Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving, November 23, 2016

I am grateful for what I am and have.
My thanksgiving is perpetual.
~Henry David Thoreau

On this week of Thanksgiving 2016, I am grateful for three particular women in our extended family: My mother Maida Gower Shepard, and my two aunts Vicki Gower Johnston, and Thelma Shepard Boyd. That triad represents the senior members of my parents' generation in our family.

My aunt Thelma is the youngest of the three, and is the last remaining child of my grandparents William and Bura Davis Shepard. Born in Two Buttes, Colorado, she moved as a child to San Diego when the Shepards first settled here in 1940. She lives today in Grain Valley, Missouri with her daughter Kim Clark Boyd, who tells me: "She is doing fine. She loves car rides and goes everywhere we go. She still walks every day. I cook and she's the prep cook and dishwasher." Happy Thanksgiving and thank you to Thelma for blessing our Shepard family for 80 years!

The first picture, taken this past May, shows my aunt Thelma Boyd on the left, with fellow octogenarian Engelbert Humperdinck. (What? You don't know the famous Engelbert Humperdinck? Google him. Or better yet, Youtube him!) Also pictured are Thelma's daughter Kim and her husband Jeff Clark.

My aunt Vicki Gower Johnston is the youngest of the three children of my Grandparents Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. Born in Okemah, Oklahoma she too came to San Diego as a child when our Gower family settled here in 1942. She lives today in Chandler, Arizona near her daughter Paula Harrell Tuzzolino, although she still longs for life in Oak Harbor, Washington where she lived for over 40 years, until a year ago. Happy Thanksgiving and much gratitude to Vicki for being an important part of our family.

This second picture shows my aunt Vicki back in 1995 when she was visiting in San Diego. This picture was taken by her sister Maida Shepard while they were having fun riding the Carousel in front of the San Diego zoo.

And I am very grateful for the senior most member of our family, my 92 year old mother Maida Gower Shepard who lives with her daughter Barbara in Anacortes, Washington. Born in Mountain View, Arkansas, Maida and husband Eugene raised a family of 6 children in San Diego before retiring to Washington State in 1978. Mom has made her home there now for nearly 40 years. 

I am especially grateful that mom is doing better after being hospitalized a week ago. As of this writing she is still in the hospital in nearby Mount Vernon, Washington, but is stable and hopefully will be going home later today. 

This third picture, taken in August, shows Maida on the right with her oldest son Gary and her daughter Barbara at her home on Wildwood Lane in Anacortes.

After re-reading the foregoing paragraphs, it dawned on me that the caregivers of the foregoing women also deserve our thanks. I am grateful for daughters in our family, like Paula, Kim and Barbara, who give so much of themselves to care for their aging mothers. It speaks well for the kind of family we are!

May all of you and your family have a happy Thanksgiving!
- - -
Steve Shepard

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