My Mother, Sally Dorsey Miller


My mother hiking to base camp beneath Mt. Everest

On this Mother’s Day, allow me to share with you some thoughts on my mother. Consider this an introduction to her, for those of you who do not know her. She is a remarkable woman.

My memories of Mom stretch back, of course, to my very first memories. In those days, we lived on Lake Forest Drive in Atlanta, near Chastain Park. I remember Mom drinking her coffee at the breakfast table in the mornings in that house. I have faint memories also of Tucker and I climbing in bed with Mom on Saturday mornings. One vivid memory is of Mom rescuing me from a tornado in that house on Lake Forest. She sprinted to the basement, clutching my wrist as she and I ran together to safety.

Mom is a truly lovely person, and always had a servant’s heart as we were growing up. We moved to our house on Brook Hollow Road when I was seven, and that’s where I grew up. She made my lunch for school every day, from elementary school to high school. Every morning, she would wake us up for school, and have the cereal laid out for our breakfast. She participated in the car pool for our school–Tuesdays were her usual day to drive a group of us to school. She would have the radio on to Z-93, which was the “cool” station. As I got older and car pooling was no longer the rule, she drove me to school and picked me up each day. It was the highlight of my day to see her car in the pickup line at school for many, many years. Mom drove us to school, to sports practices, to all sorts of different events. She attended every athletic event I ever played in, and was a glad participant. She was team mother for our teams, and class mother at our schools. She even helped my high school get on the National Registry of Historic Places. Mom was deeply involved in all aspects of our lives. She was key to my success as a student, from my earliest days of school.

I remember when Mom went to work when I was in the third grade. She was an interior designer. She made it her custom, however, to be home when Tucker and I got home. It was a rare occasion indeed when Mom wasn’t home when we got home from school. She offered us cookies from the cookie jar for a snack every day after school. The taste of a Chips Ahoy cookie still reminds me of coming home from school!

Mom has a tender heart. My dad would come and pick us up some weekends. I remember the summer after my sixth grade year, Dad took us on a month long trip to Montana. I have the most distinct memory of pulling away from my house, and seeing Mom standing in the window, watching us drive away.

Of course, Mom was no pushover. Tender, yes. Weak, never. She endured endless trials and tribulations brought on by Tucker’s and my (mostly Tucker’s) foibles and indiscretions as youngsters. Punishment was swift and harsh, but just. Mom spanked my rear end when I was twelve years old–right in front of my friend–for talking back. She washed my mouth out with soap for using foul language when I was in fifth grade. Mom was never one to suffer fools. She forbade me from playing with Jonathan in my neighborhood, because he was “sneaky.” She said that his parents did not care about him because they did not care what he did. She was right.

Mom taught us to do unto others as we would have them do to us. She taught us to be positive by her example. Mom smiles a lot, and growing up in her household, we were always smiled at. Being smiled at is a very simple thing, and yet, it can make all the difference in the world for a young person or a child. One thing that has never changed in my 45 years of knowing my mother: she has an unforgettable smile. I cannot count how many times in my life, sitting at the table, riding the back seat of the car, or countless other times and contexts, making the slightest eye contact with Mom, and being met with a genuine smile of affection and encouragement. She still does that.

My mother has a magnetic personality. She is an engaging conversationalist. She is deeply concerned for others. She is a loyal friend. Some of her friends she has had for a lifetime. She is sought after by hundreds of people. She is my mother. I am proud to own her. I am proud of who she is. I am proud to be her son. I love her, and those who love her, I love.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Consider this my act of rising up and calling you blessed (Proverbs 31.28).


4 responses to “My Mother, Sally Dorsey Miller

  1. John, I am one of those almost lifetime friends of your Mom’s. She and I go back to age 18 when we went to Mary Baldwin together. She is all that you said and more….and as we just went back for our 50th Reunion (ooops, it was your Mother’s 30th), it was as if time had not even passed! Her wonderful sense of humor and loveliness are right there and I love being her friend. She is a grand lady, Sally Dorsey Miller is!

  2. How I loved reading your tribute to your mother. She and I roomed together at MBC an I love her dearly. When we went to our reunion we just picked up like we had seen each other yesterday. I have seen her often over the years and I am thankful for each visit. I consider her my very dearest friend

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