More than a mother

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Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen

There are many exalted positions in society, many with important titles, like president or king or head of the local PTO.
Thing is, you probably aren’t going to ever meet the president or a king of any sort, unless maybe you’re at Burger King. You might meet the head of the local PTO, though, and if it turns out to be a lady maybe someday she’ll be lucky enough to hold the most exalted title of all – family matriarch.
To my way of thinking being a matriarch, the female leader of an extended family, is the top of the human food chain. By the time you’ve reached the point in your life where you’re it, the highest ranking female in your family, a title than can only come with age and experience, and you are certainly worthy of all the love and respect the title deserves.
In order to become a matriarch, of course, you will need to first become a mother, giving life to your brood over which your will one day hold court. We all love our moms and we appreciate all they have done and will do for us, but by the time mom becomes the family matriarch she truly rules the roost, and we underlings love her for it.
I think of all this following a week in which two of the community’s leading matriarchs passed away. Both Alice Brandes and Shirley Beck were family matriarchs in every possible way, leading, coddling, pushing and disciplining large successful families. Beyond the every day stuff, all that mom stuff, they were involved in the lives of their children and their children’s children and their children’s children’s children. In return, you could see how much they were held in a place of such high honor by their families.
And that, friends, is how it is supposed to work when you’re the family matriarch.
To be honest, I can’t claim to know either of those ladies really all that well, even after a quarter century in town, but I was around them enough to admire the way they held up their end of the bargain as the leader of the pack. There is also a sweet sense of irony that Alice would pass so close to Veteran’s Day, a time of year her husband Earl has always risen to the forefront, a leader among our many military veterans, always willing to share his now locally famous story of having survived the Pearl Harbor attack in World War II.
Like many of you, thankfully, our family matriarch still holds the title, my mom the oldest surviving female in our family. On a personal level, and again this is a feeling shared by many if not all of you, seeing her rule the roost is quite a sight. Perhaps one too often taken for granted, but one where everybody in the family knows her place at the head of the Thanksgiving table.
Condolences to both families but more importantly thanks for sharing your moms, your family patriarchs, with the rest of us. They touched the lives of many more people than your own.

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