I was shopping for a Valentine’s Day card for my beautiful bride, Malarie, on Thursday when the selection for mothers, or moms, caught my eye.

I spotted a pretty one I thought Mom would like when I stopped and realized she wouldn’t need one.

Susan Roy, a longtime friend and encourager of mine, happened to be shopping at the same time. She walked over, gave me a hug and expressed her sorrow over my sweet mother’s death.

“You still want to buy a card for her, don’t you? I understand,” Susan said. Thursday marked three weeks since Mom left us, and it still hurts. I know — it will always hurt. Other than Jesus, I dare say no one loves us as much as our mothers.

The Shelba Allen family has been tremendously blessed by the outpouring of love, sympathy and comfort since her homegoing. There hasn’t been a day that’s gone by without someone sending a card, emailing, texting, calling or stopping by to say we’re thinking about you and your family.

Tony Bright and I have been friends since we were first-graders. He surprised me with a visit Wednesday afternoon, and we spent an hour reminiscing and catching up. I appreciate him checking on me.

Mom fed Tony a few times from her table when we were in high school. Tony also managed my successful campaign for student council vice president at Crossville.

Tony and I discussed our alma mater’s varsity boys basketball team winning a second straight Class 5A, Area 13 tournament championship. I couldn’t help but think of Mom when I heard the news and how excited she would be for the Lions.

Mom bled black and gold to the end. She had a special fondness for Crossville basketball due to the skills of her late brother, Kermit Hammonds, who played guard on the 1947-48 team that earned the school’s first AHSAA State Tournament berth. Mother made the trip to Tuscaloosa with her family to watch the Lions play.

I hope you men remembered all the special ladies in your life on Valentine’s Day, particularly your mother. I hope you called her or visited her, because I wish I could call mine.

Shannon J. Allen is sports editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at shannon.allen@sandmountainreporter.com.

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