I’ve read the work of a variety of columnists over the years. Some of them give an occasional update of selected topics they’ve previously covered. I used to think those were columns of last resort, a result of having nothing else to write about. So, if you’re suspicious of this week’s offering then I won’t blame you.
March 4, 2019, marks the second anniversary of Joiner’s Corner. It seems appropriate to comment on a few of the people who have been mentioned. Here are four of them in the order the stories were published.
“Sweet Martha Brown” (March 25, 2017) – Miss Martha was only 103 when I posted that story. On Saturday, February 23, 2019, she turned 105. She celebrated in grand fashion at Lilly Baptist Church, laughing with family and friends and singing along on some hymns and old songs. Instead of taking a nap after the party she was going to a rodeo in Perry. You can find her on Fridays at Janis’ Salon getting her hair done and delightfully enjoying her weekly visit. She’s still living at home thanks to her son Marcus. I’ve seen a lot of good examples of children assisting their aging parents, but Marcus Brown has set a standard for long-term loving care that’s second to none.
“The Avon Lady” (February 10, 2018) – Mrs. Ernestine Furlow died January 16, 2019, exactly one week shy of her 101st birthday. Her hospital stay was brief, and she had lived independently at home until then. When I visited her in 2018 to work on a column, she asked me about playing the piano at her funeral. It wasn’t a somber moment like one might expect. She made it clear that she was prepared for one final move. She didn’t know when she was leaving, but she knew where she was going.
“A Greatly Blessed Life” (March 23, 2018) – World War II fighter pilot Charles Speight is still teaching Sunday School at Unadilla First Baptist as he approaches his 97th birthday. In April of 2018 he and his family made a trip to Charleston, South Carolina for the 75th anniversary of the commissioning of the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier. Later in the year Witness to War came to Unadilla to interview him. His compelling first-hand account of wartime experiences can be viewed on the witnesstowar.org website. Mr. Charles continues to be a blessing and inspiration to others as he remains actively engaged in his community. I don’t know if he’s much of a cook, but he sure has an exceptional recipe for living.
“Keep Pedaling” (September 28, 2018) – Alyssa Wehunt’s courageous battle against brain tumors didn’t turn out as we had hoped. She passed away January 20, 2019, after three years of severe health issues.
Reverend Graylen Hall made some comments that will long be remembered by those gathered inside an overflowing church. He spoke of how Alyssa’s challenges had united our community through countless prayers, numerous acts of kindness, and loving expressions of compassion. She touched more hearts in six years than most of us can ever hope for.
I don’t understand the suffering of innocent children, but I know that God used Alyssa to help me be more appreciative of every day that I’ve been given. She helped remind me to be more thankful for blessings that I sometimes take for granted. Her family asked me to play “Jesus Loves Me” on the piano at her funeral. Despite her ongoing trials that became too routine, Alyssa knew that Jesus loved her. It seems like that ought to be easy for the rest of us to accept.
I appreciate the encouragement that many of you have given me over the past two years. Writing has been a rewarding hobby, plus has provided a side benefit of helping me avoid more yard work than I believe my body was designed for. Jane, however, has become suspicious of my oft repeated line, “I can’t help right now Honey. I’m working on a story.” I’ve recently promoted her to Vice-President of Joiner’s Corner, hoping such a prestigious title will buy me a little more time.
That’s all I’m going to write today. I can see Jane through the window by my desk. The wheel barrow I gave her for Christmas is way too full. I can’t just close the shutters and ignore what I know needs to be done. I’m going to take her a glass of water.