tears and laughter

The earth lay cloaked in her winter’s garb as she recieved the lovely shell of a beautifully lived soul.  It was a day of tears and laughter as we said our last goodbye to Sis. Fern.  It was one of the most beautiful memorial services for anyone I’ve ever been to.  Bro. Encil, my father, and Fern’s niece, Sue, all spoke fitting words commemorating her life well lived.  I really enjoy it whenever speakers share personal memories and experiences shared or stories heard of the person who has departed.  It is even more personal when family members share from a lifetime of knowing them.  All of the above happened.  I thought I would share a few of them…

  • Sis. Fern lived in Michigan for some years and was in Bro. Atwell’s church.  A music leader was needed and out of duty, she took lessons and played the piano there for quite some time.  She also served as the choir director.  Bro. Charlie Mayes, whom many of you know, lived there then also and also was a part of the choir.  He was serving as an assistant pastor to Bro. Atwell at that time and was responsible for taking care of many of the problems within the church.  One day, Sis. Fern went to him and said, “Bro. Mayes, I have a problem.”  Asking what it was she began to tell him that some of the choir members were jealous of one other particular choir member.  She then proceeded by saying that the reason they were jealous was that this other person could sing all 4 parts all on one line. 🙂  He then asked, “Well, who is this person?”  She looked at him…I”m sure with that mischievous twinkle in her eye…and said, “Well, Bro. Mayes, it’s you!”  Having many other duties to occupy his time…he graciously resigned from his choir position!  
  • Sis. Robin Davis used to sit with Sis. Fern at church.  Sis. Fern, though greatly loved by so many, was not one to move around and socialize before church.  She attended faithfully, took her place, and remained there…chatting with others who did mix with the people.  Sis. Robin, on the other hand,  blessed with an outgoing personality and enjoying greeting the people before church…would deposit her purse and Bible, tell Sis. Fern she was going to mix with everyone and ask if Sis. Fern had any message for her to convey to those she would be talking to.  Sis. Fern would usually say to tell them she said “hi”.  One day Sis. Robin asked her the usual question but got a different reply.  “No, don’t tell them anything”, Sis. Fern said.  Taken aback a little, Sis. Robin said, “But you always have something to tell them”.  “No” said Sis. Fern, “don’t tell them anything.  I’m not in the mood”.  🙂
  • Sis. Fern lived in the small town of Salem, Kentucky where everyone knew everyone.  She worked as the city clerk and pretty much ran the town.  One day she had to send a local church a notice that their water would be shut off due to the payment not having been made.  The responsible person, having simply forgotten to pay the bill on time and somewhat embarrassed I’m sure as this must have been a very uncommon thing to have happen to this church, responded, to which Sis. Fern replied, “We treat everybody equal.”  Perhaps you would have had to have known her personalty for that to seem funny.  She had a way of saying it with a little witty chuckle just ready to come out at any time.
  • One of the most beautiful things said was by Sue, Sis. Fern’s neice, who read a sweetly written eulogy she had written that ended with a most fitting phrase…”Fern, I’ve always looked up to you.  Now I’ll just have to look a little higher”. 
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