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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Anna Lee Mullins was an extraordinary woman. I say that not because she was my mother, but I think anyone that knew her would agree with me completely. Her first priority in life was her love of God; she was a very devout Christian woman, and everything about her life reflected that. Her love of family and all that it entailed motivated her to make sure her every responsibility as mother, wife, caregiver, and homemaker was completed absolutely to the best of her ability. She could always look past people’s faults and negative traits and was able to see the good, believing that everyone had something worthwhile in them. (She always tried to teach this to her children and others.) She taught with love, whether teaching her children, an employee, or a Sunday school class; it was always done genuinely from her heart and soul. She believed in giving people the benefit of the doubt, second chances, forgiveness, and in being kind and fair. She taught me self respect and how to be kind to myself as well as to others, but at the same time to not allow people to take unfair advantage of me, and if I believed completely in something, that I had not only the right but an obligation to defend that position whole heartedly.

This arrangement of her owning her own business was working out very well for her. It provided her with an income while at the same time allowing her children freedom to come and go, or stay at the shop as long as they wanted to hang out, and she liked that. The flower shop was also a place where she could teach her three boys as well as give them a way to earn spending money. Mason, the oldest of the three, started working right away in the flower shop, continuing to work there until he graduated from high school and went away to college. There is no doubt that the work experience he gained in the family business better prepared him to land his first job out in the larger world.

Mom also wanted to help other young people in the community. Over the years the number of high school students that listed their first work experience as Cook Floral on job applications grew to be quite impressive. Many have never forgotten their early days or the things they learned during that time. People still make a point of telling me about their experiences at Cook Floral, or what they remember about my mother, or something she did that helped them later in life. For some it has been twenty or thirty years since they worked at the shop.

Ravenswood today is a very small town of around four thousand people, and was even smaller in 1965. Typical of a small town, people are friendly and almost always speak when passing each other, whether they know you or not. It’s just the small town way and pretty much the same yet today. Ravenswood was, and remains a place where people will go out of their way to help someone just because.

1 comment:

Mike said...

When I count up the years I've been working, I forget how many other kids in Ravenswood also worked for Cook Floral. I began making money on the last day of third grade, by sitting on the back steps and filling waterpics at 2 for a penny. I still have my first 1040 federal tax return that I filed at age 12, in 1967. I was arranging flowers, setting up weddings and receptions, keeping books, ordering inventory, preparing bank deposits, reconciling FTD & Teleflora clearinghouse reports, taking orders & waiting on customers, all before I was able to drive at age 16. I won't mention sweeping floors, cleaning coolers, washing windows, watering plants. It was a great way to grow up, and I don't regret one second of it. Thanks for the work you've put in on the blog.