A Christmas Spirit of Love

Submitted by Pam Boswell July 2010 One cold winter evening in 1998, Pam was snug and secure in her living room engaged in a labor of love. Her husband happened to be out of town but she didn’t mind. She welcomed the occasional solitude because those times allowed her to indulge in activities that relaxed her. This particular evening her project was a baby dress she was smocking for her granddaughter. As the television droned in the background her hands performed their task skillfully, almost without thought. Sitting in her favorite chair she felt a sudden brush of air across her face and instantly the scent of her paternal grandmother filled the room. She stopped and playfully exclaimed, “Grandma, is that you? I bet you came to see what I’m making!” Hunny, Pam’s nickname given by her family, knew her grandma was right there with her watching with pride. Grandma, being a seamstress, had played a huge role in teaching Hunny to sew at an early age. Her presence and scent was a familiar and overwhelming comfort. As Hunny continued smocking, her mind reminisced on many evenings spent with her grandma. Later, Hunny retired to bed at her usual time. Nestling her head into the pillow she replayed the amazing encounter with her grandma. It had been such a wonderful comfort just having her near again. Before Hunny could even finish her thoughts it happened again. She felt her grandma’s presence close to her pillow and again that familiar scent. Hunny instinctively knew Grandma was kneeling at the head of the bed saying a prayer on behalf of her...

Remembering Ma

Submitted by Jack “Chuck” Provine February 2010 Chuck sat on the front porch of his Grandparents old home place, exhausted from a day of cleaning & packing. The sad responsibility of removing a lifetime of possessions had fallen on Chuck but he felt it was a privilege to say goodbye to a time, a place and to two people that he loved with all his heart and that loved and cared so deeply for him. The house behind him was dark and empty now but in his mind’s eye and in the secret places of his heart it would always remain lit and alive with precious memories and tender mercies. This was the place where he always felt safe and secure. It would forever be a place where love lived, the place that made him who he was. In the quietness of the moment and awash in tears, he replayed scenes of his childhood now lost to time and maturity: The faint echoes of children at play; the whack of a whiffle ball hitting a plastic bat; the children’s cries of “You’re it!” Big, sweet juicy watermelons accompanied by seed spitting contests “‘Mater’ samitches” with tomato slices so big they would hang out the sides of the bread A simmering pot of chicken ‘n dumplings on the stove with his beloved Ma tending the pot The wooden mop handle that transformed into a white horse and a hearty “Hi-ho Silver away!” Endless summers of swimming, skating, cane poles, cherry popsicles and vacation bible school Nap time with the sound of the black metal oscillating fan lulling children to sleep...

Never Give Up

Submitted by Renee Canada January 2010 The excitement in the air was practically tangible. Renee had been accepted into the University of Memphis nursing program and her list of things to take care of before classes began that fall seemed endless. There was perhaps a touch of nervousness as well; college. nursing school. It was her first significant step towards adulthood. It only seemed natural for her friend to be there at her side. First stop, the scrub store where she was fitted for her very own scrubs. She purchased the necessary materials and they headed for the University bookstore on campus. It was there that she picked up her stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, pen light, scissors and more. Her anticipation became overwhelming. She really was about to start nursing school! Reality crept in as she was standing at the register watching the total continue to grow. Wow, that was a lot of money. Renee began to question whether or not she was really ready for such a commitment. She knew nursing school would not be easy. Could she really do it? As she attempted to push those feelings aside she noticed the manager of the bookstore approaching her and her friend. He asked them if they would be interested in a 2 week job at the bookstore. It would only be at the beginning of the semester when they were at their busiest. The girls looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders and replied, “Why not?” They followed the manager over to the lounge area so they could fill out the application. Renee placed her newly purchased supplies...

A Love of Lilies

Submitted by Jenna Printup Weaver October 2009 Young girls can be strongly influenced by the women in their life. Such was the case for Jenna. Growing up she spent a lot of time with her great-grandmother who was lovingly referred to as Nanny. She was a petite, soft-spoken Italian woman whose loving presence grounded the entire family. When her husband died, the decision was made for her to move in with her daughter, Rose; Jenna’s grandmother. Jenna loved going to see them. She would spend hours with Nanny watching TV and reading books. Over time she learned to appreciate the same passion for flowers and music that her Nanny had, with lilies being their absolute favorite. Jenna was thirteen when Nanny passed and although it was a sad time for her, there were moments that she could feel Nanny’s presence. It was always a comfort knowing Nanny was there. It wasn’t until she began driving, however, that Jenna started receiving her strongest signs. She attended Midnight Mass every year and each time it was the same. Upon entering the church she would feel a slight gust of wind across her face and the overwhelming aroma of lilies. She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it was Nanny letting her know she was with her. For several years this went on, but eventually stopped. Jenna continued on, growing up and experiencing life lessons along the way. One lesson proved to be very difficult and she found herself becoming very depressed. In spite of the rough time she was going through, she managed to get herself up and go to...

A Light of Love

Submitted by Stephanie Buck October 2009 Dean smiled as she handed the little bundle of joy up to her mother, Juanita. She gazed with love at her first granddaughter and the bond was formed. Tina grew and soon had a little sister, Stephanie. Juanita, or “MaMa”, as she was lovingly called, adored all her grandchildren but there was always an extra special place in her heart for Tina. Over the years their relationship strengthened maybe in part because they were so much alike. There was nothing Tina wouldn’t do for “MaMa” and vice-versa. Their grandmother was very loving and outgoing but crossing her was never a good idea. She still believed in strict discipline with her family. Time passed and the grandchildren became adults, each one busy with their own lives. Nevertheless, they continued to maintain a close relationship with “MaMa”. It wasn’t until Tina was almost forty that her grandmother passed. She was such an outgoing and loveable character that it was quite a loss to everyone. Not long after that, Tina put a nightlight in her room. She began talking to “MaMa” as she had done so many times before when suddenly her nightlight began to flicker. Every time she would talk to her or think about “MaMa” the light would flicker. Tina wasn’t worried for she knew in her heart that her beloved “MaMa” was communicating back. Whenever Tina, her sister Stephanie, or their mother, Dean, walk into Tina’s room they will call out, “MaMa, are you here?” and the light will always flicker on and off reassuring them of her presence. Tina’s light began this...

A Song of Love

Submitted by Steven Lourakis September 2010 Steeped in traditions, the Greek people place great emphasis on four key elements to their life: A deep commitment to family, a steadfast faith in their religion, a robust love of food, and last but not least their passion for music. Each element plays an integral part in their everyday life. Steven had the privilege of growing up with such a rich heritage that had been handed down generation to generation. Aside from the support and encouragement his parents had always provided, Steven was blessed to have his grandmother near. He lovingly referred to her as Yia-Yia (Yah-Yah) which is the Greek word for grandmother. Many a night he would sit and play the guitar for her. She would quietly listen, tapping her foot to the melodic sounds as his hand strummed across the strings. As each song came to an end, with love shining in her eyes, she would proudly exclaim, “Bravo Stavros.” Yia-Yia always called him by his Greek name. Steven cherished the time he was able to spend with her. When Yia-Yia passed away Steven’s heart was saddened. He would miss her terribly but at the same time he was relieved to know that she would no longer be suffering. On the same evening that she passed, he sat in the living room pondering her life and reflecting on all the love she had shown him and how important those memories were. Suddenly Steven heard a soft yet very distinctive voice that he recognized immediately. It was Yia-Yia and to his amazement she was singing a song to him. In...