Work hard. Always be ready. Look your best.
My mother Ester Burns was a Texas farmer’s wife—and a farmer herself. She cooked, sewed and cleaned the house. She also worked in the fields, hoeing the cotton and then picking it. She fed the cows, slopped the pigs and branded the cattle. She drove bales of hay to the cotton gin.
Ester worked all the time and worked hard, and she taught me to work hard.
Even when she knew she was going to spend the day in the fields, Ester made sure her house was clean and she looked presentable. She made the beds, washed the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. Then, she put on her makeup, fixed her hair and added a little color to her lips. She was always ready—to work inside or outside the house or to entertain if a neighbor came to visit.
My mother taught me to always be ready—to be prepared for whatever the day or life might bring.
My mother cared about looks, behavior, manners, clothes, cleanliness and being smart. She was my role model for all that I would become. From her, I learned that I was smart and that it was important for me to do well in school. I also learned the importance of looking your best. Even though I was a girl who preferred to be outside playing sports, she made my clothes and dressed me in lace and ruffles.
Ester taught me to look my best and to do my best whether I was helping on the farm, playing sports or doing schoolwork.