Editor’s Note: This was an entry in the 2011 “Who Inspires You” contest

by Linda Boyd

Mom is my inspiration. She encouraged me in my growing up years and she continues to be a positive influence.

In the 50’s mom had several loses in her life. Her twin sister passed when they were in their late twenties, and she lost her mother and grandmother – all in a short time. Caring for Grandpa in his home was now necessary. My siblings and I were close in age (all under age 5). With all she had to take care of she continued to give positive encouragement to those around her. I can still hear her reminding us with words like, “You can do it” and “Oh, you are just as good as they are”. Telling us we could be whatever we wanted to be – do whatever we wanted to do.

In my early teens Mom went to Business College and then started working at The Minot Daily News, where she worked for 25 years. As busy as she was, she made sure my siblings and I attended Sunday school, church and church choir and practiced for our baton and guitar lessons. She taught Sunday school and volunteered as a scout leader. Mom knitted mittens for the neighbor kids and was known for her popcorn balls, especially around the holidays. She always encouraged us to get a college education. I had a happy childhood. Mom saw to that.

Following the death of dad in the early 1990’s, Mom moved to Bismarck, to be close to us – her children and grandchildren. Family has been her priority; so moving close to us was a natural choice for her. Immediately she began to volunteer with The ARC and got involved with quilting at church, but more importantly she again became a part of our everyday lives by helping us with our families.

Today with some health issues, she carries on with dignity and a “can do” attitude. She enjoys lunch with friends and telephone visits with her out of town sisters and plays bingo. At home she always has a jigsaw puzzle to complete, computer games to play and afghans to crochet. A passion of hers is ice-skating (as a spectator these days). Together we enjoy the Bismarck/Mandan Newcomers meeting each month, the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony programs, local ballet productions, movies, lunch around town and attending church.

As I drop her off at her front door, I watch as she lugs a heavy bag and maybe some bargains she found at the mall. “Can I help you get those things?” I ask. “No, I will take my time and get there” she replies. Throughout my lifetime she has demonstrated that even though circumstances will sometimes get in our way, we need to continue to move forward and never, ever give up. Our attitude and faith will get us through the tough times.

I have been blessed and am thankful for my mom, Meredith Pratt, who continues to inspire me.

Linda Boyd is a substitute teacher after retiring from Mandan Public Schools. She and husband Jim have two wonderful boys, Jeff and Brandon.