Home > Stories From Small Town > Footprints I Strive to Follow

Footprints I Strive to Follow

Twelve years ago I lived amid the hustle and bustle of the city in Phoenix, Arizona. I read an article in our local newspaper and clipped it out.

A woman came home from work, entered her home and walked into her bedroom to change out of her business attire. Her elderly mother was in the next room taking a nap and sleeping through the high volume of the television because of her hearing deficiency.

The front door of the home had stain glass panes and unknown to either woman, a man broke the glass, unlocked the door, and entered the residence a few minutes behind the homeowner. He walked past the room with the blaring television and went into the master bedroom. He saw a purse lying at the foot of the bed and grabbed it.

Ms. McNally, standing in her walk-in closet, had just kicked off her shoes when she heard a noise and turned to see the man make off with her purse. She gave little thought to personal safety and was angry that some stranger invaded her home. She gave chase.

The burglar ran out the front door where a small pickup truck was waiting with a female driver. He chucked the purse into the bed of the truck and then got into the passenger seat. The truck took off. Unfortunately for the two crooks, Ms. McNally had jumped into the back of the truck to retrieve her purse. She grabbed it and noticing several other items, that looked to be stolen, she began throwing them onto the street.

As the vehicle slowed to go around a corner, she jumped out and then stood her ground as the truck sped away. She calmly took a pen from her purse and wrote down the license number. After notifying authorities, the truck was discovered to be stolen and several homes in the area had been victimized by the overconfident criminal couple. They were subsequently caught and prosecuted for their crimes.

The story was then published in the local paper. Ms. McNally was fifty-seven years old. I decided to write this post because a friend and follower of my blog referred to me as her hero. This makes me blush but also cringe slightly. I don’t feel like a hero but what an incredibly awesome thing for someone to say.

I’ve wanted to write this story for years and talk about my hero. I couldn’t find that long ago newspaper article but I know the story intimately. Ms. McNally is my mother.

My grandmother died a few years after this incident. My mom retired and bought a garage on one-hundred acres of property. She redesigned the interior and made a lovely home doing all the work herself. This includes wiring and building the walls. She has no electricity bill because she lives on wind generation and solar power. She’s a vegetarian and refuses to allow local hunters to go after a mountain lion living on her property. She owns a shotgun and the ratchet saved her life once but that’s another story.

I get the audacity to challenge life from a woman who continues to inspire me. She never blinked an eye when I went to the police academy at the age of forty-five. She knew I would achieve whatever I set out to do. She turned sixty-eight this year and she’s still beautiful and determined. Thank you mom, I have big shoes to fill.

  1. March 29, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I tip my hat to your mom!

  2. March 29, 2012 at 10:38 am

    What a beautifully written & inspiring story about your “hero”! In an age when so many around us are complaining about each other, it’s refreshing to read a piece uplifting someone else in recognition. The fact that this person also happens to be your mom is icing on the cake!

    • March 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

      My mom is incredible! thank you.

  3. March 29, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Great post, Suzy. Very inspiring. Maybe your children will write similar stories about you.

    • March 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

      Thank you for that lovely picture 🙂

  4. March 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

    That is an awesome story, and so inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  5. March 29, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Who says heroism isn’t genetic? 😉 In all seriousness, Suzie, you’re very much a hero for what you’ve done and continue to do. Don’t underestimate how much YOU inspire others, and carry the torch your mother has given you with pride. Hugs, my friend.

    • March 29, 2012 at 11:00 am

      There goes the blush again. Thank you!

    • isthisthemiddle
      March 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm

      Took the thoughts out of my head. Suzie is a role model for me. PLUS she’s a fabulous writer!

      • March 29, 2012 at 3:24 pm

        Coming from a teacher, I take this as high praise!

  6. March 29, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Suzie — Awesome!! What a wonderful tribute to your mother! I’m getting all teary the more I think about it! And I agree with Linda P. You’ve definitely got a generational heroism thing going on.

    • March 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      You gals are too much and keep embarrassing me but thanks 🙂

  7. Ima Blogreader
    March 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    What a wonderful story! I want to meet your mother. You’re right, that’s where your determination and courage came from – kids (and adults, too) learn by example.

    • March 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      Thank you, she has no idea how awesome she is and how much she continues to inspire me.

  8. March 29, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    What a wonderful post.

  9. Suz
    March 29, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I think she raised you right…

    • March 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      She just called and told me the post made her cry. She did a damn good job of raising me right 🙂

  10. March 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Suzie, I think your mother is wonderful, and it is so awesome that you would give tribute to your Hero. It is wonderful because you are mine. Your determination to do something with your life, to be the woman that you wanted to be, well, you are my Hero.

    Love and much hugs,

    • March 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      You know you’re the friend I speak of in this post 🙂 You always make me feel wonderful and I want to live up to your expectations. You make me a better person.

  11. March 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Wow! Your mom is certainly a worthy hero. How inspiring! And kudos to you for figuring out what you wanted to be when you grew up and going out and doing it!

    • March 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      I’m still growing and wondering what to do after middle age. Too bad they got rid of the space program.

  12. Nancy
    March 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I love reading your work! I have been fortunate to run across strong inspiring women lately. Middle age is so awesome.

    • March 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      I definitely agree with you about middle age 🙂

  13. March 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Wow, so you got those sh*t-kicking tendencies by ancestry! Your mom sounds like one hell of a woman – as is her daughter. 😉

    • March 31, 2012 at 7:22 pm

      When I was young, I did not want to grow up to be my mother. The older I get the more I want to be her. I’m even looking more and more like her everyday. That’s not a bad thing either.

  14. April 3, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Great post. Your mother is what I call a “Dream Parent,” a parent who encourages their children to go for their dreams!

    • April 3, 2012 at 6:50 am

      I love that. She is an awesome Dream Parent and her great grandchildren are now reaping the benefits.

  15. April 3, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Suzie, this is AMAZING, and further reason that I put you in this list for the Sunshine Award:


    Have an AWESOME day! 🙂

    • April 4, 2012 at 8:25 am

      Thank you Julie, sunshine always takes away my blues. It’s an awesome award!

  16. gendmom
    April 4, 2012 at 8:48 am

    What a beautiful post, your mom sounds like an amazing, strong women, it’s no wonder she has a daughter who can write so passionately about her!

  17. crytzerfry
    April 5, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I had GOOSEBUMPS the whole time I read this post. I was not surprised in the least that this woman was your mother (but the way you unraveled and revealed the details of this story was expert, Suzie… so expertly written). What an incredible mother — and yes, a hero! I love your mom, though I haven’t yet met her 🙂 (she scores BIG points with me on the mountain lion stance!!)

    • April 5, 2012 at 10:21 am

      I’m so excited about your visit later this month and maybe we will see her mountain lion (from a distance). For all my blog friends Crytzerfry is doing a ride along with me in Small Town. I will try not to bore her to death 🙂

  18. April 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    The apple clearly, doesn’t fall far from the tree. No wonder you are who you are, Suzie. When God was handing out tenacity, you all apparently weren’t satisfied with a single portion. You took the whole pot! Great post!

    • April 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      Thank you Grace, smiles, hugs and laughs!

  19. April 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I LOVE this post. I’m so glad I didn’t skip over it in my desire to “catch up” (like that’s ever going to happen.) I need to tweet this, but am riding in a car using an iPad. When I tried earlier I couldn’t get another post to tweet. I’ll give it a go.

    • April 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      I have trouble with my Ipad too. I want to scream when it comes to trying to copy paste a URL. Good luck!

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