My maternal grandmother always enjoyed telling the story of my birth:
“Your mother stopped at a drug store, purchased a bottle of castor oil, poured it into frosted glass of iced-cold root beer and chugged it down. I put my sea-sick, wobbling daughter into the car and drove from Aurora as fast as I could to the University of Colorado Medical Center where she had been working as a respiratory therapist. I dropped her off at the Emergency Department and said, ‘I’m going to go park my car. If this baby is born before I get back, and it’s a boy,” he is to be named James Bradley Bowden.”
No sooner had she parked the car and entered the main hospital when she heard the words over the public address system, “Mrs. Yates, James Bradley Bowden has arrived.”
My “Granny” wanted me to have this name because she thought it sounded distinguished. Her vision for me was to have a corner office in a sky-rise office building over-looking the city with big bold letters on my door reading J.B.
It’s funny when I look back. I did become a businessperson; albeit one who would be doing God’s business (Luke 2:49).
I adored my mother. I loved the aroma that surrounded her…a mixture of lavender and cinnamon. She wore bright red lipstick and had the most beautiful blonde hair and green eyes. She lavished me with attention and affection. She told me every day how much she loved me. In turn, I told her the same. During my 1st-grade year, she walked to the school on sunny days to pick me up. She always met me with outstretched arms, a glistening smile, and sparkling eyes. She loved the balloons of primary colors I made for her. She delighted in them. She scooped me up and kissed me all over my face. For as far back as I can remember I always greeted her by saying, “Hi, Beautiful! She always replied, “Hi, Handsome)!
I remember my mother’s wisdom, guidance, and assurance. I have searched the files of my heart and mind. I cannot remember a single time when my “Maggie” was ever mean toward me or hurtful to me.
I always thought she was so elegant and pretty. She was married to 3 different men, none of whom who were deserving of her love. All 3 men hurt her, neglected her, and abandoned her. Not one of them ever deterred her strength and determination to maintain her dignity and provide for her children. My mother always made a way. I may have lived in a shack for a few years in rural West Virginia, but I never went hungry. I never knew such a holy, sacred, place for the mothering God of love to express itself. We worked together at a Shoney’s Restaurant. I was a cook; she, a waitress. Each night we would drive the winding country roads back to the shack and count her tips. The next morning we went to shop for the essentials!
God alone knows how much I loved this woman. She has been gathered to her people. I will be with her again.
Here’s to all the single moms!
Rev. Dr. Jim Bowden