Numbers and dates are kind of fun in the way they roll off your tongue. The early decades of this century have provided many opportunities for brides looking at unique wedding dates. Our niece was married on 10/10/10 – how cool is that. Bonus – it’d be sort of hard for our nephew (her husband) to forget a date like that – he only has to remember one number! That’s how we ended up with another significant date in our family timeline – my sweet son is engaged to a lovely young woman and they picked the wedding date of 10/19/18!! YAY! I am so thrilled for them and him and us truthfully. He will be 33 years old when they marry – which should help to explain why I nearly fell over with surprise when he whispered to me in our kitchen while I boiled ears of corn for our 4th of July party – Mom, can you keep a secret. Of course I can, I replied, while secretly mulling over in my mind whether that was a small fib or a huge whopper. He then opened a little black drawstring bag and revealed a beautiful pear shaped diamond engagement ring. They were going on a cruise with her extended family to the Caribbean in a few days and he said he planned to propose on the trip. He found an opportunity when her father and he were alone and asked permission to propose. I’m thrilled to say that he said yes and then even more importantly, she said yes. Her family is so nice and fun and they shared with us that they are crazy about our son – which makes me so happy for him and them. And oh by the way – I did keep that secret and told no one about his plans. Our small but close family members were all surprised when he sent a text announcing the news once they returned back to Florida’s shores and prepared to begin the next season of life.
I should have been born in Orlando. My parents lived there after they got married and that’s where I was conceived. They had moved there to be near my dad’s parents, and near they were. As in, next door near. His parents lived on Circle Dr – isn’t that a cool name for a street – and when the little bungalow next door was up for rent, my parents moved in there. They had moved from Appalachia, where my mom spent her whole life, and her parents before her and their parents before them. She never told me what he said to convince her to leave all of her family and friends behind and move 2000 miles away with a man she had only known for a short time. But it must have been pretty convincing, because off they went. In some ways I’m very surprised, because my mom was extremely close to her parents. Throughout her life she called and wrote them frequently and they came and visited us frequently as well. I know it must have been hard on her to be that far away from them, in a day and time when calling long distance was expensive and traveling long distances was difficult. But in other ways I’m not surprised. My mom has a spontaneity and sense of adventure in her personality that peeks its head out when you least expect it. She was ambitious and wanted more from her life than was offered to a young woman in small town America in the late ’50’s. Later, in the ’80’s, when she and my dad had divorced, she enrolled in a local university and pursued the goals that she had felt weren’t available to her back in those days. She completed a BS program in Social Work with honors, was offered a position in the office of Honorable John D Glenn – D-OH and eventually was promoted to the position of State Director, overseeing constituent services for several years before retiring at the end of his final term. We were so proud of her for what she accomplished, and how she was able to help people that turned to her in times of need. And that spontaneity is exactly why I should have been born in Orlando, but I wasn’t. Because about 8 months into her pregnancy, my mom decided she’d had enough – enough of the heat and humidity, enough of the meddling mother-in-law, and enough of that painful homesickness that being away from her family caused – and packed up my dad, their puppy and a few belongings in their hot rod Chevy, and headed back to Appalachia. She made sure I could be born in the same place as she had been, her parents had been, and their parents before them had been. Appalachia has a hold on people that can’t be explained, and can’t be ignored. And she still longingly visits there, even after she relocated – first she went north and later to a large urban area, when she met and fell in love again. But that’s a story for another blog post.
Well, actually it was a Jeep Rubicon 4 X 4, which technically is a car, but as I am finding out, is part of a whole sub culture of vehicles. Once you own a Jeep, and not just a Jeep, but more specifically, a Wrangler, you’re part of a club. Jeep Wrangler owners notice other’s Jeeps, admire your Jeep’s modifications and shoot you the ‘Jeep Wave’ when they pass you on the streets. Until I was notified that I was the winner of this vehicle, I was blithely unaware of this sub culture’s existence. I had never ridden in a Wrangler, had never off roaded, and frankly, never missed it. The fact that they are built in Toledo, went un-noticed by me. Cars were merely what ferried me from place to place; I didn’t have a ‘dream’ car, or dream about new cars, or give them a second thought. In fact, the car I was driving was a 16 year old Chevrolet Monte Carlo, that worked fine and suited my needs. And, I won it also. But I’ll leave that story for another blog post.
So you say, as does everyone that finds out I won my Jeep, how did you win it. Its kind of a cool story, so let me tell you. For four or five years, my father-in-law would buy each of his kids and their spouses a raffle ticket to Snowshoe’s Treasure on the Mountain (snowshoefoundation dot org). Some years we’d go over to their house and attend the raffle with them, and other years we’d watch the winners list online, with excitement and hope. The raffle is held over a 4 hour period, with prizes drawn about every 5 minutes, so there are lots of opportunities to win. Each year we had fun, but came away empty handed. Sadly, my father-in-law passed away a few weeks before the raffle. And, after the sadness of his passing and the things you have to take care of, on the day of the raffle we were not watching the winners list online. I don’t think either me or Mr. Austerity even realized that it was the raffle day. The raffle was on Saturday, and on Tuesday I had a message on my phone to call the Snowshoe Foundation about a win. At about the same time, Mr. Austerity remembered the raffle and checked the winners list and saw my number was listed. Interestingly enough, my mother-in-law had written names on our tickets to identify who had what number – and she had written my name right next to the Jeep Rubicon’s, on the prize list. Coincidence or something else? I’ll let you decide.
I like to listen to an audio Bible on my drive in to work and the last few days I’ve been captivated by the book of Esther. Its a short book, only 10 Chapters, and I can listen to the entire book during my 30 minute commute. I’ve quoted one of the most famous verses in that book in my blog title (Esther 4:14). I listened to it every morning for a whole week and every day as I listened questions were rolling through my brain. I kept intending to jot them down when I arrived at work for researching later; my mental notes fading quickly once the tasks of the workday clicked in. I finally set aside some time this weekend to begin what I’m hoping will be an in-depth study of this book. I’m not a Bible scholar by any stretch, I don’t have any commentaries or Hebrew/Greek study Bibles. I use my favorite translation of the Bible when I study, the New American Standard, which was a gift to me back in the early 80’s from my beloved mother-in-law. She gave my husband and I each a copy of The Open Bible, published by Thomas Nelson in 1979. The New American Standard translation, or NASB as its commonly called, was a revision of the American Standard Version first published in 1901, using as its basis the 1611 King James translation. The NASB translation project began in 1959 with a goal of incorporating modern ‘American’ English. It was first published in 1960 and the Bible I own was from a translation last updated in 1977. Interestingly, I have lost and found this Bible multiple times over the 30+ years I’ve owned it, sometimes it was missing for more than a year before it surfaced. Fortunately for me my husband’s exact copy was available to sub in during those times. His preference is the King James so he wasn’t as attached to his Open Bible, and didn’t mind me confiscating it. Because of those swap out periods, both copies have my notes in them; notes from my own personal study or notes I’ve taken during church or Bible study. Bible notes are a sort of diary or journal, they record seasons of life from a unique perspective. They also record things like long forgotten friend’s phone numbers, as mine does inside the front cover, and young children’s handwriting practice, as mine does on the last page. Needless to say, I do not EVER want to permanently lose these precious artifacts of my life’s history. Right now I’m again using my husband’s copy, but this time I know where my copy is. My sweet son wanted a Bible and when he moved into his own place, he took my Open Bible with him. I hope as he reads it, he learns more about the God who loves him, and also, as he reads my notes scribbled in margins and on blank sheets, he learns more about the momma who loves him too.
Our family is making preparations for a Memorial Service to honor Grandpa Curtis’ life. No one was a bit surprised that he had left a notebook with instructions for handling his burial and estate. In it he included a draft obituary, the plans for his remains, and the copy of his will, entrusting his sons to complete them after he passed. What a blessing for a family to have something like that. His wish was that no funeral or viewing be held; only allowing that a memorial service could be held if the heirs agreed. I’m thankful that the brothers agreed to host a memorial service in his hometown, and opened it up for any and all to attend. Grandpa spent almost half of his life in that small town, and he has impacted so many of the lives there in positive ways. I anticipate that the church fellowship hall will be packed to overflowing as people come to share memories of this wonderful man and his legacyMrs. Austerity
Yesterday morning at about 2:30 am Grandpa Curtis’ breathing slowed and then stopped. Because of his Do Not Rescusitate order, the hospital staff allowed him to slip away peacefully. Just an hour earlier he had requested that his nurse give him a shave and brush his teeth, and she took care of the requests for him, leaving him resting comfortably once she finished. We received the phone call at about 3 am from Mr. Austerity’s brother, and we were both sad for our loss but also happy for Grandpa. He had been confused since the last surgery, his always sharp mind now playing tricks on him about the people and the surroundings and causing him to respond in ways his pre-surgery self never had. He had begun asking for prayer that God would take him home, and by His grace, He did. Now its a new season for all of us who loved him and depended on him, including his precious wife, whom he married 15 years ago. She’s become as beloved to all of us as she was to him, and while she’s a strong and independent woman, we all want to be a support to her as she adjusts to life without her husband and we adjust to life without him too.
I’m so thankful that I was his daughter-in-law and can’t wait until the day when I’ll see him again.
Today my father-in-law was moved from the Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley, WV to to Pocahontas Memorial Hospital in Buckeye, WV. He’s been through a long, terrible ordeal since last weekend, when he went to the ER at PMH complaining of leg pain. They diagnosed him with an aneurysm behind his left knee and transferred him to RGH for surgery. Over the next several days he had two failed procedures attempting to save his leg and then a week ago had his leg amputated above the knee. My husband’s brothers and he, along with Grandpa’s wife, and Grandpa have spent the past five days attempting to have RGH transfer Grandpa back to PMH, which is about two hours nearer to his home, his wife, and his eldest son and grandson. After innumerable communications with insurance administrators, the wheels turned and the ambulance left RGH about 3pm for the two hour trip. Grandpa will have a long recovery and much therapy will be required to teach him how to do the things he loves to do, like hiking, square dancing and walking his beloved WV trails. He’s got a loving and supportive family that will be right alongside him to see that he gets there.
We love you Grandpa Curtis XOXO