This Bettie will always be special

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Sports Talk

By Robert Howey



  A week ago today, I was watching a Sunday morning program and a segment caught my eye.

It featured the declining use of the name Betty. In a nutshell, according to the report, the name Betty isn’t used to name baby girls these days. Think for a moment, you don’t really hear that name much now.

I’m sure it’s rarer to hear, or see the name Bettie. That’s special to me because that was my mother’s name, the late Bettie Weeks Howey.

In the 40 years I knew Mama, I never asked how she got her name. There’s probably a story behind it, but I guess I’ll never know.

As I watched the CBS program, it pulled at the old heartstrings since it was close to Mother’s Day and the name is special to me.

Think of the Betties you know. They’re likely special ladies. The program mentioned a few famous Betties, like Betty Ford, Betty Grable, Betty White and Bette Davis.

Those Betties are in the same age frame as my mother and about the time they came into the world, Betty or a variation was a popular name.

Of course, when I hear the name, I think of my mother. She was a special person in my life. Few days pass without a special thought.

I shared one with a friend, Dr. Bill Williams, a retired Lancaster dentist who had Mama as a patient, last week at church. He told me when he came here in 1973, she became a patient and steered other neighbors to his practice.

An outgoing, personable lady, she had that knack. She would go out of her way to help, no matter the situation. A gifted soprano, she loved to sing and shared her love of music as a soloist at special events and leading the junior choir at First Presbyterian. She was blessed in voice and never wasted her talent.

That special thought about Mama goes back to a few days after her death in early March of 1995. My brother Jimbo and I were going through the house, sorting through a host of items. When you lose your last parent and a home is empty, it’s a natural occurrence.

While we were at the task, the front doorbell rang. I figured it was a friend stopping by to express condolences.

I was wrong. It was UPS with a package for Mama.

We took the package and opened it. To my surprise, it was a Carolina Panthers’ helmet signed by Panthers’ owner Jerry Richardson and his son, Mark.

I remembered Mama told me she was getting it for my birthday.

El Close, a Panthers’ partner, had assisted in making it extra special with the Richardsons’ signatures.

Mama kept telling me the gift was coming. I had forgotten, but it all came back to me as I opened the box.

It holds a special place in our den and, of course, in my heart. Mama was gone, but still giving in a special way.

When Mama says she’s going to do something, you can bank on it. I could always bet on Bettie to deliver.

The Betties might be vanishing these days, but I’ll always have a special one – Mama.