My mother is a card-carrying member of “The Greatest Generation.”

She is an independent woman who always carved out her own way in life. She married the love of her life, my father, at a young age and several years later they started a family. My brother and I could not have asked for more loving parents. They were parents to many of our friends (especially mine), too. That’s because they always made everybody feel comfortable with how they interacted. They offered advice when asked but always provided the best example by how they lived.

My mother’s personality has always been one of openness and kindness. You may not know it, but you’ve probably talked to her at a grocery store or department store because she has never met a stranger. She will strike up a conversation and you’d think she’d known you a lifetime. She is not one of those who look down at the floor when getting on an elevator. She is always kind, always gracious, always sweet.

Even years after she retired from the Catlettsburg Refinery, where she served as a receptionist, I run into people who ask me about her when they find out that Peggy Maynard is my mother. The expression that comes over their faces when I tell them that, yes, Peggy is my mother, is one of kind reflection. She made an impact on them without even trying. That’s what her personality has done to people for a lifetime.

If you do something nice for her you can be sure to receive a phone call, a card or both (a trait of the Greatest Generation). She doesn’t just pick out a good Hallmark card, either. She completes the card with a well-crafted personal note about how much she appreciates you. Her personality comes out in her writing, too.  She is a genuine person and you don’t find too many of those these days.

She appreciates what she has in life and has amazing willpower. I’m confident my mother could do anything she wanted to do. She recently quit drinking coffee cold turkey.

My brother and I weren’t sure how she would adjust after our father died 10 years ago but that strong will and determination have helped her make it through what has been a difficult and lonely decade without her beloved husband. Life is not always fair and definitely not predictable. We are both amazed at how she has adjusted to that life, a life she never anticipated happening.

She remains extremely sharp by reading and working puzzles and, in fact, edited both of the books I have written. Her grammar skills are impeccable.

My mother has a love of God, family, friends and dolls that have sustained her through good times and bad. Her grandchildren (and grand-dogs) remain her pride and joy, as do her “boys” and their wives. She will go on and on about any of those subjects.

On Sunday she reaches a milestone birthday (my lips are sealed on which one). Let’s just say the guy who guesses ages at the carnival would lose his shirt if she stepped up. In other words, the age doesn’t match the looks.

Happy birthday Mom! You are so loved by the many whose lives you have touched and you remain one of the greatest of your generation.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.

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