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Love and Gunsmoke!

This Mother’s Day, I am remembering my dear mother Paula Ann Schober Rose. Born in Westhoff, Texas, and raised in San Antonio, Mom knew best. I could always count on her to tell me the truth in love, even if it was uncomfortable. While she would tell everyone else that I was the perfect little boy, she and I knew better. She saw me as a “project” that needed much attention. But I knew she loved me and was just trying to help.

Besides being a wonderful mother, Mom was the wife of a busy pastor. Dad started a street mission in downtown San Antonio that attracted many nice people, and some derelicts. Sorting them out was not always easy. Every service, Mom would dress nicely and wear pleasant perfume. But we never knew the condition of the “congregation.” Usually, they conformed to the worship presented, but not always.

Occasionally, an inebriated soul would wander down the aisle without concern for service protocols. Since the usher team was non-existent, Mom was the front line of defense. Many times, Mom could be found at the altar with her arm around an intoxicated lady of the street, crying and praying her through to Salvation. I can still remember the whiff of pleasant perfume and drunken stench hovering over the tears and sobs.

Saturday evenings at home were primarily designed to prepare for Sunday at church. Anything social happened earlier in the day, so we could follow the weekly routines of Saturday night. Dad would put the finishing touches on his sermon and spend the evening in prayer. Mom was facilitating her two growing sons to have baths, study their Sunday school lesson, and to get in a more contemplative mood.

As the younger, I rebelled. There were so many contrary things to do. If squiggles were ever tolerated, it would not be on Saturday night. Tensions mounted as I tested family norms. My brother was usually the conciliator between my mother and me. Otherwise, I may have ended up in reform school or early military service.

There was one “untouchable” Saturday night event. At 9 p.m., "Gunsmoke" came on television. Everything had to be done before that, because Mom did not want to be interrupted. Even I knew that my cute stuff better lay low when Matt Dillon took the screen.

All of these memories and more swept over me as I sat beside Mom’s coffin in November of 1982. Just 62 years young, Mom had quickly succumbed to acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Too soon. Too young. And I had so many questions to ask. Someone said, “A mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.” It’s true. To this day, I still remember Mom’s hug, and even her admonitions.

This Mother’s Day, spend time with your mom. Let her give you advice, and scold you for your extra weight. She loves you. So, whatever she says confirms it. I may even watch a rerun of "Gunsmoke." Happy Mother’s Day!

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