Dr. S. J. Watson: Remembering Mother

Published 12:56 am Sunday, January 30, 2011

After my dear wife died the children asked me to plan the memorial. I considered that, although the service is for the living, I would be happiest about it if I planned it to please Johnie . That was the way it had always been, our habit of pleasing one another. Here is the way she would have wanted it and the way it was done:

One of her favorite hymns, I Come to the Garden Alone was played by Linda Watson

The Obituary and a favorite scripture, Romans 8: 38 and 39, was read by our friend Dr. Tom Boone

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We all sang Amazing Grace, another favorite hymn, led by Cheryl Watson

Boyhood Memories of Mother were shared by David , Mark, Stanley and Stanley Watson, Sr.

Our pastor, Dr. Keith Warden, read the 23rd Psalm and led us in a prayer of faith, hope and encouragement.

David: I remember the reaction of mother when I cut my leg trying to jump over the cattle gap and wound up in the emergency room. She told me, “Be more careful, son, we can’t afford these trips to the emergency room.”

She once told me, “If you ever get in jail don’t call us”. (But knowing her, she would have been the first to come to his defense. SJW )

When I made personal decisions like joining the Navy and choosing wife Linda, I assumed my choices would be supported by Mother and Dad. They approved and were honored when I gave them due credit for setting a good example for my marriage.

Mark: I remember that Mom named the family’s pet Parakeet “Pip Squeak”.

She enforced afternoon naps even when we were not sleepy. (She needed the rest, no doubt. SJW)

When I had the flu she served me liver and Doctor Pepper. I haven’t had it since.

Mom and Dad took me and my brothers out to the mountain for picnics.

She cut our hair and taught us handcrafts.

Being sick a lot she taught us to cook and clean house.

She was proud of us. “Don’t embarrass your father” she said.

I love you. Restful place. Sick no more.

Stan: I remember mother as the most beautiful woman in town.

On the way to Grandmother’s house she would stop the car, pick flowers from the side of the road and make bouquets.

She taught us to vacuum the carpet and wax the floors.

We even learned to cook. Once, when we cooked waffles, pancakes and biscuits for breakfast she laughed and explained that all three were the same food.

She said my girl friends were fine but when she met Huda she told me this one was a “keeper”.

She knew how to take pictures. She once took a picture of our daughter Katie sitting under a spreading Wisteria in full bloom that was perfectly framed. I was so impressed with her example that I use it as the model for my work. I take pictures of the dyed brain tissue using her technique.

In a word Mom was interesting, intelligent and she made a person think.

(In an email of condolences, Stan’s wife, Huda, wrote an insightful, detailed description of her mother-in-law. I plan to share it in a column in the near future. SJW)

As her husband of 68 years I remember Johnie Butler Watson:

Commitment: There has never been any doubt about her devotion, and faithfulness to me and the children. She could never tolerate the suspense created when a person expressed a need or even a wish until she did something to fulfill it.

A dowry consisting of numerous things including an automobile and a supplement to my meager income from her father at the beginning of our marriage.

Nurturing that would do credit to a devoted Jewish mother. She has always remained ready to minister to our needs whether they be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. No one ever deserved the title “Dr. Mom” more.

An appreciation for beauty in nature and art. She could not tolerate empty space. Every wall and corner of our home is filled with works of art in the form of pictures, ceramics, porcelain, and flowers.

A love for the beauty of nature. She gasped at a beautiful sunset, the stars on a dark night and the moon in any phase, the trees, wild flowers, as well as the birds and small creatures that live in the out-of-doors.

She also taught me to enjoy the beauty of motion, color, and sound as they are found in classical music, ballet, opera, and ice skating.

We learned together the happiness and deep satisfaction of an intimacy that was both spiritual and physical.

She exemplified the power of a living faith in God and the effectiveness of prayer life.

She was the ideal companion and I felt at my best when we were together. She always gave me her most valued possession, herself in genuine friendship.

Besides herself, she gave me the four most significant people in my life, our three sons and our adopted daughter. The three daughters-in-laws, children and great grandchildren came later as wonderful bonuses.

Oh yes, and along the way she gave me quite a few of the lists needed to get things done but she also provided adequate instructions on how to do them.

A healthy partnership calls for equal giving and you might wonder what I give in return. Primarily my love and admiration along with a valiant attempt to live up to her standards of morality, spirituality, and social insight.