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A tribute to my mother: A Wave

*Reposted from 2008. 

KC Cole is a writer for the LA Times and has a regular column in which she writes about complicated scientific things in terms everyone can understand.

She was explaining the properties of wave particles one day and wrote:

“There is a big difference between Waves and Splashes.The Edsel made a splash. Elvis Presley made a wave. So did Albert Einstein. A Splash is a one-shot event. It comes and goes like a shooting star. Its energy is entirely self-contained. A Wave, on the other hand, spreads its’ influence far and wide carrying energy and information away from the source, like a rumor passing through a crowd. A wave keeps right on going, ringing out long after whatever started it has gone quiet.”

My mother passed away this June after complications set in from her hip surgery. She was 86. I remember the time she picked up a woman and her son hitch hiking in the rain on the reservation. She brought them home, dried their clothes, fed them dinner and talked to the boy of 16. Like most kids that age, he was without direction, and lacked any resources to act on one even if he had something in mind. Mother suggested he consider AmeriCorps (the local version of the Peace Corps), and in the short space of 48 hours, wrote the letter of introduction for him and encouraged him to follow up.

He did. She got a letter nearly seven years later. He had just gotten married. He wanted her to know he had spent two years with AmeriCorps. He had finished school. He had a job. And a future. He was writing to tell her how much she had changed the course of his life that day in the rain she stopped to pick up two strangers.

I imagine KC Cole would consider mother a Wave.

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