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A Friend's Compassion

Updated on May 27, 2014

A Day To Remember

Driving home today, I began to reminisce. My mind carried me back to my youth, to a warm Mother's Day in May of 1971, when I was only twenty years old. It was a day that began a relationship with a group of people whom I would learn to love as my family with a love that lived on long after that unity faded.

Newly engaged, I was invited to my future husband's family reunion, taking place at the home of his grandparents in Johnston, South Carolina. It was my turn to be evaluated by the "in-laws" and "out-laws" gathered there. With a little luck, I would measure up to their next generation of hopefuls.

During our lives, we meet so many people along our walk. With some, we will share only a small space. But a precious few will walk into our hearts to stay for a lifetime. That memorable day, I was to meet such a lifelong friend.

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Our First Meeting

Intriguing People

As I stood in the front hall trying to "blend in" with my surroundings, a couple walked in, rushing because they felt they were late for the planned meal. With them was a beautiful, dark haired little girl, dressed in her Sunday best. I was to learn that she was always cared for in this way, standing out among her peers as special to her parents. I was intrigued by them as they hustled in with apologies, hugs, and laughter. It was as though the sunshine had just been let into the front door of the old family home.

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Chosen Few

I Was Drawn To Them Immediately

By the end of the day, I had met everyone and chosen a few whom I knew I would find special in years to come. The couple with the little girl was my fiance's uncle and his family, Ansel, Frances, and five year old, Caroline.

I found Ansel to be so very different from his brother, my soon to be father-in-law. He was always ready for a hug and laughed openly and often. Frances fussed over Caroline, making certain she was on her best behavior, with a wonderful smile and a big hello for everyone. I was drawn to them immediately.

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You Always Remember

How A Person Makes You Feel

As the years of our lives passed, I spent as much time as possible with this family, which increased to four very soon after I met them. Little Ansel was an adorable, yet mischievous, little red head and his parent's pride and joy.

They always made me feel as though I was the center of their attention when I walked through the door, bestowing on me all the warmth of their love. You don't always remember what a person does or says, but you always remember how a person makes you feel.

Time passed quickly and fifteen years into my marriage, I realized we were not going to remain together. It was so difficult to leave behind the family I now called my own, knowing I would have to sever them from my life once I had divorced. It was this realization that held me to this union the last year. But I understood this family well enough to know that I, and the children, would have to walk on alone.

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Unchanged

They Loved Us Still

Soon after the separation, on a Sunday afternoon in August of 1986, I was in the kitchen washing dishes when my eight year old daughter ran in to tell me there was a red car in our driveway that she did not recognize.

I dried my hands, walking out into the carport. As I did, I saw Ansel and Frances' Cadillac in my view. Astounded, I walked to the car as they were getting out.

It was with guarded interest, I said hello. To my surprise, they both hugged me as always. They quickly told me they were worried about me and the children and wanted to stop by to check on us. I had divorced their nephew and seen his family walk away, but it didn't matter to Ansel and his family. They still loved us and wanted to know that we were okay. Did they have any idea what that afternoon meant to me? If I could have possibly loved them any more, I did at that moment!

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Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

Leo Buscaglia

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Devastating News

Without Goodbyes

Years passed, I remarried, moved to another state, and still Ansel and Frances remained in my life, always interested in everything going on in our lives.

Then one afternoon before Thanksgiving, I received a call from Ansel. He was having headaches and had to have an MRI. Needing to talk because he was very nervous about the procedure, he called me. I had an MRI the year before for my back and was able to lay to rest his fears with what I had learned. He was feeling much better when we hung up the phone, promising to call as soon as he received the results.

The holidays came and went and I did not hear from him so I felt everything must have been all right. Then a couple of months later, I received a call from my ex-husband, telling me that Ansel had died from a cancer in his brain. I was devastated. Had I only known, I would have dropped everything to go to him and Frances, but I didn't know. I never got to tell him goodbye.

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Legacy to Family

And His Legacy To Me

I still miss my friend and our talks. I miss his laughter and sense of humor. And I miss his love. Frances told me that his brother came to see him only once while he was sick and only stayed for ten minutes. I wonder now if he realized what he had lost. Did he ever know the kind of love his younger brother had for him...for everyone in his life? Did he know how to love like that himself? If not, I feel so sorry for him.

Ansel left a legacy to his children far greater than anything money can buy. He left his pride in them, his love for them that lasted through their challenges, their successes, and their failures, and he left them the memory of a father whose children was his life's joy. How he would have loved his three granddaughters!

Ansel left, with me, wonderful memories of a loving and forgiving friend whose understanding could bridge the gap left by divorce and just make you feel warm and, yes, no longer alone.

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Pass My Way

by Eugenia S. Hunt

As the sun, burning brightly,

Softly cleansing each new day,

Spreading rays so lightly,

As it travels on its way.

So, a friend shares their love,

As the sun shares her rays,

Like a warm, winter glove,

On a cold and snowy day.

At times, it might be only

A spoken word or two,

When I was quiet, lonely,

You knew I needed you.

Or on the days of sunlight,

When the sky was vast and blue,

We found ourselves, to our delight,

Laughing each day through.

Because you are, to me, my friend,

The reason why I say,

I thank the Lord, all is well,

For you have passed my way.

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.

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Who Is Mom To The Zoo?

My Bio

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 59, 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 "stay at home" mother and wife, one sixth grade school teacher, and the other, after working for Florida Power and Light since age 19, is now with AT&T. 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 22. 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 out of the country, on Ascension Island, 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. He flies in and out on furlough and I handle things here at home. I jokingly call myself a Single Married Woman.

Actually, 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 Riverside Baptist church where I am a soloist and a member of the Women's Bible Study Group.

And, last but not least, we have two singing dogs. Raven is a thirteen year old Skipperkee/Chow with bucked teeth and attitude and Whisper, our nine pound, twelve year old 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. 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!

Eugenia

Has Someone Left A Lasting Impression On You? - Tell Me About Them

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    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 4 years ago

      @mbgphoto: Thank you for sharing!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 4 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Very touching story.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 4 years ago

      I come back with great pleasure to this lens, love the presentation and poetry, and the way you love your friends.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I am revisiting all the lenses that helped Friends of the Park win the Summer Sunshine Award in the summer of 2010. Thank you again for all your support of our organization.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @myneverboredhands: Thank you...I love the flowers, too. And I loved Ansel very much...I am so glad you have shared our story!

    • myneverboredhands profile image

      myneverboredhands 6 years ago

      Very well presented lens, love those flowers. Thank you for a such touching story.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I am so excited and just add to pop back in and let you know that the August payout for Friends of the Park was $86.85 in royalties and $495.00 in contest winnings. Thank you for your part in making this happen! Friends of the Park is so appreciative of all our Squidoo friends. Thank you. Thank you.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @Michey-sq: Hi Michey! So sorry you have had such a difficult time! It is crazy! But glad you made it back in and enjoyed my story! Thanks for sharing!

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @clouda9 lm: Thank you so much...so glad you enjoyed my story...the memories are quite dear to my heart!

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      Michey-sq 7 years ago

      Hi! The entire saga with my account is not solved, so I find a way to do it... LOL

      Beautiful lens, deep thinking and a great presentation

      All the best

      Michey

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 7 years ago

      This is so beautifully written and full of emotion. Just my kinda lens. Thank you for sharing your story and for supporting the awesome charity Friend's of the Park!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Back again. I just can't seem to stay away from all these wonderful lenses benefiting Friends of the Park. We have a meeting on Monday so I wanted to have all of them fresh on my mind to give my report. Thanks again.

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 7 years ago

      Wonderful as usual. I had a friend at school who left a lasting impression on me, he had more courage in his litle finger than the rest of the school put together.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @Spook LM: I have met so many people who have left their impressions on my life that it is easy to find stories to write about them...it is just very hard when I lose one of them. Ansel was so very important to me. I am so thankful that I can still talk with Frances, Caroline and Ansel, Jr. and reminisce. Thank you for the correction as well!

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @Linda BookLady: Thank you, Linda...that's the way I felt when I met Ansel. The family I married into was very difficult and Ansel was always such a breath of fresh air. I loved him dearly and will always remember what a very sweet man he was. I am still in touch with his family on a regular basis. Frances is now 73 and lives close to her children and grandchildren.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @OhMe: Thanks so much Nancy...will do the same!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Back to this wonderful lens to lensroll to my Friendship lens. Thank you.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 7 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I'm so glad I came here to read your lens today. I feel I stumbled on something very special. (blessing this lens!)

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @puzzlerpaige: Thank you so much! And thank you for the nomination! Go FOTP!!!

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @OhMe: Thanks, OhMe! Glad you enjoyed my story! Happy to designate this lens for Friends Of The Park...we Pendletonians must stick together!!! :)

    • Momtothezoo profile image
      Author

      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @Joan4: Thank you, Joan...Ansel was such a sweet person and his family and I are still in touch regularly...I do miss him!

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 7 years ago

      A blessing for me to read this first thing this morning. Off to nominate you for the Sunshine Awards.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Oh Me! You have done it again - another beautiful lens. Your words just flow and are so very expressive. This lens is filled with love and a wonderful tribute to friendship. Thank you so much for designating Friends of the Park as your charity for the Sunshine Contest! I am nominating and featuring on Sunshine Award Nominees

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      Joan4 7 years ago

      What an absolutely beautiful story!