In my article last
week, I promised not to talk about the T word
anymore--the place where you go to see movies. But I didnt
wouldnt tell any more stories about my mother. So here
My mother was raised
in a small farm community about 60 miles north of Santa Fe.
Her parents were poor, but not destitute. Their little farm
was about three miles up a canyon from the main village. Still
up the canyon was a corporate retreat that was owned by a large
company from Chicago.
My grandmother, my
mother's mother, was a high school English teacher, and a stickler
about my mother and her brothers learning to read well. She
was a prolific reader, and my mother became one also. But there
was very limited reading material at the farm or in the village.
The few books that were available were at the school, but nobody
in town had magazine subscriptions like we all have today. There
was no such thing as television, and not even radio could be
picked up that far out in the country.
The manager of the
retreat became a friend of my grandparents. One day he was talking
to my grandmother about what the guests did while they were
there. He told her they took trail rides, camped out, played
games, fished and did many other things. For guests who were
not interested in those activities there was an extensive library,
with many magazine subscriptions. My grandmother asked the manager
if there was a possibility that she could have some of the magazines
when the retreat was through with them. He replied that he would
be glad to give them to her as soon as the new issues arrived.
After a few days,
the manager stopped by my grandparents' farm and
delivered the first batch of many magazines to come. My grandmother
read each one with the idea of finding material to share with
her students. She also encouraged my mother and her brothers
to read them, an offer as enticing to kids back then as an invitation
to go to the movies would be today.
Well, one day when
my mother was reading one of those magazines, she came upon
an ad for Coca-Cola. Now all of us know that the Coca-Cola brand
name is written in scroll form in its advertisements. I'm sure
you can see it in your mind's eye. The first C in
Coca stretches into a long squiggle that runs underneath, and
the C in Cola reaches out across the l
in that word. This makes the l' look like a t. Reading
that ad, so many years ago, my mother thought to herself, "Boy,
would I love to have a Coca-COTA!" Never having seen or
heard of a Coca-Cola before, it was obvious why she made that
My mother loves to
tell that story on herself, and she laughs each time
she does. But make no mistake about her intelligence--shes
lady. She went on to become the secretary of state of New Mexico,
position to which she was elected three times before she retired
As you can see, I'm
very proud of her. I hope that all of you have or
have had as wonderful a relationship with your mother as I have
had with mine--and maybe like me, you have some funny stories
to tell. If so, I sure would like to hear them. I might even
write them up in this column one of these times.
Have a great day.