RUSH: Something happened that got me thinking about my mother. What kind of crazy world is it where a crazy person can abduct the mother of Cal Ripken Jr. and drive around in his car with her tied up in the backseat? Cal Ripken Jr.’s mom was abducted, and this guy that took her didn’t know who she was. He went and got her fast food, and he also got her cigarettes. If they ever find him, that’s what they’re gonna charge him for, no doubt, is giving her cigarettes. Her name is Violet, and her husband, Cal Ripken Sr., labored forever in the minor leagues and finally got his promotion to coach and manager in the major leagues with the Baltimore Orioles. She survived as surrogate mother to all those minor league players that came through when her husband was a manager.
Now, the reason this struck home to me, it’s a different world. Those of you who have been listening to this program since the beginning will no doubt remember my mother and her numerous appearances on this program and on the television show. She was the queen of the blue-haired Bloody Mary gang, as I called her and her friends. But I lived in mortal fear that something like that would happen to her all the time. Now, we grew up in a little town in Missouri, and when this program first started and was just building, it was the kind of white-hot, popular, associated-with-something-new, unique, everybody glomming on to it.
People driving through southeast Missouri would pull off I-55, drive in to Cape Girardeau, and look up my mother. They’d go by the house and she’d let ’em in! Thankfully, every one of ’em was a solid, upstanding citizen fan. Folks, I’ll tell you, I got so mad one day. It got to the point, I’d go home to visit my mother and I’d get there, there would be 150 books stacked up on the table in the dining room that she’d collected from people who had been sending ’em in. I said, “Mother, I’m coming here to get away from this.”
“No, son, these people love you. They sent me those books, and you’ve gotta sign ’em so I can send them back.”
I said, “I’m not gonna have time to talk to you.”
“That’s okay. You have to pay attention to these people.”
The fact that people all over the country loved her little boy just was the greatest thing that ever happened to her. And everybody that met Millie loved her, too. (interruption) Well, they tried to see my grandfather. He was a little bit more difficult to reach. Folks, my mother invited the National Enquirer in to have coffee when they came by. “Son, we’re Limbaughs, we got nothing to hide. If they want to see your draft records, I’ll be glad to show ’em to you.” She did that. The Enquirer reporter said, “I can’t believe this.” Of course, I don’t know about any of this until it’s over. And I said, “Mother, look, this is my business. You can’t be injecting yourself.” “No, no, son.” I was always the son. I never knew what was good for me. I never knew the right thing to do.
I remember I got so mad one day when I finally had to start flying privately just for the privacy and the security of it. She’d pick me up at the airport and I’d spend the weekend and on Sunday she’d take me back to the airport. Well, one Sunday she was behaving extremely different, eager for me to leave. Normally wasn’t the case. Kept reminding me I had to get to the airport. And I said, “Well, I’m just standing by at noon.”
“No, you really should get there a little earlier, ’cause you never know, the weather.”
“No, the weather’s fine, I’ve checked it.”
She said, “By the way, I’ll meet you out there. I’ve gotta go do some things, so I’ll just meet you at the airport. David can take you.”
So David came, picked me up, we drive to the airport, we drive up to the airplane, and I can see immediately there’s her car, and there’s another car, and I look in the windows of the airplane, there’s a bunch of people in there. And David will tell you, I slammed the door on his car so loud I nearly broke it. I got on the airplane, and she had four people she didn’t know who had stopped in the week prior to say hello, and she’d invited ’em back to meet me and hadn’t told me. They’re big fans, and she hadn’t told me any of this, and they’re on the airplane. I get on the airplane and there’s these four people that I don’t know, and there’s no way that this could happen today.
But when I see that Cal Ripken’s mother was abducted, I lived in mortal fear that that was gonna happen to my mother every day. I mean, people would stop in from all parts of the country. My grandfather’s 102nd birthday. She invited people that stopped in that day. And I see Cal Ripken’s mother’s kidnapping or abduction, and it just got me thinking how fortunate it was that never happened. It’s a testament to the people in this audience, too, because there aren’t people in this audience of the type who would go abduct somebody’s mother, which was very, very fortunate. But she was just so proud that the people of this country loved her little boy. If they called her or if they wrote her a letter, or if they sent her a book of mine to sign, they were king and queen, and she wanted to make sure that they knew that our family appreciated ’em.
I think a couple of ’em even spent the night with her once in the guest room, a couple from St. Louis. (interruption) Well, no, when I got on the airplane I could not cover my anger. I mean that’s a breach. I remember, I didn’t talk to her for two months after that, on purpose. I had to send a message. That’s exactly right. (laughing) I had to put a stop to it. No, it didn’t work. Didn’t work. ‘Cause even then I didn’t know what I was doing. I was always the little boy who didn’t know what he was doing.
Or I didn’t know what was best for me. I didn’t know what I was doing. Anyway, she was a total class act. I just think about how, as I say, Cal Ripken’s mother was abducted by some wacko. He was driving around with her tied up in the backseat of the car. And because my mother made herself so accessible, so desirous of it, it’s just a stroke of luck that something like that didn’t happen. You know, we grew up in an age where we didn’t lock the doors. We didn’t have suspicion of the neighbors. There are still pockets of the country where people can live like that, but they’re not very many.
I think that’s the kind of world that Cal Ripken’s mom grew up in, and that’s probably why this happened to her in a way because she doesn’t think about it. The era in which she grew up, mentoring and being surrogate mother to all these minor league players that came through town, she was probably somebody who saw the best in everybody. That’s what was, I guess, the characteristic about my mom. She saw the best in everybody — except me, as her son. (laughing) I’m just kidding. It was quaint, you know, how no matter what I did I still — at times, in certain things — didn’t know what was best for me.