Tuesday, January 29, 2008


This past summer my husband's sister taped Paw-Paw telling some Navy stories. Yesterday, after the funeral we watched some of that video. In it, he mentioned some pictures that his daughter wanted to know more about. I realized that I had copies of those very pictures.

These pictures were taken in 1950 or -51 while he was at diving school in Bayonne, NJ. The lead boots weigh 16 lbs. apiece. The diver trainees go through the process gradually. First, they are just put in the suit. Then, they go into a 12 foot deep tank of water. Finally, they go in the river.
I'm so glad I got to hear these stories in his own words. He was a true hero in so many ways.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Paw-Paw Tom

Some men grace our lives and we are better for it. Paw-Paw Tom was such a man. He was a quiet man, but full of humor. In the 27 years I knew him, the only times I ever heard him raise his voice were when he needed to be heard over the tractor and when he called to celebrate a Bulldog victory: "How 'bout them Dawgs!"

He was 80 when he went home to Heaven, but I don't think anyone thought of him as "old." Until the age of 78, he was still working at a pace that men 20 or 30 years younger would have found trying. He loved being outside. His yard was always immaculate. He never met an animal he didn't like. He could make anything grow. On his property is a pecan tree that, on one branch, produces black walnuts: he grafted it on.

I truly believe that he loved everyone. That love expressed itself most easily to his grandchildren. Some men are born to be one thing and some are born to be something else. He was born to be a grandfather. The first one was his Sweetie. When the second came along, he added numbers. In all, he had Sweeties #1 through #5. He was not of a generation of men that spent much time in the kitchen, but he made Paw-Paw pancakes every time a Sweetie was there for breakfast. Except for grilling outside, that may be the only thing he knew how to cook! They didn't care. I'm so glad that all 5 are old enough to have solid memories of him.

He will be laid to rest today at Biloxi National Cemetery at 12:30.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Farewell, Pop

Mr. H's dad went home with the Lord this afternoon. We were all there with him when he stepped out into eternity. I know he's with his Lord now, because he walked with Him all through life on this side.

Hospice nurses are angels among us. I don't see how anyone does that without a calling from God.
Pastors who will stand side by side with the family as they say their last good-byes are a blessing, too. Thanks, Dr. T, for making me go when you did and staying like you did. You know how I feel: not weird.

Red Letter Day

Yesterday was a red letter day for me. I was in the big city to help my mom with things. We went to the bank and got a check to pay off her mortgage. She'll be 70 next month. I'm so proud of her. I also took her to do something that she didn't want to ask my brother to do: go to Belk's to buy make-up. I think that we actually accomplished everything that was on our lists to get done. I realized that I'm a lot like Mom in that everywhere she went, she saw someone she knew and stopped to have a conversation. My girls say that about me all the time. When L was younger, she once asked me if I knew EVERYBODY!

While we were downtown, I went by the Clarion Ledger ofice to buy Marshall Ramsey's book 10! He was in and signed it for me. While we were waiting in the lobby, my mom saw his picture on the back of the book and commented, "He looks so young!" (I'll have to pass that along.) After we left the CL, we went to the new post office downtown. I'd never been in that one. When I went in the front door, I was struck by the similarity to the airport in Gulfport, at least as the airport was last April. I think the airport renovation is about complete now. It was a strange kind of deja vu.

It was a long, wet drive down from Jackson. I drove straight to church and didn't miss too much of prayer meeting and was there for all of choir practice. When I finally got home (about 9:00) there was a piece of mail that I wasn't expecting: a letter stating I was eligible to compete in this year's official National American Miss pageant. This is my favorite line in the letter: "National American Miss is a pageant experience designed for you, today's girl: that's why we do not have a swimsuit competition, and you are not required to have a talent." What would they do if I actually showed up and wanted to compete? I just had to laugh!

Monday, January 21, 2008


Sometimes I'm just pulled in opposite directions at the same time. I need to go help my mom take care of some things. Those things need to be handled before the end of January.

And yet the medical people caring for the Sr. Mr. H believe that he may only have a few days left in this life. I am entering the time in my life when I have to balance the needs of my household with those of my elders. It's a hard choice. Mr. H says go take care of my mom. I guess that's what I'll have to do.

Friday, January 11, 2008

New Friday Routine

I spent the day today with Mr. H's mom and dad and his mom's sister. It looks like, at least for the next several months, that's where I'll be on Fridays. The Sr. Mr. H has gotten to the point that he needs someone there with him all the time and he's not strong enough to make even short trips to the store. The Sr. Mrs. H lets me keep an eye on him while she goes grocery shopping, bill paying, or whatever else needs to be done.

After an especially difficult day earlier this week, her sister came down to lend a hand. "Aunt Tootie" (as we used to call her) is a lot of fun. She brought with her some pictures of the Sr. Mr. & Mrs. H's wedding and a beautiful enlargement of Sr. Mr. H sitting with a 2 yr old Mr. H in his lap. I love that picture. Sr. Mr. H was in the Navy and stationed in Hawaii at the time. He is the epitome of tall, dark and handsome. Then there is the little cotton-top in his lap! Every visitor to the house today commented on that picture.

I am so privileged to be a part of this family. I look to Mr. H's parents to see what true love and commitment really look like. Their "happily ever after" may be drastically different in a few months, but it will never end. It will live on in her and their children and grandchildren, and one day we'll truly all be together in "blessedly ever after." Because of the relationship we all share with our Savior, this life is not the end, but just the gateway to eternity.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

How Do They Do It?

How do people who don't rely on God make it through life? What do they do when horrible things happen? Who do they turn to?
Not only do they not have God, they don't have the family that comes with the relationship to God: the church.
When one of our church members ends up in the emergency room or worse, we always get a call from someone in the family. That is something no one should have to face alone. After a call like that, one (or more) of our pastors is usually on the way to the hospital. And then the Sunday School teacher is there. And then other class members come by for support. And there are offers to pick up kids at school and spend the night if needed. There are hands to hold and shoulders to lean on or cry on.
Those hands and shoulders may look like they belong to friends, but they are really God's hands and shoulders. He puts us into the lives of others to hold each other up.
I can't imagine being alone when life happens. I'm glad I never have to be. I have His promise.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Little Girls

Where do little girls come from?

It looks like they grow on trees!

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Lumber and hardware to build wall unit: $510.04

42 inch Sanyo HDTV: $1,180.42

A man with the vision and ability to put it all together: Priceless!

It's Still a Small World

I had another "Small World" incident. Thursday morning our pastor had an accident cutting firewood. (if you want the entire story in his own words, complete with pictures, go to his blog). Friday morning, Mr. H and I went down to see the senior Mr. & Mrs. H. When we got there, the hospice nurse was there, checking out Mr. H, Sr. I asked Mrs. H, Sr. if she had heard about Dr. T's accident. As I told the story, the nurse looked at me and said that her husband had responded to that call. He was on duty in the ambulance that came to the rescue! She didn't know the name of the person (because of HIPAA rules), but she recognized the location (Agricola) and the details (the report came in from the injured man on his fire radio.)

I love it when I meet a new person and we have an immediate connection. I think that's the way the world is supposed to be.