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One Man's Opinion: Mothers, Others & More
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One Man's Opinion: Mothers, Others & More

One Man's Opinion: Mothers, Others & More
Crane Family at St. George Island on Thanksgiving 2017

One Man's Opinion: Mothers, Others & More

"An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy," Old Spanish proverb.

If you are reading or being told of this column, you also at some point had a mother, or if you are blessed, you are a mother, grandmother or other in the raising of children and shaping of lives in your family, with each trying to make sense and make their way on this planet of ours. 

Each day, 10,000 American Baby Boomers reach the age of 65. By 2050 the number of living Americans at or above that anniversary milestone is projected to reach 82-million. Only the Millennial generation at that point are expected to out-number seniors, in a nation of then projected population of roughly 400-million. Georgia remains a top tax and location friendly state for retirees, as ranked by Kiplinger in 2017, and our capital city of Atlanta is the nation's #1 rapidly aging city (in terms of core population).

Many dual income families can't provide the round the clock support/supervision or health care their senior family members may need, so increasing numbers of seniors may also be living in medical and assisted living retirement communities. An industry leader, researcher and well regarded practitioner in this space is Wesley Woods, founded by the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, now houses and cares for more than 1800 seniors (1100 women) of all denominations in 10 locations across north Georgia (Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Blairsville, Newnan and Roswell).

A core vision of Wesley Woods is to establish a world where everyone can age with grace dignity and purpose.

While that purpose is noble and good, making it reality is no easy task. Wesley Woods promotes independent living with most residents in their own apartments, married couples sharing an apartment, or receiving assistance and home care via federal subsidy or HUD housing assistance.

As Mother's Day nears, I am again reminded that our family has been fortunate, and my folks want for very little. They have two homes, and more than two of most everything...what Mom wants more of is time. We can't control or quite deliver that, but we can give her more of our time. Dad reminded me of this recently, and that with the early loss of our brother just over five years ago, I am her oldest and now only son. I have tried to make the visits more frequent, the texts near daily and deliver more frequent communication throughout the week.

I am my father's son however, and being emotive, on the phone or in person really isn't in my DNA. I'm working on it. Phone calls, in my mind, are more transactional in nature. Information is exchanged, meetings and appointments are confirmed. Mom wants to know 'how I am feeling'...or how 'life is going.' She isn't satisfied at all when I just say, "fine." 

Having a child with special needs has made me a better parent, and a more patient person, but I'm still struggling with translating that into being a better son. 

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One Man's Opinion: Mothers, Others & More

Our mother who long worked while managing our household now struggles with the most basic of life chores and daily events. Stepping in there is not a problem, it's just not possible every day. Even with three sibling and grandchildren reasonably nearby, assisting in managing two large households is a stretch. Thankfully, we are in a position that Mom and Dad will be able to age in place, and absent drastic changes in health/condition, their lives will be spent as they choose in their own homes...but I am again reminded that is not the case for many if not most families.

Though the flowers will arrive for the coming holiday, and a Sunday supper with favorites is already being planned for delivery, I know in the days and weeks ahead, the greatest gift I can give, or those of you with family in Wesley Woods or another retirement community can give is your voice, your presence and your time. Technology clearly facilitates and assists this for many of us, though many seniors often fear or withdraw from that as well. 

I'm clear that watching my mother's capacities and world shrink will always bring on a mix of emotions--anger, frustration, even desire for more time with the Mother of our youth...and yet, the empathy and compassion which do exist in me also need to become stronger muscles which I can more easily and readily flex. We love you Mom, and a happy and blessed Mothers & Others Day to each and all of you.

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News

  • Kenny Dixon, the longtime drummer for Georgia-raised country music star Kane Brown was killed in a car accident, the band confirmed Sunday. >> Read more trending news  Dixon was from Dalton, Georgia. It's unclear where the crash happened but his bandmates say he died Saturday. 'It is with profound sadness and disbelief that we confirm we lost our drummer Kenny this weekend in a tragic car accident,' the band wrote in a statement. 'Kenny was a member of our family from the very beginning, and our hearts are with his fiancée Sarah, his son and everyone who knew and loved him. He was truly one of the greatest and kindest people on and off stage we’ve ever known.” Dixon's fiance, Sarah Hendrick, also confirmed the musician's death in an Instagram post on Sunday. 'I’m at a loss of words. I don’t even know how to write this or ever thought I would have to. Kenny passed away last night in a car accident. I know I have to be strong for Levi and God is gonna pull us through this. We have a forever guardian angel watching above us now. Please keep Levi, my family, and Kenny’s family in your prayers,' she wrote. Dixon and Hendrick were set to wed Nov. 30 in Dalton, according to the couple’s wedding website on The Knot. They were parents to a son, Levi. Brown also commented on the drummer’s death on social media.
  • A former University of Georgia student pleaded guilty Friday to running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors, including fellow students and their families, from his Athens fraternity house. >> Read more trending news  Syed Arham Arbab, 22, of Augusta, admitted to defrauding 117 people in a scheme that attracted about $1 million from investors, prosecutors said. A news release said Arbab spent funds on clothes, shoes, adult entertainment and gambling trips to Las Vegas. “The defendant engaged in a pattern of deceit to gain the trust of unwitting investors who gave him their hard-earned money for what they believed was a sound investment,” Charlie Peeler, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, said in the release. From May 2018 to May of this year, Arbab sought investors for Artis Proficio Capital Management and Artis Proficio Capital Investments. Prosecutors said Arbab issued false account statements and misrepresented the size of the funds and returns. Among his false claims, prosecutors said, Arbab said a former UGA athlete and NFL star was among his investors. Arbab pleaded to a single count of securities fraud. He is scheduled for sentencing in January. In late May, the Securities and Exchange Commission initiated a civil complaint against Arbab, which is pending. In June, a federal judge froze Arbab’s assets and those of his investment funds. At the time, the SEC alleged Arbab defrauded at least eight investors of $269,000, but warned that the size of the scheme could be larger. In text messages, Arbab allegedly told investors his firm was “different because we target young investors/college kids,” and he charged lower commissions, the SEC complaint said. Arbab allegedly told investors he guaranteed investments of up to $15,000. The SEC said Arbab also sold “bond agreements,” which were like loans. Instead, Arbab allegedly deposited funds in his bank account and used new proceeds to pay off previous investors who sought money. A bio on the website for Artis Proficio stated that Arbab graduated cum laude from UGA with a degree in cellular biology, and that at the time, he working on a masters of business administration at UGA’s business school. Prosecutors said Arbab had in fact been rejected from the MBA program at UGA’s Terry College of Business.
  • When Stoneham firefighters arrived at a two-alarm fire around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, a woman living at the single-family home was on her roof overhang escaping the flames. >> Read more trending news   Stoneham police officers instructed her to jump from the overhang, and she was caught by Stoneham police officers Stephen Aprile and John Burton. She was the only person at the home at the time of the fire. 'Today marks the last day of Fire Prevention Week and the theme for this year covered how important it is for people to have an escape plan to get out of their home,' says Stoneham fire Chief Matthew Grafton. 'The resident who was at home at the time of (Saturday's) fire is an excellent example of someone who knew to find an available escape route and got herself safely out of the house as quickly as possible.' The fire was in the kitchen on the first floor and smoke was billowing from all windows. Crews from the Woburn, Melrose, Wakefield, Winchester and Reading fire departments helped on scene while Saugus, Medford and Malden firefighters helped with station coverage. Firefighters prevented the flames from spreading to the rest of the house, but the home sustained heavy damage from smoke and water, estimated at $150,000 to $200,000. The family of six who lived at the home is being helped by family and friends in the area. One dog was rescued and taken to a vet for evaluation. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
  • The final day of the Atlanta Air Show is canceled after a pilot ejected from a plane Sunday afternoon. The airshow began Saturday and was scheduled to continue Sunday afternoon at Tara Field near the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton.  >> Read more trending news  Capt. Kevin Domon-Grenier, a pilot with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, ejected from his aircraft shortly before the squadron was due to perform, the Snowbirds announced on Twitter on Sunday.  Domon-Grenier’s CT-114 Tutor crashed prior to the show’s opening, Airshow officials said. He made it safely to the ground and is OK, the CF Snowbirds said.  Nobody was injured when the plane crashed in an unpopulated area, according to the Snowbirds.
  • New Birth Missionary Baptist Church plans to redirect a donation it received from rap artist Kanye West to Atlanta’s Morris Brown College, officials said.  Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant on Sunday announced a financial contribution to the HBCU’s general scholarship fund, according to a New Birth spokesman.  The announcement came during the 9:30 a.m.  church service. Bryant, senior pastor of New Birth in Stonecrest, said the funds  will be used to make a financial contribution in honor of the Grammy Award-winning artist’s late mother Donda West, who previously served on the faculty at Morris Brown.  The size of the donation wasn’t immediately announced. Morris Brown College has struggled financially since losing its accreditation in 2002. Only a few dozen students attend the college, down from as many as 2,700 in the mid-1990s. Among Historically Black Colleges and Universities, it is the only one in Georgia founded by African Americans. Kevin James, the college’s interim president, told New Birth’s congregation Sunday that Morris Brown was approved Friday as a higher learning institution by the Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission. He called it a “major step” toward accreditation.  “When you lose your accreditation, you close,” James said during the Sunday service. “But for some reason, for the past 17 years, Morris Brown College has been able to survive. We will be the first historically black college in history ... since 1837 to actually come back and be fully accredited under these circumstances.”   Kanye West visited New Birth Sept. 15 for a popup Sunday performance as a part of his “Sunday Service” series. Lines waiting outside New Birth began forming several hours before the service. RELATED: Kanye West brings ‘Sunday Service’ to Atlanta West has been making such appearances on Sundays this year, including one in Dayton, Ohio, to help that community in the wake of a mass shooting and on Easter Sunday to bring a message of faith to those attending the music festival Coachella. The announcement from New Birth came a day after West brought his Sunday Service series to Howard University, a prestigious HBCU in Washington, D.C.  It also came weeks after West defended his endorsement of President Donald Trump, whose support of HBCUs has been mixed.  MORE: HBCUs and Trump: up and down relationship “I went into prayer, and it dawned in me in prayer that Dr. Donda West, who was the mother of Kanye West, is a former professor at Morris Brown College,” New Birth’s Bryant said during Sunday’s service.  Donda West started her teaching career at Morris Brown College as an English instructor in the 1970s, and later became the department chair, according to an obituary. “I know what Dr. Donda West represented while at Morris Brown, and her mind for African American literature, was to empower, equip and engage students to be something radical that can change community and change society,” Bryant said.  In other news: 
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