A lifetime of memories....

By Kelly Duncan

My Mama always told us that when the good Lord was ready to call her home, she would be ready. Well, on Jan. 14 with my Daddy, brother, sister and I by her side, the Lord called her home. How am I doing? Alright, I guess. I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy dealing with the loss of my Mama because it hasn’t. I’ve already been to her grave too many times to count to “see” her (there’s a good chance I’ll go there today) and I find myself constantly looking through photos and other memories I’ve saved from our adventures together.


One of my favorite memories I have with my Mama is when she took me to see a ballet production of The Wizard of Oz at the Newberry Opera House. I’m guessing I was somewhere between 7-10 years old at the time and I remember one of my favorite parts of the show was when the cast started throwing fake apples into the crowd. I got all dressed up in a pretty blue dress and my Mama fixed my hair just for the occasion.


This show would be the first of many we would see together. With the exception of 2020 we almost made it a tradition to see The Nutcracker (my favorite ballet) every year. We went to two Travis Tritt shows, seen The Voice finalist Chris Mann and another personal favorite, gospel singer Guy Penrod. My Mama loved gospel music and as a birthday present for the both of us (our birthdays are two days apart) I surprised her with the tickets. The only downside was that we had to wait four months before we could actually go to the show. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I took the day off and we had a girls day in Columbia, making stops at the mall, 2nd and Charles, Target and the Lifeway Christian Bookstore before we headed back to Newberry where we had lunch at Luigi’s, one of our go-to spots. We even got to see Guy Penrod himself walking in downtown Newberry that day. I distinctly remember my Mama telling me to roll down my window and yell at him to get his attention.


Another memory I have with my Mama is when we saw Wicked at the Koger Center. The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie and in a nutshell Wicked tells the story of Elphaba and Glenda before Dorothy landed in Oz. For about a month, everywhere I turned I would see commercials or signs advertising the show. Aside from the Koger Center being a beautiful venue, the show itself was amazing. I think my Mama enjoyed it more than I did despite not knowing much about the show until I gave her a quick synopsis and played some of the music beforehand. Last year, I discovered there was a four book series called The Wicked Years and for my birthday, my Mama bought me the last two books I needed to complete the series. I don’t know too many people who would be completely content with getting books for their birthday, but I was.


My Mama and I also loved seeing movies together. While my sister and I enjoyed watching horror movies, my Mama and I enjoyed watching faith-based movies. Last March, before everything started shutting down, we saw I Still Believe. Other favorites we’ve seen include Breakthrough and I Can Only Imagine. If you’re into these kind of movies, I’d highly recommend watching them.


There are countless memories with my Mama, sister and I. Sometimes the three of us would get together and see a movie and other times we would take the day and shop or just meet up for lunch. Regardless of what we were doing, it was always a good time with lots of laughs.


And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all of our trips to 2nd and Charles. Anyone who knows me or knew my Mama knows that we both shared the same love for reading. We often talked about the books we were reading and sometimes traded books. Every time we went to 2nd and Charles we always made sure to plan ahead. We knew we would each leave with at least one book so we brought along bags of our own to avoid having to buy one or carry them ourselves. Sometimes we’d go through our books, pack them up and trade them in for store credit so we could make room for new books. That was our happy place and I think it’s safe for me to say that we could spend all day in there if we could.


Music was another favorite of ours. Like I mentioned earlier, my Mama loved her gospel music. Before I started living on my own, I would put my iPod on and we’d listen to music while she cooked or was folding laundry. We’d listen to Carrie Underwood, Donny Osmond, Lynyrd Skynyrd – the possibilities were endless. We’d also put on Guy Penrod, Eternal Vision and anything with the Gaither Vocal Band. Our car rides were filled with music, too. I’d pop in my Wicked soundtrack, Travis Tritt or connect my iPod to my car with a playlist I appropriately titled “Jesus Jams” – songs that had something to do with Jesus or faith in general.


I was fortunate enough to make 27 years worth of memories with my Mama – and trust me, this is just scratching the surface of memories I have with her.


She’s not here physically, but I know she’s watching over my family and I – she’s got a birds eye view from Heaven! I’m confident she’s keeping watch on us because almost every day since she passed away I’ve spotted a Red Cardinal sitting on the trees outside my kitchen window. I’m sure that’s just her way of making her presence known.


On Jan. 14, I gave her one last hug, kiss and ‘I love you’. She might not have been able to say it back, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that she loved all of us, even if we got on her nerves sometimes. The love she showed us will mean more to me than any memory we’ve ever made. 

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