Mother of Patricia Tarpey Boone.
My mother was blessed with the gift of GENEROSITY. In a time when husbands provided the family income and wives didn’t work outside the home unless they “had to,” my mother (who didn’t “have to”) always found ways of earning money – selling Avon cosmetics and imported goods from Mexico, managing hotels, catering parties – all so that there would be money for “extras.” For her, “extras” meant educational opportunities for me that no girl in our large extended Hispanic family had ever had. It also meant having resources to quietly help others. It wasn’t until after her funeral that I learned that she had helped three of my cousins through college, and bought necessary household effects for another cousin and his new bride after they eloped, helping them begin more than sixty years of married life together.
My mother routinely went looking for people who needed help. When I was in my early teens, she set out one afternoon, driving through the barrio – the poor Latino neighborhood in our Arizona town – looking for a family who might need a place to grow a vegetable garden for food. She found a Mexican family with nine children, whom she brought home and gave a plot of land on our family’s property. Members of their family came everyday to tend their garden, and, more often than not, stayed to have a meal with us around our dining room table. Although our immediate family was only my mother, my father, and I, my mother was always prepared to feed more than the three of us, and, usually, she got to do just that – which gave her great joy. Our two families shared meals around the table for many years. Whenever I read or hear Paul’s messages to the early Christians to “Extend hospitality to strangers,” (Romans 12:13) and to “Welcome one another, as Christ has welcomed you,” (Romans 15:7) I reflect on my mother’s gift of GENEROSITY, and give thanks to God for the way she lived her faith by generously reaching out to others all her life.