• The Greatest Love Story: BAW Writer Gregory Kane Reflects on His Mother, Ruth Floyd

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    “I’m taking my child out of here,” she said calmly.

    After that, hospital staffers were all, “Oh, we’re so sorry, Mrs. Kane! Please don’t go, Mrs. Kane! Can we please kiss your tush, Mrs. Kane?”

    I’ll be darned if those people didn’t find a way to hook me back up to the IV, the right way this time.

    Mom took no stuff from anyone, and cracked what was an iron whip on her six children, whom she had to raise alone.

    Through most of my school years, I managed to bring home good report cards and make the honor roll. I did this not because I was super smart, but because Mom gave me no choice.

    I brought home a bad report card only once. After reading me the riot act the way only Ruth Floyd could read someone the riot act – and Mom wrote THE book on the riot act – she told me, “Don’t ever bring home a report card like this again.”

    I couldn’t believe the get-out-of-jail free card I’d just been handed. Just the riot act? No butt whipping? I resolved to bring home good report cards from that point on.

    Those butt whippings and riot act readings were all inspired by Mom’s love for her children. I later learned that she had not only a mother’s love for her offspring but also that love devout Christians are supposed to have even for their enemies and those that “spitefully use them.”

    On Nov. 25, 1996, my youngest brother – and my mother’s youngest child – was fatally stabbed in Easton, Md. My other brother and I both vowed that when his killer made parole, his ass was ours.

    “Let go of your anger,” she told both of us. “We have to pray for him.”

    She was referring to a guy named Tyrone Mills, the one that killed my brother. Of course, I wasn’t trying to hear it. But years of being conditioned to doing what Mom said finally kicked in.

    I had one of those conversations with myself in which I ask questions and provide answers. (Yeah, I’m one of THOSE people.) The conversation went something like this:

    Me: You know, you can’t kill Tyrone Mills.

    Me: Why not?

    Me: Mom wouldn’t approve.

    Me: DAMN! OK.

    It transpired that Mom meant every word of all her teachings about Christian love, forgiveness and forbearance. On Aug. 24, 2013, there were many tears shed at her funeral, where family and friends thought Ruth Floyd had died. But Ruth Floyd hasn’t died.

    Ruth Floyd has gone home.

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