Monday, October 7, 2013

The Fabulous Farewell

Some bright morning when this life is over
I'll fly away
To that home on God's celestial shore
I'll fly away
I'll fly away oh glory
I'll fly away 
When I die hallelujah by and by
I'll fly away.
Frances had a  wonderful send off today. Every seat was filled and that thrilled me. Tim, Zach and I sat with my sister and her husband. I was worried it may be one of those depressing funerals and had my eulogy ready to interrupt and uplift.  Much  to my relief it wasn't needed. Her niece from Tennessee did a GREAT job and gave a funny yet touching eulogy. That's all I wanted for Franny.  That's what she deserved and just what she got!

I want to share a funny story she told about dear sweet Frances.

Her niece said Frances was a champion Scrabble player, no one ever beat her. On a weekend visit from Tennessee she and Frances were playing Scrabble when she looked down at her tiles on the rack and saw that she had a four letter word worth quite a  lot of points. She said this wasn't a very nice word and one she had never said or used and certainly never would. She thought to herself  maybe this was her chance to finally win a game and put her tiles on the board. Frances stared at  the board and squinting up at Barbara said loudly (she said every  thing loudly being deaf) "What's THAT word?" Barbara couldn't bring herself to say the word much less describe it so instead got out the dictionary, looked up the word and showed the page to Frances. Frances read it, moving her lips along with the words then simply shut the dictionary, looked up at Barbara and said in her scratchy voice, "Okay."

The next  day the assistant from social services who came twice a week to help with Frances was there when Barbara and Frances played Scrabble again. Barbara said the young girl always liked to watch them play and stood behind Frances to observe the game. Low and behold, Frances' rack of tiles held the same four letters from the day before and Frances carefully arranged the tiles onto the board to the shock of the social worker. Frances smiled and looked back at the young girl and hollered "BARBARA TAUGHT ME THAT WORD YESTERDAY!"

Classic Franny moment.

At  the end of the funeral the pastor asked the entire congregation  to stand and sing one of Frances' favorite songs, "I'll Fly Away."

It was obvious the preacher cared deeply about "sister Frances" as he called her. It was obvious every one in that sanctuary  cared deeply about Frances. I was thrilled it was such an uplifting funeral. The preacher said we were all invited to the Fellowship Hall where lunch was prepared for us all.

Now you're talking!

I thought maybe it was sandwiches, nuts or crackers but I need all the food I can get so we went. The small church was packed, well over a hundred people. We walked into  the Fellowship Hall and I was amazed to see a huge buffet spread out. All kind of deviled eggs, potato salads, every vegetable you could want, even fried okra. There were butter beans, lima beans, crowder peas, green beans, corn, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. They had at least four different potato or hash brown casseroles. Bread pudding, succotash, macaroni and cheese, pasta salad and dinner rolls. At the end of the buffet line was a huge bowl as big as a wash tub filled with fried chicken.

Another huge table held red velvet cake, pies, cobblers about four other different cakes, cookies and every sweet you could want.

I went through the line twice.

I was so relieved Frances got exactly the kind of send off I wanted her to have and got a belly full to boot. I mentioned to one of the women from her church  that everything looked like it had come from someone's garden and she assured me it did. There were no can openers involved in Frances' feast. The sliced tomatoes fresh out of the garden were the best I have had all year.

I'm sad we won't have Frances around us anymore but thrilled she has gone on to her reward. She can hear again, see clearly again and dance with angels.

I talked with her nephew from North Carolina after my second trip  through  the buffet line and asked for his address. I told him I had written about Frances and wanted to mail it to him. Thankfully my big mouth wasn't needed today and only had to use it to devour all the fabulous home grown food.

 Frances is gone and that makes me sad....for us. I am thrilled for her. I just hope they don't have a Scrabble game in Heaven.

Til next  time...COTTON

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