever does—I am truly grateful to have had such a caring mother. I wish she didn’t have to suffer as much during her final days, but she’s no doubt in a better place. I miss her and think of her often.
In tribute to Mom, I have included her Parkview High School graduation photo from 1957. She really liked this one, but wouldn’t readily admit it. She was humble in that way. I do plan on writing more posts in the future highlighting my amazing mother, but for now—happy birthday, Mom!