Saturday, July 31, 2010

One Amazing Storm

As we drove north through the golden fields at sunset, we could see storm clouds ahead and to the east of the road we would be driving. In the West the sun was brilliant, so we turned in that direction for about nine miles, then veered North again, skirting the worst of the storm, but pulling over several times to take pictures. Do you blame us?

Claye took most of these out her window when we slowed or stopped. Occasionally she handed me the camera so I could get pictures out of mine. Turtle patiently bore with us. The variety of scenes in such a short distance was hard to believe, and the pictures also varied in intensity--from soft evening light to silhouette dark.

The difference was also notable from West to East. As we faced the sun, the background appeared darker. Later, safe at home, we smiled when we uploaded them and saw how beautiful they turned out. Isn't God amazing?

Our day has been rather like that too. We began the day with a drive to the city for a funeral, spent time visiting with my sister, then headed south on a new highway with great scenery (no stopping for pictures there, however. It was a toll road with no space for gawkers)

We arrived in Lawton, met Marie's family, and were all in time to welcome Elijah and Marie into their newly-rented home and watch them open wedding gifts. We celebrated by eating pizza and drinking diet coke with lime.  Life is great! It's so full of variety and shades of beauty--darks and pinks and black silhouettes outlined with heaven's light.

The Red Umbrella

Another funeral today.
I'm wearing black. . . with a red jacket.
That is, if the funeral protocol police don't eject me at the door.

My daughter and her husband will be there, shepherding my grandchildren through the solemn family line, explaining to them that their great uncle Bennet has joined their great-grandfathers on the path that forges ahead and out of sight.

It brings me back to another day...another funeral. On a cold February in the gloom of southern Arkansas, we huddled, shocked and silent in the gray cemetery among the pines as friends and family joined us for the burial of Turtle's mother--as kind and cheerful a woman as ever I had known. Then, as if in a torrent of sympathy for our tear-streaked faces, rain fell.
From my shielded position inside the canopy, I watched as umbrellas appeared all around, gray-black and properly somber. Then, through bleary eyes I saw a marvel--a bright red umbrella in the crowd--bobbing a little, hesitant, not so sure that it belonged.
It was carried by a frumpy little lady, a close friend whose loyalty was stronger than her sense of appropriate.
I smiled--even chuckled quietly inside-- and that secret joy brought comfort.
That was twenty six years ago, but I still smile when I remember it.

So today, I'm wearing a bright red jacket.
I'll be the frumpy little lady.
Maybe, someone will smile.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


My son (whose blog-alias is Elijah) and my new daughter-in-law (whose blog-alias is going to be Marie) are blissfully far away on their honeymoon, unable to access computers to read blogs and such.
Therefore, I'm going to take this opportunity to tell a couple of funny stories about Elijah.

When he was a sophomore in high school, we all piled into the van on Sunday morning to make the fifteen-mile drive to church. He was in his socks, because he knew that surely there was a huge selection of his shoes under the back seat of the van where he was prone to leave them. As we neared the church parking lot, he began to search for shoes. He found one.

"Alright, who cleaned the van?"
"I did. Why?"
"What did you do with my other shoe? Is it up there?"
"Probably not. I carrying a whole pile into your room and dumped them into your closet."
"Well I only have one shoe now to wear to church..."

So we all looked, but, sure enough. There was only one.
Elijah wasn't one to let something like that inhibit him, however. Boldly he walked into church and even sang in the choir. (Fortunately from the back row.)
After church we decided to go out for Pizza. Elijah limped a little as we walked into the restaurant and placed the socked foot carefully under the table. Whenever anyone asked him what happened to his foot, he smiled gingerly, and said,
"I think I misplaced something."
They commiserated; we all smiled.

A couple of years later Elijah dove over our backyard chain link fence to do a front flip and keep running--the way he always did. This time, however, he didn't jump quite high enough. The top of the fence left an impressive gash down the entire front of his stomach.
That fall at football practice, when he pulled off his shirt, the guys in the locker room caught sight of the lengthy scar.
"Wow! How did you get that one?"
Elijah didn't miss a beat.
"Fencing," he replied.