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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Dear Mom

Posted May 11, 2007 9:45 a.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2007 7:02 a.m. EDT

If you wrote your mother a thank you letter today what would you say?  What qualities make your mom special? Please share your thoughts. Your mom will love it.

I lost my mother a few years ago but I'd still like to write her a letter today. Somehow I think she will still get this. Her name was Charlotte Bergeron when she married my father William Leslie. She was a tall, lean and beautiful Charlotte, NC native with dark and curly auburn hair. She flowed with grace and Southern charm. My older sister Stephanie always called her “Mother.” Sister Miriam and I called her “Mama.”

Dear Mama,

Thank you for picking me up off the pavement when I was struck by a car at age four and nursing me back to health after the doctors at Grace Hospital said I would be okay. Thanks for bandaging my multiple sports wounds from baseball to football to basketball. Thanks for nursing my first broken heart in the fifth grade after Susu Fitz dumped me for Jimmy Williams. Yes, I was a hopeless romantic early on.

Thanks for insisting that I use good grammar and sit up straight. Both have served me well in my career. I even thank you for demanding that I always send thank you notes and take time to visit with older people. You were a great role model especially when it came to treating everyone with warmth and respect.

Thanks for encouraging me to sing out in church and for not getting upset when I pilfered  gum from your purse on the fifth pew. I also apologize for frightening you at age three by plunging "accidentally on purpose" into the stone pond behind Grace Church while you were serving on the altar guild.

Thank you for tolerating the massive model train set that Daddy built for me in the basement. I forgive you for throwing away my awesome baseball card collection when I went off to college.

I appreciate your insistence that my bedroom not get "too gross."

Thanks for your great gourmet meals especially after we got older. Your chicken casserole was killer. And your favorite dessert "The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford" is still enjoyed by my family today. We also still like your "green slime" salad recipe.

Thank you for your buttery words. You could defuse the most ornery of customers at our store with your poise, polite nature and command of the language.

Thank you for embracing Cindy and her family. When we married you said: “Bill, this is the best day’s work you’ve ever done.”

Thank you for your beautiful garden and incredible green thumb.

Thank you for leaning on me when Daddy died unexpectedly. It helped me to grow up and really become a man.

Thank you for your grace and humor.

Thank you for Blue Ridge Parkway picnics and homemade pimento cheese sandwiches and bridge with Marjorie, Zonie, Aunt Annie and Uncle Phil.

Thank you for supporting my music and my broadcasting career and for being so proud of me when I won my first Peabody Award. I’m sorry you were a little disappointed when I didn’t go after that CBS job. As I told you, I love North Carolina too much to think about leaving.

And thanks for letting us keep that cute dog we called Sputnik. He became a canine legend in Morganton by greeting customers at our store.

Love,

Bill