Archived Story

A mother’s love

Published 11:30am Friday, May 31, 2013

By Teresa Harrell Moten, guest columnist

My mother, Alma Joyce Harrell, celebrated her 81st birthday at Brown Nursing Home Thursday with family and friends from Alexander City, Dothan, Tuscaloosa and Montgomery.

If anyone knows Alma or had the privilege and opportunity to be around her, you would hear them echoing about how sweet, witty, funny and loveable she is.

Mother raised six children as a widow. All of us have deep respect and love for her. Mrs. Harrell (as I call her teasing) loved and disciplined us and lived a godly life and was such a great example for us. I’ve never seen her being mean to anyone.

Mom doesn’t like being the center of attention. She enjoys people and takes focus off herself to speak kind and encouraging words to others.

Growing up, I never heard Mom complain about anything concerning our needs. She was a great provider and worked up to the day she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, stroke and thyroid cancer.

Mom attended practically all of our school’s, church’s or community’s activities. She served on numerous committees, many of them that we volunteered or nominated her for without asking her first.

At one time, Mother was the only one on the block who had a car. She was the taxi, giving rides to anyone to town, work or doctor. She was the Little League baseball mom who carried us and other children to practices and games. She was a friend to the neighborhood.

Children from the neighborhood were welcome to visit our home when we were there. Oftentimes my brothers and I would come home to find our friends sitting, eating and chatting with Mom. Folks passing by smelling Mom’s cooking could knock on the door and be invited in to eat.

Mother never took up for us in our wrong. She was straight forward and never raised her voice at us. She was a dynamic teacher and role model. Mom made sure we attended church, and she would prepare meals on Saturday nights so she could attend church with us.

Mother didn’t like to drive out of town; however, when it was time for me to attend college at Troy State University she mustered up the strength and courage to take me, loading the car down with all kinds of things that I needed for my dorm and classes. During my stay at Troy State if I needed something, Mom was there, and she proudly attended my graduation. Mom did the same thing for William, my brother, who attended and graduated from Alabama A&M University in Huntsville.

Mom was the committee of one who carried my brother and his friend, who enlisted in the United States Army on buddy plan, down to the bus station to bid them farewell. She did it with such poise.

Gary, my brother who played basketball at the Alexander City Jr. College, had a player on the team who needed housing. The coach asked Mom if players could stay at our place until they could find a place for them, and mom agreed.

After two years Mom was back on the trail up the road, driving Gary to Jacksonville State University, where he graduated.

Mom is outstanding. She is the joy of my life and more beautiful now than ever. She still has so much love for people, whether it’s family, friends or strangers. She has conquered sickness, diseases, death of a son murdered in California, sudden death of a son who got sick at Avondale Mills and died on the way to hospital, husband murdered at 31, and dealing with me after suffering a nervous breakdown years ago.

God’s hand is still on Mother, and if you ever desire to meet a precious, sweet 81-year-old lady, feel free to visit Brown Nursing Home and ask for Mrs. Alma Harrell. She’ll be so glad to see you.

Moten is a gust columnist for The Outlook.


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