My good friend John Nelson has often quoted to me the title of this observation when things seem to go bad. In other words, let's blame it on our mothers. We say it in jest but mothers do have an incredible impact on our lives.
I have always thought that my mom had a very difficult life in many regards. Just a few days before Christmas, as a young 10-year-old girl, she was left alone with her sick dad for several hours while her mother and the rest of the family went in a wagon to do some Christmas shopping. Her dad was very sick, but nobody knew just how bad off he really was. He would have her go outside all through the day and climb a tall tree on their property to see if she could see the wagon coming. Finally, just as the sun was setting, she saw the wagon coming up the road and ran out to plead with her mother to hurry home and take care of her dad. Her mother, Halley Young, was a midwife and knew how to handle emergency medical situations. She knew immediately that her husband, Allen, a young man in his late 30s, was extremely bad off. She was able to get someone to come with a car and transport her and her husband to the train depot in Delta, Utah. There were no doctors really in that farming community and she knew that she needed to get Allen to a hospital as fast as she could. Mom and her brothers and sisters were left to fend for themselves as their mom and dad rode the train to Salt Lake City and the hospital.
It was discovered that Allen had a ruptured appendix. They operated immediately and it looked like he might make it, but within a week he died of complications due to the ruptured appendix. It just tears my heart out to read mom's account of her father's death in her life story. Her mother was pregnant at the time and had seven other children dependent upon her. The oldest boy, Alva, I believe was only 12 or 13 at the time; there were four girls and three boys. The baby yet to be born was to be a boy. Eugene was his name.
The death of her father had a profound impact upon my mom. He was her hero. I think losing her dad affected her personality to a certain extent. Apparently he was a great fun loving person who was always playing games with his children. There was a great deal of love and happiness in her home and in her life and then very suddenly it was all gone. For a number of years after his death, Grandma Young would allow no social gatherings in their home and piano playing and singing were forbidden. It was a sad family for quite a period of time until Grandma Young had a vision in which her husband appeared to her and assured her that all was well with him and that she and the family were to get on with their lives and be happy.
Mom had other afflictions to deal with during her lifetime. I can remember when her entire body was covered with open sores. She was allergic it seems to everything. All of her hair was cut off -- not shaved -- but very short to try to fight the allergy. She couldn't wear any of her clothes because she was allergic to everything but one particular fabric. For over a year she struggled with this and I can remember how miserable she was. She had various operations over the years as well, and unbelievably, at a family reunion up in the mountains one summer, a pressure cooker exploded and scalded her body horribly. She was in the hospital for some time getting over the burns, especially on her chest. She also was plagued with a nervous condition and had to receive electric shock treatments on a number of different occasions. With today's modern medicine for nervous disorders, her life would have been so blessed. However, she was a woman of great faith and carried on in spite of her challenges and adversity.
Mom was an extremely intelligent person. She did graduate from High School which was not particularly common in those days, living out in the country as she did. She was a voracious reader all of her life. I can remember her being the literature teacher in Relief Society when they had what they called the cultural refinement lessons once each month. Mom taught that class for years and introduced me to some great literature. She would be so excited about what she was reading that I would want to read it also, which I did.
She was an outstanding teacher, especially of the youth. Because of the size of our ward in Ruth, Nevada she was the only teacher I ever had except for my Aaronic Priesthood teachers. It was she who instilled in my heart a love for the gospel. Her Sunday School class when I was a teenager was remarkable, as I look back on it. About twice a year she would hold a Sunday School class party at our home. Being the great cook she was, nobody ever wanted to miss those parties. She also gave a final examination at the end of each curriculum year. We took these tests very seriously and one of my prized possessions for many years was a copy of The Book of Mormon she presented to me for receiving the top grade on her test that year.
I could always trust my mom's opinion about everything. She would always give me honest feedback, if I asked for it. If I played a piano solo or a baseball or basketball game and asked mom how I did, I would always get an honest answer I could trust. She was a great mother for boys. Her dad and brothers had been avid sports fans and not having any daughters, she was really into sports. She was extremely knowledgeable about baseball, basketball, and football. On a number of occasions she won the football prognostication challenge that appeared in the Ely Daily Times during the college football season. I don't think she ever missed one of my baseball or basketball games. Later in her life when she started living with us several months out of the year, we would watch all of the Lakers games we could on TV. Magic Johnson was her all-time favorite basketball player.
She was one of the world's best homemakers in my biased opinion. Coming from a different era, she devoted all of her time and attention to her family. Our home was immaculate. She was a great cook. We had a major desert after every evening meal for as long as I could ever remember. She loved to bake and there was always homemade bread, pies and cakes, and wonderful cookies
I am sure we were all spoiled rotten. I can remember working for Kennecott Copper both before and after my mission. Mom would pack my lunch and the highlight of every shift was to open the lunch bucket and see what culinary delight it contained. Her philosophy was that if we were working full-time that we didn't need to work around the house. She felt that it was her responsibility to keep the home front going as long as we were pulling our weight in the world of work outside the home.
My mother was a woman of character and substance. Her influence for good on my life has been incalculable.
I am convinced that mothers have the greatest influence for good or evil on their children than any other factor in this world. I shudder to think what I might have been like without the teachings and influence of a wonderful mother.
Her example and teachings in retrospect prepared me to deal with the little challenge that came into my life the day I became paralyzed and dependent on life support for my existence. She put the backbone into me for which I will forever be grateful.