Doritos And Sweet Iced Tea
Years ago, when moving back to our hometown, I called ahead to inquire of a job possibility with the same company for the position I had held while in college. Luckily, I was afforded the opportunity to begin work just as soon as we were settled.
I easily fell back into the routine of the business, a job I had always enjoyed. It was Christmas so there were several extra employees there for the season. I soon became friends with Norma Jean, a very special lady, just a few years my senior.
As time passed, we had slow periods where there was time to talk and share our lives with one another.
On one of these occasions, Norma Jean told me of her little boy, Jon. She had great sorrow in her life, losing Jon at the age of four, to Astrocytoma Cancer of the spine. Norma Jean's wounds were still unhealed and painful.
I wondered then how I would ever be able to handle the death of a child, having a little girl of my own. I prayed I would never have to face such anguish.
After the Christmas season was ended, I began to seek other employment of greater advantage and left behind my new friend.
(Photo: Kay, Pam, Jan, Norma Jean, Don, Grandpa Carpenter, Charles and Jon)
A "Lucky" Meeting
Two years later, I experienced the joy of the birth of my son, Chad. Soon after, we moved into a new home on the other side of town. We had wonderful new neighbors and made friends quickly.
One afternoon, my little girl of three, Carrie, as we called her then, and I were playing in the front yard while my infant son was napping in a front room. A dog ran up and joined us happily. He was a mixed breed, about medium size and a golden brown in color.
Minutes later, a young, dark haired girl of twelve or thirteen ran across the lawn, calling his name, Lucky. She had chased him a full block and was breathing quite hard. She called to us to hold him for her, which we did.
I found the young girl to be very friendly and so sweet but with a look of sadness. She thanked us and then hurried home with Lucky before he broke loose again.
Before long, the girl returned and, after playing with my daughter for a few minutes, began to talk to me. She told me a sad story of her little brother who had died of cancer when she was only six. She spoke of going with Jon Jon to the doctor for his Chemo treatments because it made him happy for her to be with him.
I thought how sad it must have been for such a little girl to carry that huge burden.
She went on to tell me of the funeral and her loss as the days followed. It was obvious the pain had never left her, hanging over her daily, for her to tell a perfect stranger her story when first meeting.
Her huge, pain filled eyes broke my heart.
Soon after, she left to go home. In the flurry of activity later of cooking supper and bathing children and getting them to bed, I didn't have much time to think more of it.
(Photo: Jan and Jon)
Discovery, As The Day Is Revisited
However, once in bed myself that night, I couldn't stop thinking of her and realized, though she had told me her story, she had not told me her name. All I could do was hope that she would return for another visit.
As I lay there putting the story together in my mind, all of a sudden I remembered Norma Jean and the story she had told me two and a half years before. Oh, my, could it be possible that both of them had been telling me of the same little boy?
(Photo: Christy, Kay, Don, Jon, Pam and Jan)
A Smile Of Healing
I was anxious for the child's return the next afternoon. And sure enough, as soon as school was out, there was a knock on our door.
As she entered our home, I immediately asked her name. She laughed that she hadn't told me the day before and answered, Jan. Then, I ask her mother's name. She was indeed Norma Jean's daughter and Jon Jon was Norma Jean's little Jon.
I knew then that God was trying to tell me something. Why else would he have placed these two people in my path more than two years apart. There had to be a reason I was there with Jan now.
Jan had not seen our baby, Chad, the day before but ran to his side that afternoon with a huge smile. She scooped him up and began to talk to him with such gentleness, beyond that of a girl so young.
Before long, Jan became a daily visitor after school, and the children and I really looked forward to seeing her each day.
As she got to know the children, I began to leave her with them for short periods of time. In no time, she became my right hand, and sometimes my left, as well!
I watched her with the baby, seeing a bond far beyond that of a baby sitter. I was soon to realize she talked less and less of her loss as she happily fell in love with our little boy.
Chad could never take the place of Jon Jon for Jan but he was healing her heart, one little smile at a time.
And I was given the pleasure of watching this happen.
(Photo: Jan, holding Zachary)
"The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears." Author Unknown
Sharing Our Lives With Jan
It was such a pleasure to watch her interact with both the children.
Carrie, my daughter, absolutely thought Jan had hung the moon and never wanted her to leave. She would hide Jan's shoes, refusing to tell us where they were. So many nights, Jan slept over because it was winter and we couldn't find her shoes. She always laughed so hard and then climbed into bed beside Carrie. It was good to have her there.
I remember Jan's first cloth diaper change. She was so very proud of herself as she carried Chad down the hall. He was now able to stand alone, so she placed him on the floor for me to inspect. Suddenly, the diaper fell down around his ankles and I wished I had a camera in hand at that moment to capture the look on Jan's face! After a great laugh, I took him in and showed her what was necessary to secure the diaper the next time.
Jan loved Doritos and Sweet Iced Tea, so I made certain to always have them on hand. In self defense, however, I finally taught her to make iced tea because I seemed to always be out.
Whenever I see a bag of Doritos in the grocery store, Jan always comes to mind. I see her again, sitting on the counter in my kitchen, her long legs dangling over the edge, munching on a chip, and telling me about her day. I miss those days with her.
(Photo: Amy (fellow baby-sitter and friend), Chad, Jan and Carrie)
Cherish Memories From God's Hand
The days of my memories are now almost thirty years behind us.
Today, Jan and her husband, Larry, have three children and, yes, their oldest is named Jonathan. Jan is a wonderful mother and her children are her life.
We live states away from each other but, thanks to Facebook, are still in daily contact.
I told Jan once that she is like my oldest daughter in many ways and I cherish the memories we have made together.
However, what I cherish most is the opportunity God gave me to help a sad little girl, with a huge hole in her heart, to heal. And the tool of that healing? A lost dog named Lucky and a little, baby boy named Chad.
You just never know where God will lead you and you never know what God is leading you to. But you can rest in the knowledge that he has a plan and a reason for you to be where he places you for each moment.
Keep your eyes open because it is always there in wait for you to recognize and grasp...God's outstretched, guiding hand.
(Photo: Jan and her husband of almost 23 years, Larry)
"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." Helen Keller
Thank you, Jeanie, so much, for this story. It means so much to me and my family. We still miss Jon dearly. Sometimes, I find myself talking to him when I am down or worried. It's like he is still here with me. I love that song by Sandi Patti, "Hand On My Shoulder." I will sing it to myself when I am alone and I imagine that on one shoulder I have God's hand and on the other, I have Jon's. God and my Angel, by my side. Thank you! Jan
"Hand On My Shoulder" by Sandi Patti
Wedding Day 1956 - Jan and Jon's Parents, Charlie and Norma Jean Carpenter
A Message From Jan and Jon's Father on Valentine's Day 2012
What a wonderful tribute to their mother!
One day I looked across the classroom at North Greenville Jr. College and my eyes met with the eyes of a beautiful red-head. I thought that she was the prettiest gal that I had ever seen. As things worked out, I quit going with the girl I had been dating and, with the encourgement of her friend, I asked this red-head to go to the Junior/Senior banquet. After her accepting the invite, we thought it best if we dated before then.
So, our first date was the Sunday before the banquet. As fate would have it, I met her parents and she met mine. The next day my dad let me know that he really liked that red-headed girl that he met. Of course, I let him know that was my feelings as well.
Those few days and happenings drew my thoughts toward her increasingly more and more each day.
Three months later, we were engaged and one year later we were married.
Now, we have been married for fifty-four plus years. After these years and five children, I can say that I love her more and more each year.
By the way - her name is: NORMA JEAN.
Wings Of Whispers
by Eugenia S. Hunt
A gift from God,
A baby's smile,
Loaned to us
For just a while.
Our wish for you,
To sleep, protected,
In God's Plan.
To touch your ear,
Sung by Angels
Wings of Whispers,
Shields of grace,
His smile, forever
Upon your face!
"I have never met a person whose greatest need was anything other than real, unconditional love. You can find it in a simple act of kindness toward someone who needs help. There is no mistaking love. You feel it in your heart. It is the common fiber of life, the flame that heats our soul, energizes our spirit and supplies passion to our lives. It is our connection to God and to each other." Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
Eugenia S. Hunt's Work Is Copyrighted
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
No one has permission to copy or use this article other than for presentation on this Squidoo Website
Who Is Mom To The Zoo?
Born in the small town of Pendleton, South Carolina, in 1950, I was the oldest of two, five years my sister's senior. It was a wonderful place to grow up where the entire town raised its children. I was always surrounded by people who loved and looked out for me. I graduated from High School with the same people who were in my kindergarten class. At 60, my childhood friends are still my friends. I feel so fortunate to have known such a childhood.
After college, I worked at Clemson University until May 1972. At that time, I married and lived in Glyfada, 22 miles from Athens, Greece for two years...via USAF. We then moved to North Dakota for another two years before returning to South Carolina.
We divorced after 16 years and two children. I married my best friend two years later and moved to Florida in 1988 and together we have raised my husband's son and daughter and my son and daughter...one federal officer, one pastor's wife, one sixth grade school teacher, and the other, after working for Florida Power and Light and later AT&T since age 19, now ownes his own business. In 1996, I adopted my step daughter. We are blessed with four grandsons and one granddaughter.
In 1999, we became foster parents with the Children's Home Society and had a number of children under our roof in the next 5 years. In 2001, we adopted a 13 year old girl, whom we first met at the age of 11, and is now 23. I also have spent more time in a courtroom than I care to think about, fighting for the rights of the children in our care. In 2004, I turned in my license so that I could be a full time Mom to our special needs daughter and keep our infant granddaughter five days a week while her mother was teaching.
Bill, my husband, is a retired USAF Air Traffic Controller. He is now working with Computer Science Raytheon, as their chief controller, contracted out of Patrick AFB, Florida. This enables him to continue to do the job he loves, air traffic, and aid the military.
I am a retired Accountant/Credit Manager, now a housewife, where I enjoy writing, singing, piano, and sewing. I have had numerous poems and short stories published and have sung in churches and for church organizations for years, as well as weddings, a couple of variety shows, and even at my daughter's, and later my son's, weddings, one of the hardest things I have EVER done. We are members of a Baptist church where I am a soloist and sing in the choir. I am also a member of the Women's Bible Study Group and work on the Mission's Committee.
And, last but not least, we have two singing dogs. Joey is a 2 1/2 year old, 80 pound German Shepherd who thinks himself a lapdog and Whisper, our nine pound poodle, who thinks himself a Doberman.
I have been Mom To The Zoo since the morning after our wedding. My friend, Lee, who was staying with our four children and two dogs answered the phone from a sound sleep, "Hunt Zoo, Zookeeper Speaking."
My life has involved many changes and avenues that I would never have dreamed of and has given me challenges that I never thought I was equal to. But, I have found that God has a plan and, if you follow His lead, you can handle anything he puts in your hands. However, you have to first learn to listen to Him. No matter what we want from life, it must come in His time. He has given my husband and me more than we could have began to imagine back in high school and we have found that what we thought was so important for our futures back then was nothing to what we have done so far. At 60, I have learned from our foster children, to look forward to the future and the next challenge with enthusiasm and excitement. If they can trust and love us after what the world has dealt them, we can surely tackle whatever lies ahead with ease. Life is a series of learning experiences and I continue to find life to be both a challenge and a joy which grows with each passing year. I learn more and more about myself with each passing day!