Thursday, November 19, 2009

Senator Gumm's Senate Minute for Nov. 20, 2009 - A Thanksgiving Message

DURANT, Okla. Hello again, everybody! This has been a tumultuous year in our state and across the nation. In Oklahoma, we face budget shortfalls that are having a real impact on people’s lives.

Still, we are a blessed people. This week, we pause to thank Almighty God for the blessings He has bestowed on us.

At Thanksgiving, my thoughts turn to my late mother, Harlene Taylor Gumm. It was the most special holiday for her because she had a prayer answered Thanksgiving Weekend 1963.

Like Deena and me, my parents were told they could never have children. That changed Thanksgiving Weekend 1963, and this true story gave Deena and me hope during our struggle to become parents.

This happened when medical science was not nearly as advanced as today. My parents had been married for three years, and Mom taught home economics at Calera High School.

Doctors told Mom she could not bear children. Despite every possible effort, Mom was given the same prognosis Deena and I once heard: “You cannot have children.”

That summer, my mother started feeling ill. Countless trips to doctors several series of tests followed. Specialists in Dallas and Oklahoma City were stumped.

Mom thought she might be expecting, but every test available came back “negative.” Mom was put on a strict diet and she lost weight. Those of you who knew Mom know she was as tough as they came; it didn’t matter whether she felt bad, she would be at work. So, she kept working and kept feeling worse.

After Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparents’ house, Mom and Dad went home and Mom got worse. She toughed it out overnight but she finally went to old Durant Hospital the next morning fearing the worst.

To the nurses and doctors, she was in serious distress; some feared she might be dying. Mom’s doctor thought she might be trying to pass a kidney stone and ordered an x-ray of her abdomen.

That x-ray was the first picture ever taken of me. To his dying day, that doctor called me “Rocky” after the stone he thought I was.

Once everyone knew what was going on, I was born shortly thereafter. No one, except the Lord above, had any idea I was coming. Expected or not, a child was the answer to a prayer. Four decades later, that same prayer was answered for Deena and me with Jacob. My parents’ story gave us hope, and we share that hope with every couple trying to become parents.

When I was old enough to understand the story of how I arrived, it made me think of this: As difficult as times may be, we all have much to be thankful for – and there may be more blessings right around the corner. May you and your families find new blessings in this special season and throughout the year.

Thanks again for reading the “Senate Minute,” happy Thanksgiving, and may God bless you all.

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