On Thursday, Darlene and I went to the graveside service of Bobbie Ashcroft Bowdoin. Although we didn't know her well, we knew some of her family quite well. As we were driving to the cemetary, Darlene told me that Darwin Slade had passed away on Wednesday. I thought of Darwin's family and of yet another family, the family of Tracy Miles Pulsipher who was mourning Tracy's death.
Darwin Slade was my 7th grade teacher at the Springerville Elementary School and he called me "Blondie". I know that every year he had a "blondie" but for that year, I was "Blondie". I remember memorizing the preamble to the Constitution with Mr. Slade's encouragement. I remember his patience with the kids that needed extra attention. I remember, too, him teaching Math. I think now, Math was probably an easy subject for him and he tried to help us learn little secrets of math. Math wasn't my best subject but he never made me feel dumb when I didn't get it the first time through. His daughter, Paula, and I went to school from 5th grade all the way through High School. We were good friends and always visited when we ran into each other. Paula has done quite well - she is the Paula Kraemer from Creating Keepsakes - VP of Events. Darwin and Ethel were scrapbooking their lives and the lives of their children. His service on Saturday was so good. Elder W. Douglas Shumway of the 2nd Quorum of the 70 (my former Bishop) spoke and his talk was so good. I felt so very blessed yesterday as I recalled with fondness the association of both these good men.
Earlier on Saturday, Darlene and I attended the funeral service for Tracy Pulsipher. Although I didn't know her well, I have known her mother, Patty since I was in 5th grade. When I worked for the schools, Patty was the custodian at the Primary School and then later at the Intermediate School. Tracy who died suddenly, left five children, ranging in age from 10 to 20, and her husband, David. Her father died a few years back and I thought of Patty now losing her only child, her best friend and I was so sad. Amy Smith spoke at Tracy's funeral and she gave one of the most uplifting, touching talks I have heard in a long while and when I spoke with Tracy's Aunt Patsy today, she said she just couldn't believe how nice the service was.
I thought a lot yesterday and last evening of the messages of hope, of comfort and the promise of peace that comes to us in these hard times. I KNOW that the comforter, spoken of in the scriptures, the Holy Ghost, is with these families healing hearts and spirits as nothing else can.
Today I had a message to call Cindy Sanchez. Cindy is married to Ed's best friend, Ralph Sanchez. Ralph and Ed grew up together in Safford and 5 years ago Ralph was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gherig's disease). Cindy tells me that the end is near for Ralph and it broke my heart.
We had a birthday party this evening for Mickey Holliday. She would have been 87 today and Darlene was a little sad. Linda suggested yesterday that we do a birthday party in her honor and it was good. Linda, Jennie, Whitney & Austin Himes were there along with Darlene, Kristi and I. Good times with good friends.
Today was a day of memories, a day of sadness and a day of joy. We can have hope and we can have peace through the tough times. I have and I do KNOW that our Heavenly Father is always near and that HE knows each of us individually and HE cares about us and what is going on in our lives.
I hope that each of you have a good week. Remember that I love you and am thankful for the part you play in my life.
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