Patrick Graham is the owner of The Walton Tribune, The Covington News, The Sand Mountain Reporter (Albertville, Alabama), Times-Journal (Fort Payne, Alabama) and Jackson County Sentinel (Scottsboro, Alabama). He is a graduate of the University of Alabama.

Dear Mom,

Well, I’m afraid I have some sad news to share.

The mother of AnnaBelle’s “little friend,” as you always liked to call our significant others when we were growing up, passed away earlier this week. Like you, she had been battling cancer but decided to forgo any further treatment. She succumbed a brief period of time later.

Her boyfriend is only 18 years old, so this has hit him really hard. Understandably so. I was 38 when you passed away, and I still struggled — and still do struggle — with the pain of that loss.

I guess that’s why I'm still penning you letters on Mother’s Day all these years later.

Time to get you caught up as much has transpired since our last correspondence.

As I indicated, AnnaBelle has a boyfriend now and him, work and a little bit of school is about all she thinks about. Unlike her sisters, your namesake has decided to forgo working at the newspaper and instead has taken a job at a local pizza place. AnnaBelle got her job all on her own, and there is a lot to be said for that. That’s AnnaBelle’s style though. She always wants to stand on her own two feet. Did I tell you that she is driving now? Yep, officially has a license and has hit the road. I think gas money is her main motivation for working, truth be told.

And I’m sure you can already tell from your vantage point, but AnnaBelle has worked really hard to get in shape in the last year, and it really shows. Quite a transformation.

Tabitha and Madison continue to work with me at the paper and are doing outstanding jobs in their respective roles.

I think Tabitha knows more about our circulation system than anyone in the building, including me, and there has been much to do in circulation over the last year due to significant transitions we have made in that department. 

Madison is doing quite well in advertising sales at the paper. She has clearly been able to achieve great relationships with her clients given the volume of sales she is generating and the compliments about her I often receive from those she calls on. And like AnnaBelle, Madison has a “little friend” who has been on the scene recently. I’m not sure even you would use your pet phrase in this instance, however, given the guy is as big as the tractors he uses to bale hay.  

And Allison, well, I think you would be really proud of Allison. She became a lay Carmelite earlier this year and her devotion to the Lord is an inspiration to all who know her. It definitely is for me as she tries to keep me on the straight and narrow, which as you know, is a full time job. Like you, Allison also has a great devotion to and affection for our mother, Mary. She has taken Mary’s directions about praying and fasting to heart, and does both on a consistent basis.

As for me, well, about all I do is work. I bought a second newspaper since last Mother’s Day, but you already knew about that I’m sure. Like keeping me out of trouble, keeping both of them out of the ditch is a full time job, but we are putting up a good fight.

Remember how you used to have closets full of copies of newspapers I worked for? Now your closets would fill up twice as fast!

 I’ve got to run now. I hope you have not just a happy Mother’s Day, but the happiest.

And tell Dad to be nice and not pull that “you’re not my mother” baloney. Which I wouldn’t put past him, even in heaven. That’s just how he rolls.

Talk to you again soon!



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