Happy Mother’s Day!
‘Jay and Karen celebrate the role of mothers and share thanks and best wishes to mothers one and all on this very special day.’
This weekend, we celebrate Mother’s Day. What a joyous occasion when we have the opportunity to show our deep respect and appreciation for those magnificent women who give it their all - working 24/7 – with love and dedication. We owe them so very, very much. More than we can ever repay. And, it’s on this special day, once every year, when we take a moment to pause and say a heartfelt ‘thank you!’ Happy Mother’s Day!
We honor the women who raised us and who have helped us become the people we are today. And, in many cases, facing difficult challenges and struggling against the odds. But ultimately succeeding based on pure grit and determination. With this mind, I’d like to share a story about one mother, named Sonya Carson, who did all this and more for her kids. You might have heard of her son, Dr. Ben Carson.
Born and raised in Tennessee, Sonya was one of 24 children. From an early age, Sonya lived in poverty and bounced around from foster home to foster home. She dropped out of school at the very young age of 8 years old and was practically illiterate. It would be fair to say her upbringing was immensely difficult. She would later meet and marry a man named Robert Carson, move to Detroit and where they would have their two sons named Curtis and Benjamin.
Life did not get much easier for Sonya and her boys, however. After finding out that her husband had another wife who had not yet divorced, the two divorced. Financially, it became very difficult for the family. They moved to Boston briefly before moving back to Detroit as Sonya would often be working 2-3 jobs sometimes almost 20-hour days just to ensure her boys were taken care of. Her lack of education, however, inspired her to become passionate about the education her sons could receive, constantly pushing them to think outside of the box and dream bigger. At one point, Ben came home with bad grades from school one day, so Sonya made some rule changes around the house, limiting TV times, and had her boys reading two books a week and expected a full report when they were done. She would often say to her boys, “Nobody was born to be a failure” and her strict attention to their education would pay off immensely, as Curtis would attend The University of Michigan, and Ben would go on to attend Yale on a full academic scholarship and eventually become a pioneer in the field of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, a presidential candidate, and Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
While on the campaign trail and throughout his life, Ben often acknowledged that without the love and commitment of his mother, he likely wouldn’t have gone on to achieve some of the incredible things he would end up accomplishing in his life. “She always had faith in us, and she never accepted excuses.” he once told an audience. The story of Sonya Carson is just one of many about a mother who did her best to give her kids everything despite the odds. However, she serves as a shining example of all those mothers who have done the same for us, or are doing so now, and deserve to be celebrated. Happy Mother’s Day!
One Perfect Day in New Hampshire
Every once in a while, you read an article that just perfectly captures it. My good friend Patrick Hynes has done exactly that here below in describing a recent moment in Laconia as Little League baseball opened yet another season. Please enjoy!
Kids in their crisp new Little League uniforms processing through town, their eyes squinting and faces scrunched up against the bright spring sunshine. The smell of fresh cut grass. Local dignitaries assembled at the dais — really just a pair of conjoined plastic folding tables. Old Glory snapping in the breeze in center field. A man in his Roman collar at the mic thanking Almighty God for the glorious day and praying for His continued graces. A local young woman singing the National Anthem as everyone stood for the flag, caps removed and covering their hearts.
It was opening day for Laconia Little League. For many in attendance this was the first good day in over a year. During this one weirdly summerlike April morning all thoughts of pandemics and partisanship were light years away.
Fr. Marc Drouin, the man in the Roman collar, kicked things off by thanking the One responsible for our health, our hope, and the opportunity to gather together as a community.
Gov. Chris Sununu took center stage to energize the crowd with his message of unyielding optimism.
“This is a great day for a variety of reasons. It’s been a hard year for everyone, especially these kids and everything that’s been going on with school and isolation,” he said. “But when you look at what we’ve done here, what you all are doing out here in the communities, this is why they are saying New Hampshire has the strongest economy in the country, New Hampshire is the safest state in the country, and that is why states from all over the northeast are looking at Laconia today and saying, no joke, ‘How are they doing that? They are back to normal!’”
I swear sometimes I think he could convince even Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to quit his job and move up here.
Mayor Andrew Hosmer, no slouch in the pep talk department himself, told the crowd, “We’ve been on a long road, but nothing says ‘America’ like coming to a baseball field on opening day and seeing the excitement in people’s faces,” he said. “Baseball leagues and baseball seasons are memory makers.”
Gen. Don Bolduc, retired brigadier general and Laconia native, urged us to value what we have and reminded us what it takes to keep it.
“Fr. Marc brought God to us today,” he said. “You all brought family here to us today. Together we brought community. That is the strength of our nation.”
Bolduc then unveiled the Jonathan Farmer Scholarship, a collaboration between Laconia Little League and the Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation. It is named in honor of a Laconia native and former Little League star who made the ultimate sacrifice in Syria in 2019. It will help future Laconia graduates pay for college.
“Jonathan Farmer represented the very best the City of Laconia has to offer,” League President Joe Dee said.
Oh, the kids played baseball too.
I wish I could report that when young Michael Hynes hit the ball during his second at bat it soared to the heavens and we briefly lost it in the sun’s glare before it landed on the far side of the left field fence. Instead, he hit a soft line drive directly into the glove of the opposing team’s shortstop who, no doubt shaking off more than a year’s worth of rust, promptly dropped it, allowing Michael to reach first base in his first game.
“The one constant through all the years has been baseball,” Terrance Mann said in Field of Dreams. “America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again.”
Just an overly sentimental line from a movie? Yeah, maybe. But we all felt it that Saturday morning.
Michael’s team defeated their worthy competitors in a close 5-4 game. It was the perfect ending to one perfect day in one small town in New Hampshire.
Thank you, Patrick!
Patrick Hynes is the president of Hynes Communications. He can be found on Twitter @patjhynes.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway – 'The 'Railway to the Moon'
The Mount Washington Cog Railway, more commonly known as ‘The Cog, is the train that takes passengers from the base of Mount Washington to its summit, which happens to be the highest peak in the Northeast, and the location of the world’s most extreme weather. The idea for The Cog was that of Sylvester Marsh, a native of Campton, NH. Marsh became lost climbing Mt. Washington one day and came up with the idea of a train to the top that would prevent all the harsh climbing.
He petitioned the State Legislature in the late 1850’s and received permission, although maybe not the encouragement he was seeking. Local tradition holds that the State Legislators thought the idea was a fantasy and impossible thus giving it the name ‘the railway to the moon’ due to the steep terrain the track would need to climb. Nonetheless, The Cog was completed in 1868 shortly after the Civil War, and notably during his visit to New Hampshire, President Ulysses Grant even made it a point to take a ride on ‘The Cog.’
This year will mark the 152nd season of operation for The Cog. The railroad has been running nearly continuously every season since its inception - the only exception being a break during the two world wars. Interestingly, the ‘cog’ reference is due to the unique design of the track. There is a third rail in the middle of what most people would consider a traditional train track that has a grove system that the ‘cog’ from the locomotive goes in, thus providing the train with the traction to achieve the climb. And it is a steep climb! In fact, it is the second steepest climb for any such system in the world.
Adding to The Cog’s other world records, it is the first railroad company to be owned and operated by a woman, when Ellen Teague took over for her deceased husband in 1968 and then went on to run the rail company for the next 15 years. Today visitors can still ride The Cog all the way to the top and see one of the most breathtaking views in the world. I have no doubt that this New Hampshire icon will continue to chug along and bring joy to families of all ages for many years to come!
Positive Profile of the Week: Nancy Sununu
A mother can be proud of the accomplishments of her children. A wife can show support and encouragement to her husband. A woman can lead by example, become an admired role model and make a hugely positive impact. Our former New Hampshire First Lady Nancy Sununu has done this all.
How many people can say they have raised 8 amazing children? Two of whom have been elected to major public office. One, John E. Sununu, serving in Congress and in the United States Senate. The other, Chris Sununu, serving as New Hampshire’s highly popular current Governor. How many people can also say that their husband was elected Governor three times and later served as White House Chief of Staff? And how many women can further say that they were elected in their own right not only to the local school board, but also elected and served as Chair of their State Party? Nancy Sununu can.
The Brockton, Massachusetts resident met her husband in college. They moved to the Granite State, raised their 8 children and since then has called Salem, Washington, and Hampton Falls her home. Nancy is one of the most compassionate and caring people I know. Her dedication to seeing good things happen is why she was heavily recruited to run for Congress in the 1990s, but while flattered and wanting to continue to do good for her community, she ultimately decided it was best to ‘do good’ by continuing to raise her children and be active in local activities.
Nancy Sununu is never shy to tell stories of life in Washington, DC or her experiences on the campaign trail. Cycle after cycle whether or not there was a family member on the ballot, you would find Nancy showing her appreciation for the volunteers staffing a local campaign office. She would bring food, run errands, and even help furnish an office.
I recently read an article about a mother’s touch. It talked about the impact of a mother’s affection and its potential to provide emotional intelligence that would help her children succeed. Nancy Sununu is the true meaning of a mother’s touch. An amazing mother to her own children and a leading role model for the people of the Granite State. Our state is truly fortunate to be blessed by Nancy Sununu!
Quotes of the Week: Mothers
“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
“Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.”
“My mother said to me, 'If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.' Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.”
“A child's first teacher is its mother.”
“A mother's arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.”