My mom, Marie Branscum is the most caring, loving, unselfish woman I know. As a child, I took this for granted, but as an adult, I cherish her life, and my memory of who she is and how she lived her life. I am so proud to be her son.
From my earliest memories, mom has shared her love, her food, her time, her faith, her tears, and her God with any and everyone she met.
In 1962, we moved to our home and dad's dream farm in Ft. Gibson and started running our dairy. As you may know, living on a farm, but especially running a dairy and milking cows is a 7 day a week job. Our day always began at 5:00 as mom and dad would get us up and send us out to do the milking and all the chores that go with that. Mom was right there with us, and when the milking was done and the barn clean, there was always a big breakfast ready for us to enjoy. Mom was a great cook, and always made sure we cleaned our plate up. I took that for granted, but that stuck with me, and even today I think of mom as I clean my plate! Donnie didn't have it as good as I did when I came along with the dairy since he had to milk all the cows by hand, but by my time we had upgraded to an automatic milking system. Donnie said we had it easy, but believe me, it was still work, but as mom would say, hard work won't kill you. Dad hauled hay in the summer, and at a very early age, I would haul hay with him. We still had the dairy so that left mom to take care of many of the chores while we were gone during the day. I remember when mom was pregnant with Chris, and due any day, that we had a milk cow ready to calf that was having trouble, and mom and I had the privilege of pulling that baby calf and I'll tell you, that was an experience! The next day Chris was born.
In my 6th grade last day of school, I let some friends talk me into skipping the last half day of school. Because of the dairy, we always had to ride the bus home to be ready for the 4:00 milking. I didn't want to skip school so I told them I had to ride the bus home, but was going to call to ask if I could go home with a friend so I could skip. My way out was going to be mom saying no, but of all times she said I could go. We thought we were having a great time outside of town at the Corral Branch Creek until I looked up a mile away and saw a light blue Ford truck down the road with the dust flying behind it. I knew it was mom, and I knew I was dead! How could she know? I had never been there, and I wasn't even sure where I was. We all 4 ran to hide, but moms intuition was right so she stopped and got out a hollered for us to come out. After the 3rd warning and when she said she was coming over the fence to get us, we came out. The worse part of my punishment was the fact that I disappointed my mom and dad with my choice to skip school. After she took me to the office for the principal to bust my tail, she took me home to wait for dad to come home for my punishment there. It was 3 hours before he got home, and as I waited in my room, I was thinking about my funeral!
There were 5 of us children, Donnie, Jeanette, me, Lavina, and Chris, and we are around 5 years apart in age, so as you can guess we all had our chores to do growing up. I have good memories of growing up on a farm and dairy, and l know that I was taught responsibility and how to work, and I take pride in the lessons learned on the farm.
I am sure that many people in Fort Gibson have had the privilege of eating some of my moms good cooking either as a student in school when she managed the cafeteria, or when she would take food to anyone who was sick, or had lost a loved one. For many years, mom would organize and handle all funeral dinners held at our church building. We always had a large garden, and mom had a great green thumb. As a child, we all helped work the garden and pulled tons of weeds right along side of mom. That food fed our family as well as many people around town and church.
As I watch mom grow old and loose her abilities to help others, I think that bothers me the most. Because you see, doing for others is what mom was always about. That is why I wanted to share a few of these memories now, to remind us all of the love and unselfishness of my mom, Marie Branscum. I love you mom!