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Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant

Dear Mama Dot,

You entered this world 98 years ago.  Today, you entered heaven.

I am so thankful I got to see you one last time in September; however, our visit did not afford me the time I needed to tell you just how much you have meant to me.

I met you twenty-five years ago.

You opened your home to me every Saturday, when you served the kind of lunch that always typified your home…large, home-cooked, Southern food…much of it battered and fried…vegetables straight from the garden.

How I treasured those meals.  They were among the best I’ve ever eaten, prepared by your faithful companion, Mary.

You were quite the spry thing for a lady in her 70’s, and your sense of humor was wicked.

Time passed, you got older, and our visits became infrequent.

Still, I knew I could always count on you to “ask” me to take you to Walmart every time I visited.

I still smile when I remember how you were quick to go off on your own the second we entered those doors.  It was your time to shop, and you wanted no part of whatever I was doing in the store.

That was okay with me, because we usually met up at the cash register after an hour…right about the time you’d had your fill.

I remember how you purchased my first honest-to-goodness supply of Christmas decorations.  The Mr. was not happy at the large bags of wrapping paper and lights that came home with me the first few years.

One of my favorite things that you used to say, when in the middle of slipping us some money, was never to, “Let your left hand know what your right was doing.”

That was code for, “Don’t you dare tell Papa Bernard that I gave you money.”

You knew that he’d be slipping us some before we left, and to say anything about what you’d given would make him change his mind.

I remember the Christmas when I was upset about how my visit with my own mom had gone.  I was pregnant with Rooster, I think, and you sent me shopping with Julie and a wad of cash.  You wanted me to buy a stylish maternity outfit…something I couldn’t afford.

That trip to Dothan really made my afternoon and took my sadness away.

Another thing I’ll never forget is the way you could never sit still!  You had to be up, cleaning something or putting stuff away.

Nowadays, we call that condition “ADHD.”  For you, it was seeing things that needed doing and taking care of business.

It hurt to see you stuck in your recliner the last few years of your life…especially during our final visit.  I could see that you were itching to get up, but your body was failing you.

Mama Dot, if there’s one thing about you that that stands out from the rest, though, I think it was your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world.

You had a steadfast assurance of God’s promises, and you didn’t hesitate to share with anyone who was within earshot.

Though I know that you are living it up in the mansion the Lord prepared for you, I’m going to be real honest with you.

Things just aren’t going to be same any more.

Where else am I going to go and watch reruns of Lawrence Welk, turned up at full volume because nobody can figure out how to work the remote?

Who’s going to fix veal cutlets and serve up grape juice when we go visit?

Saying goodbye to you is like saying goodbye to a part of my early adulthood, and I don’t feel prepared to do this.

Snippets of memories keep rushing in…

You, announcing that we were going to have a girl when I was pregnant with Chicky, and us believing it because, in our words, “Mama Dot has a direct line to heaven.”

Nine months later, Chicky was born.

You, presenting us with what you announced would be the ONLY baby quilt you would ever make because of the work it took, and Chicky loving on that blanket until it was tattered.  The only remnants left are a few squares.

Memories of you driving…was this your sly way of getting me to pray more?  I think I prayed more during those trips than all of my life combined.

😀

Thank you for your kindness.

Thank you for welcoming me into your family as the first “granddaughter.”

Thank you for loving my children and creating memories that they will carry with them the rest of their lives.

I pray that you are enjoying sweet reunions…

Papa Bernard…

Aunt Lula…

Mary…

…and countless others who have passed before you, for I know there have been many in the 98 years you lived here on earth.

I pray that you will finally give yourself permission to sit down and rest a bit, not because you have to, but because you can.

I want you to enjoy the rewards the Lord is showering upon you…

Rewards for a life well-lived.

I will always love you and look forward to our own reunion one day.

Love,

AuburnChick

Christmas 2012

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