Of Buddy

A text message alerted me to call Rebecca. I called.

She asked. “We’re putting Buddy down tomorrow. Can we come up and have you take pictures?”

Buddy is one boy’s dog. Has been since Buddy was rescued from an animal shelter and presented to Nathaniel when he was in the 4th grade. Nathaniel who is now a man. Nathaniel who graduated from high school last year, Nathaniel who takes college courses now, and who works as a roofer. Buddy is a black dog, nine years old (they think). Buddy is sweet. Has kidney failure. He’s big, and can be scary.

Buddy is one family’s dog. Truthfully, since Nathaniel has reached his manhood and taken on such responsibility, much of the care of Buddy has fallen to Rebecca, my daughter, Nathaniel’s mother. We’re all lovers of animals, and both Jerry and I were attached to Buddy.

“Sure, all of you come on up,” I told Rebecca.

I did not take a picture of Buddy wearing a diaper, for it seemed demeaning to that beautiful animal. Blood and urine and pain. Nathaniel would dig a grave . . .in their back yard.DSC_3376We talked. All of us spoke of grief and love and attachment.

“It’s worth it though, Granny,” Nathaniel said once. “The fun, the love, the good times I’ve had with Buddy makes this time of sorrow worth it.”

Rebecca sent me pictures of the grave and of Buddy’s body. Jerry said, “I don’t want to see them.”

I cried . . .as have we all.

 

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Rebecca’s Gift

Someone had said to her, “Let’s go out front. Want to show you something.”

20140920-untitled (38 of 134)“Oh, that’s a really pretty car.” 20140920-untitled (39 of 134)It’s yours, Rebecca. A gift from your brother Steve. 20140920-untitled (40 of 134) 20140920-untitled (41 of 134) 20140920-untitled (43 of 134) Aw, Aunt Bek, we love you so much.20140920-untitled (53 of 134) 20140920-untitled (54 of 134)We were down at Steve’s to help celebrate his 20th pastoral anniversary when last Saturday all this happened–Rebecca’s generous, giving brother Stephen surprised her with a shiny red Cadillac.

20140920-untitled (50 of 134)I believe I have mentioned before that our dear Rebecca has suffered cruel breaks in life, the major one being extreme and deadly health issues. Literally, she has more than one time been at the point of death. She is divorced and not able to work. Her old car was choking and heaving.

20140920-untitled (56 of 134)20140920-untitled (61 of 134)Sir Winston dressed for the occasion.

In the midst of this disheveled, gone crazy world, where only yesterday in Oklahoma a woman was beheaded in her work place…..there are still those who care, who love, who give. Lots of them.

 

Sam and Lil White’s 70th Anniversary

“Do you know what today is?”

The gentleman addressed the question to his tiny wife who sat across the living room. Always small, she now is tiny, legally blind, and suffering from a painful Shingles attack. She did not answer.

“It’s our anniversary, Lil. Today is our 70th wedding anniversary.”

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And so it was, as my Jerry discovered today when he talked by telephone with his longtime friend Samuel S. White.

I am so sorry I did not recall their anniversary date, and thus did not call or send them a gift, or at least a card for this very significant day. I am sorry they were alone. . . and almost forgot the special day themselves. I am so sorry, for they are dear and precious people and deserved more from me.

Many of you know these exceptional people. Some of you might not have met Jesus except for this rare couple. We have benefited from her leadership among ladies, from his dynamic preaching, and from their generous spirits, and from their sincere love.

I hesitate to post their address, but I know many of you will want to acknowledge this special day in their lives, so I am posting my own address and if you would like to send a card or a letter I will bundle them and send them on to these our friends. Mail letters: Rev. and Mrs. Sam S. White c/o Shirley Buxton P. O. Box 4577 Crestline, CA. 92325

If you’d like to post a message to them here, I will make a copy of your words for the Whites.

Thank you.

Relief Sites for the Philippines

In addition to church organization compassion and relief sites, the following are programs have been set up to aid the desperate people of the Philippines. Taken from Fox News. Photograph by Reuters

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Visit these links to learn how to help victims of the deadly typhoon in the Philippines:

WORLD FOOD PROGRAM

The World Food Program is working to bring food to refugees around the world and people facing hardship due to natural disasters. The organization is mobilizing quickly to reach those in need in the Philippines, according to its website, and donations will help provide emergency food assistance to families and children in the area devastated by a typhoon.

PHILIPPINE RED CROSS

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has deployed assessment, rescue and relief teams to evaluate the damage from the typhoon and to support rescue efforts.

AMERICAN RED CROSS

The American Red Cross, which responds to about 70,000 natural and man-made disaster each year, is accepting donations to help people affected by the Pacific typhoon, according to its website. Donations can be made in honor of or in memory of an individual.

AMERICARES

AmeriCares is a non-profit emergency response and global health organization.  In a statement on its website, AmeriCares says it delivers medical and humanitarian aid to people in need worldwide in times of epic disaster or daily struggle.

SALVATION ARMY

The Salvation Army is accepting donations specifically for Typhoon Haiyan.  According to a Salvation Army statement, cash donations allow disaster responders to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors without incurring many of the costs associated with sorting, packing, transporting and distributing donated goods.  The relief services are funded entirely by donors and the Salvation Army says it uses 100 percent of all disaster donations to support disaster relief operations.

MERCY CORPS

Mercy Corps is deploying emergency responders to the Philippines and will be working with partners on the ground to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of survivors, the organization says on its website.  Mercy Corps says donations will help survivors meet their basic needs and begin rebuilding after the typhoon.

INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has dispatched an emergency team to the Philippines to respond to basic safe water, hygiene and sanitation needs. The IRC plans to expand its response as determined by needs on the ground.

A Particular Day

Relationships are the nib and ink whose line pivots to mark the canvas of our lives. Rich are we whose relationships are many and varied; relationships of differing tones, of diverse depth–some many-layered, others thin, a mere wisp as we pass on this universal trail. Congruent–and inevitable–concerning those with which we have a rich connection is certain pain and certain joy. For of such is life, and those who can bear truth must speak these words. Only those so inclined will dare.

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I looked across the table yesterday and admired Shawnna, the wife of our youngest child, Andrew. Yesterday was her birthday–her 41st, so Jerry and I traveled down to San Diego to have breakfast/lunch with Shawnna, Andrew and two of their children, Chloe and Gentry. Andrew chose a place in beautiful Point Loma, and we sat at little round tables near the sidewalk for a couple of hours, munching and talking.

Shawnna has never said an unkind word to me in the more than 20 years that now she has been a part of the Buxton family. She is elegant, tall and willowy and is of a distinct and quiet bearing. She is intelligent. She is a loyal wife, and when their family has faced significant challenges, she has not once complained within my earshot. She has birthed five exceptional children. I’ve never seen one of her babies dirty or neglected.

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“Look at these little vases,” she said to me across the table, and she lifted the tiny arrangement, its orange flower aglow in the ocean air, for of the small she can take notice.

A man walked past us as he left the cafe, dressed in white from head to toe. To Andrew I said, “Wonder what his occupation is?”

“Rich. That’s real. He’s probably very rich.” And on the way to our car, I saw the man again. “His chauffeur is picking him up,” Andrew said. ImageI wondered at his life–his pain, his joy.

A tremendous conclusion to a delightful day was that we brought Chloe and Gentry home with us, and in San Bernardino we stopped by Rebecca’s house, took in three pizzas from Pizza Hut, ate them, swooped up Nathaniel, and roared up Highway 18 to 138, to our home in beautiful Crestline.

We laid easy plans last night for the three teen-age grandchildren. They’re going to the lake today, taking food and fishing poles, and money to rent little boats. Right now, though, they’re still asleep. So much for early morning adventure.

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Our 57th

Seven years ago we celebrated our 50th with great festivities and, sadly, with a few sorrows. You might want to click on the link which will lead you to several posts about those special days. Part of the plan was that our dinner/celebration with many of our friends, Jerry would sing to me I’ll Be Loving You, Always. What he did not know was that as a surprise I would join with him on the chorus.

untitled (1 of 1)…more years have passed and today we celebrate our 57th wedding anniversary. We’re spending a quiet day here, poked about in our gardens, and ate a simple breakfast. This evening we will go down the hill for a special dinner, and Saturday we’re also doing something special.

We’re long past the giddy giggling isn’t he cute, isn’t she a doll state, but are now deeply ensconced in enduring love and in steadfast devotion. It’s a rich place, safe, secure.

The World’s Best Cooker

Some of my family have been visiting us here in Crestline, including Brady who is ten years old. Today I was polishing a lamp table on which rests a book in which house guests sometimes write notes.

untitled (12 of 12)I flipped through it and, on the last page, found this.

untitled (11 of 12)-2“Dear Granny. You are the best cooker in the world. That pork was so good and the corn. From Brady Buxton

A thing may appear simple and inconsequential to one person, but is called priceless by another. This page addressed to me sets among the latter category.

Fathers and Sons

A father who has a son who says, “Let me pray for you Dad,” is blessed beyond description. If he has three who do so, it is as though rubies have been heaped about him, and he is a rare man, indeed.

A father who has a son who then says, “Pray for Shawnna and me, Dad” and then the two kneel before him, has been granted life in an elevated plane.

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Our Love Story

Sometime back either on facebook or on one of my blogs, someone asked me to tell our love story–Jerry’s and mine–and a few days ago she reminded me of that for I had promised to do so. This is the perfect time: Valentine’s Day 2013.

I had graduated from high school and just turned 17 when I packed up my things at home in Springfield, MO. and was driven to Apostolic College, a bible school in Tulsa, OK. I had always attended small to moderate-sized churches, so when I arrived at that great school that was a ministry of a dynamic, unusual church pastored by Brother C. P. Williams, and in addition lived on campus in the girl’s dorm, it was so wonderful I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

The stars were aligned, romance for me was in the making, for Jerry was already a student there. He had enrolled the year prior after already graduating with a BA degree with Northwestern State College in Natchitoches, LA. The first time I recall seeing him was in the basement of the church where we had prayer meetings before services started. Someone had received the Holy Ghost and he was dancing as he stood atop two opened folding chairs. He was already a leader among the student body, spoke in some of the services and led in worship. I was a peon from Mo. Somewhat later, someone said to him, “I know someone who has her eyes on you.”

He dismissed the news.”Aw, she’s just a kid.” I must have been a pretty effective kid, though, for soon it was obvious the attraction was mutual. Strict rules were in effect concerning dating, one of which was that a new student could not have a date during the first semester there. We were with each other in the dining room, snack bars, chapel services, other church and school activities, until after the first semester when I could have a date. All dates, though, were chaperoned, and everyone was eager to pick certain chaperones–those who weren’t too strict or too “eagle-eyed.”

I don’t often have extra-sensory, unique things happen to me, but once during this time, I walked into a room where Jerry was–don’t recall exactly the room–and a kind of knowing came over me, and I knew I would marry him. Strange. I didn’t tell anyone–didn’t even tell Jerry until years later that had happened to me. We didn’t have many actual dates, for Jerry left before the end of the school year to go evangelizing. We communicated extensively by letter.

…and then came the day at Swan Lake when he had come back to Tulsa. We were in the back seat of a car, chaperones were in the front, and he asked me to marry him. I said yes. I don’t remember saying it, but Jerry says I answered, “You knew the answer before you ever asked.” 🙂

Flowers at the Edge

We were married in a preacher’s home a few weeks later: June 27th, 1956. We had a two-day honeymoon traveling by car to our first revival in Russellville, Ky.

In the summer of 2011, just after we had celebrated our 55th anniversary, we revisited Swan Lake in Tulsa. Click on either of these pictures to see many more pictures.

55 Years Later

A few days ago as we drove over to Lake Arrowhead, we stopped to admire the scenery and I snapped this picture of my beloved. Lucky, aren’t I.

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(Did I tell you that once in the snack bar, he kissed me! A terrible thing!)

Update: 2/14 12:18 pm Jerry just read this and reminded me he did not kiss me in the snack bar. It was in the ping pong room! 🙂

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What about you? Today is Valentine’s Day. Let’s hear your story.

Bent

 

Sometimes it is because of friends–more often it is my family, my children, my grandchildren. A memory can do it or a clouded eye, an averting of the face. Little noted, except perhaps to the mother, the telling wisp of a smile, the brave mask. The aborted dream, the reach that didn’t make it.

…It bends me over and I cry.

Secrets I know. Boulders I see on the trail the young ones will take. Swamps and dark places.

. . . it bends me over and I cry.