Mother’s Day came and went. I hope that each of you celebrated the mothers in your life. We need not wait for May to do so as moms are what make our world majestic. My Mother’s Day was spent with family and friends celebrating my mother, Shirley Hunkins. Mom passed away May 4 and although certainly the most difficult thing I have endured it was also a joyous occasion because of family. My husband, children, grandchildren, sisters, nieces and nephews were all together for this hardship. We embraced, we cried, we laughed, and we shared.

I am constantly urging friends to tell the stories of their loved ones past and present. These tales should live on in our hearts and minds. They are more than entertaining they are the history books for generations to come.  My mom led a most beautiful life. Adored by two soulmates in her time she was an energetic partner and raised my sister and I to appreciate the outdoors and everything on God’s Earth.  The quests of camping, hiking, painting, and skiing were certainly adventuresome. But, it is the little specialties that come to mind when thinking of Mom. She was there for my sister and me during our hardships and our joys. She painted rocks with the grandkids, took them out of school (she called them skip days) to go fishing or shopping. Mom shared her love for art and photography. Mom knew every songbird and their call. She was an avid rockhound and could identify most geological artifacts. Her love for nature made her an ideal zoo educator. She filled this position throughout the 90’s. It was she who created the first overnight Camp Chahinkapa and it was grand. Through the years the kids rode camels to camp, went canoeing, and learned to “rough it” even if only in the park. 



KATHY DIEKMAN is Zoo Director of Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton.

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