A Friend's Compassion
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.
Our First Meeting
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!