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Opinion: Columnists

Thanksgiving isn't the same without Mom

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Gregory Kane,Columnists,Analysis,Conservatism,Holidays

Today, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, marks my very first mom-less Thanksgiving.

She was born Ruth Katherine Floyd in Baltimore, Md. on May 27, 1922. She died this past Aug. 17.

Thanksgiving this year is going to feel a lot less like Thanksgiving, but I’m sure Mom would want me to find something to be thankful for.

And I am thankful, mainly for so many fond memories of Mom.

My memory of it is hazy and vague, since I was no more than 3 or 4 years old at the time. But I remember lying in a hospital bed, crying, in pain, while Mom stood over me.

That’s all I remember. Years later, she filled in the details for me.

It seems that I was in Provident Hospital in West Baltimore after eating the bad part of some crabs. There was an IV running into my leg, which was swollen.

Mom had no more than a eighth grade education at the time, but she was convinced that Provident Hospital staffers had hooked up the IV incorrectly.

Since she had no qualms about going to the mats for any one or all of her six children (I was her third; she had three after me) she didn’t hesitate to tell hospital staffers about their mistake.

They ignored her, so without further discussion Mom undid the IV line I was hooked up to, gathered me in her loving arms, and headed toward the door.

“Miss!” alarmed hospital staffers shouted. “Where are you going?”

“I’m taking my child out of here,” she told them.

Hospital staffers panicked: a woman with the gumption to undo an IV line and take her child out of a hospital just might be the type to file a lawsuit.

So they got all apologetic, convinced Mom to return me to the hospital and re-hooked me to the IV line – correctly.

It was the second time Mom had saved my life. The first involved an incident the details of which will forever remain between mother and son.

The Provident Hospital incident occurred several years after Mom had me baptized Gregory Phillip Kane at St. Peter Claver’s Roman Catholic Church in West Baltimore.

For the rest of my life, through my teen years, Mom’s focus was seeing that my siblings and me were raised as good Catholics.

So it was Mass every Sunday, followed by Sunday school. During the school year, when I was of the appropriate age, there were catechism classes so that I could receive the sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Confirmation.

Every summer, it was off to Bible school at the nearest Roman Catholic parish that had one.

All that churching-up never did inspire me to become as good a Catholic as Mom. I don’t go to Mass anywhere near as much as I should, and I haven’t graced a confessional box in decades.

But the religious training did have some lingering effects. For example, I don’t embrace the moral relativism running rampant in today’s America.

And to the extent that I am a conservative, 50 percent of that conservatism can be attributed to Mom and the way she brought up her children. (The other 50 percent can be attributed to my being pushed ever rightward, as Libthink got ever sillier.)

So I’m thankful for memories of Mom, and her teachings that taught me the value of conservatism and the folly of today’s liberalism.

But mostly I’m thankful that I had Mom around for 61 and a half years of my life. She lived to the ripe old age of 91, when she died of cancer.

And even though she battled liver cancer the last two years of her life, she was more concerned about my own struggle with the disease than hers. And I’ll always cherish how she ended every conversation we had during her last days.

“I love you, son,” she’d tell me. Those words, more than any others, are the ones I’ll miss the most.

GREGORY KANE, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.
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