Happy Mother’s Day Mom, way up yonder.
My Mom, lady on the left, on a billboard in San Luis Obispo California
Me and mom on one of our many drives up the Big Sur Coast
My mom, the lady on the left, in the billboard photo above, left us a few years ago, but first the assisted living facility put her on this billboard.
Louise, my mother, went into assisted living kicking and screaming then after getting there, she loved it. The weight of responsibility was lifted from her shoulders, and she made the journey from paranoia from random dementia, to joy. Her joy lit up the place and was contagious and everyone’s mood around her brightened. The improved mood of the facility wasn’t lost upon management, they decided to use mom as the star for an advertising campaign, print ads, television and billboards.
One of my mom’s heroes was Lady Bird Johnson, first lady of the USA in the 60’s. Lady Bird Johnson was a special hero to Scenic America and the entire scenic conservation movement. She professed beauty is not a luxury, and that the landscape has an intrinsic value that cannot, and should not, be ignored or debased. Lady Bird was the driver of the Highway Beautification Act, the act called for control of outdoor advertising, including removal of certain types of billboard, along the nation’s growing Interstate Highway System. Over the decades, whenever driving anywhere with mom she would speak of how wonderful the landscape was because of what Lady Bird Johnson did by driving the Highway Beautification Act.
- When my mom was seventy years old I took her on a snowmobile trip to Yellowstone. Many seniors couldn’t imagine doing any such thing – not my mom.
I found it terribly rich and hilarious when mom’s face started appearing on billboards across San Luis Obispo County. She had a great sense of humor, and I was really eagerly awaiting ribbing her about her billboards on my next visit to my hometown.
Before I got to deliver my much anticipated teasing, mom got pneumonia and upon my arrival she was in no shape to tease and sadly she soon died. As much as she hated billboards, I am sure she would have got a good belly laugh from my ribbing I didn’t have the opportunity to deliver.
As a lover of beauty she was my biggest photo fan. Upon the release of the high end Canon EOS D5 Mark ll she bought one and gave it to me for a gift. Often, when I see magnificent vista especially if carpeted with fields of wildflowers or I achieve a great photo capture, I think of her because my love of beauty came from my mom, because she always drove the idea home with every pretty bend in the road.
I have tremendous luck when I am out trying to capture light as it lands on landscape and wildlife. I have written repeatedly in blogs and articles about “The Search for Serendipity,” well I believe my mom, Louise Hunter, helps my serendipity along in favorable ways. She will always be with me.
Love you Mom!