When President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey this week, news outlets and social media went nuts. But this weekend, we celebrate those who have even more power than those two giant personalities.
It’s been said about me that “Chuck Norris doesn’t do pushups, he pushes the earth down.” If I can harness all the power in the universe, as the folklore about my personality suggests, then there are two women in my life who are the power behind my Big Bang.
Truth be known, I wouldn’t have had the success in the first half of my life without my mother. And I wouldn’t have the success and significance in the second half of my life without my wife, Gena.
There’s a Spanish Proverb that says, “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.” That’s true for most of us, but might be even truer for me since my mother is also a saint.
My mother, Wilma Norris Knight, was born in 1921, and just celebrated her 96th birthday on May 4. I can hardly believe it; she can’t either. She is the last survivor of her 11-member biological family.
My mom had a very difficult first half of her life. She was raised in abject poverty in rural Oklahoma, and she was given away as a ward of the state when she was only eight years old. She was treated for two years for a rare disease, living away from the family in a children’s hospital.
When she returned healthy a few years later, she lived through the Great Depression, and her entire family used to pick cotton in fields just to survive.
Mom married my father at 16, but she was abandoned to raise her three boys all alone. I was the eldest, and I often had to assume the roles of my absent father. We were as poor as church mice, but that’s what also prepared me to overcome the obstacles of this life.
Mom has been an example of perseverance and faith her whole life. She’s endured the deaths of all her biological family, her two husbands, a stepson, two grandchildren and my brother, Wieland, in the Vietnam War. She’s had cancer repeatedly and gone through roughly 30 different surgeries for a host of issues, and yet she’s still here to tell about it. (Her inspirational autobiography, “Acts of Kindness: My Story,” is available through ChuckNorris.com or Amazon.)
My mother has prayed for me all my life, through thick and thin. When I was born, I almost died from complications. When nearly losing my soul to Hollywood, and nearly losing my pocketbook as a young man starting my karate studios and traveling around the country to peddle my own movies to theaters, she was back home praying for my success. She even prayed for me to find a woman to change my life, and it worked.
I met my true Valentine, my wife, Gena, when I was filming “Walker, Texas Ranger.” One of my best friends, Larry Morales, came to Dallas for a visit while I was filming. At the time, I was living the single life, and even though I had a successful TV series, I was still miserable. Larry realized that I had everything but I had nothing, so he decided to introduce me to a lady he wanted me to meet. It just so happened that she had a modeling assignment in Dallas.
One evening, I was at a sushi restaurant with about 12 people, including a date, when Larry walked in with a young lady. He began introducing her to everyone, but I was engrossed in conversation with my date and didn’t notice – that is, until Larry called my name and said he wanted me to meet Gena. I looked up at her, and all I could see is an angel staring into my eyes. I stuttered, “Oh … er … hi! Nice to meet you.”
When I finally turned back to my date, all I could see were daggers in her eyes. She immediately got up and left.
After the meal, Larry took Gena back to her hotel. But the next morning, she and I had breakfast together, and she invited me to her fashion show, where she was modeling wedding gowns. One particular gown had a long train, and as Gena was walking, it hooked on a potted plant and she dragged it down the runway. She was quite embarrassed.
Kiddingly, I said, “I was thinking about buying that potted plant!”
The next day, I called my mom and told her all about Gena and about her modeling gowns. Mom said, “Is that giving you any ideas about marriage?”
“Nope,” I said. “I’m never getting married again.”
Famous last words!
We were married in 1998. I’ve been the luckiest man in the world ever since.
Now, nearly 20 years later, Gena helps me run all my enterprises and is CEO of our new artesian bottled water company, CFORCE. But most of all, she is the mother of our twins, the love of my life and my best friend.
Happy Mother’s Day, my beloved Gena and my dear mother! Thank you for helping God to make me all I can and should be.
Trump and Comey? They’ve got nothing on you two!