THINGS THAT MAKE ME SMILE

… ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. …
Jer. 6:16a NKJV

I love vintage things, especially if they belonged to someone I loved. Consequently, it took me a while to let go of some items that belonged to my Mom and Dad.

But I knew it was needful. So I told myself, “That’s not Mama. That’s not Daddy. It’s just something they used or enjoyed.” I listened to my friend, Sandy, when she asked, “Can’t you touch it one more time and let it go?”
Yes, I could. And I did. Truth be told, I could probably part with a few more items still. 

But this week, I identified three vintage treasures that I plan to hang onto because they make me smile as I remember the folks who loved me well.
I doubt that any of them would seem valuable to anyone but me. 

I’d like to tell you why.

I couldn’t leave these millstones behind
when we sold the house on Pear Street.
They were a part of my happy history.
The millstones served as two of the steps leading from one level of our backyard to another. I have no idea how old they are, but I know Daddy salvaged them from some deserted mill site when I was a toddler. (That makes them OLD.) 

Countless feet padded up and down those steps way back when there were kids in every house on our block. 


Where someone else deemed them worn out, Daddy saw potential and rustic beauty.


 There’s nothing particularly outstanding
about these stepping stones except
what they represent to me.
These three stepping stones came from the foundation of the family home where my mother was born. 

 

Don’t you love the gentle swish of a glider?

This faded glider was bright green when it sat on my Aunt Mary and Uncle Zack Calhoun’s side porch on Pearl Street in Little Rock. Who knows how many hours I snuggled between Mother and Aunt Mary, listening to them chat? I learned to keep secrets in the process.

After Aunt Mary passed away, it took up residence on my parents’ patio. 


The Black Pearl lily grows tall
and requires a trellis. It blooms
around July 4th.

I brought a start of this Black Pearl lily from one of Daddy’s flowerbeds. The blooms don’t last long— just two or three weeks. But during that time, it lends regal elegance to the corner of our porch. (Let me know if you want a start.)
I think God looks at us in much the same way. 

Where the world may see an aging person, he sees beauty and potential.

If we’ll come home to him, he’ll provide us a firm foundation in life. 

He gives us people who will hold our confidences close and quiet opportunities to enjoy their company. 


And doesn’t he have a wonderful way of surprising us with exquisite beauty just when we need it most?



What about you? Are there things from your childhood that you cherish?

I’d love to hear about what you hold dear.




Then He who sat on the throne said, 

“Behold, I make all things new.” 

And He said to me, “Write, for 
these words are true and faithful.”

Rev. 21:5 NKJV

Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge 2016. All rights reserved

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

My parents were happiest when they were entertaining.

WELCOMING GUESTS

Have you ever noticed how important eating is in the Bible? The Proverbs 31 woman rises early to prepare food for her family. Sarah cooked up a feast for the three travelers who dropped in on them with mind-blowing news. Jesus wanted his last meal with his followers to be in our memory forever. Communal meals were part of the new church in Acts, and  we still have potlucks with our church family and friends.

Jesus walked everywhere.

While food is often at the center of our gatherings, hospitality embodies much more than just eating a meal together. 

Remember how Abraham brought water for his visitors to wash their feet. Then there was the Pharisee who didn’t offer that common courtesy to Jesus. But a woman who knew she needed a Savior washed his feet extravagantly with her tears. 


Mother loved to cook for family. Here she is with 
my sister-in-law, Martha, and Terry’s brother, Jerry.

True hospitality is the opening of our hearts to one another, saying you are important enough for me to go all out for your visit. With really close friends, it often involves cooking and cleaning up together with lots of chatter and laughter.

This is our fun Brunch Bunch.

My parents definitely had the gift of hospitality. Mother made it look easy. Looking back, I realize there were times she was bone tired when unannounced company dropped by. However, no one would have ever known they had inconvenienced her. 

Mother’s oldest brother lived in Texas. It was not unusual to look out the window to see his car rolling to a stop in front of the house about 5:30 p.m. on a week day. No telephone call, no letter. Just the big grin he flashed when we opened the door. 

Mother worked full time, but I only remember her voicing her exasperation once. Her “Hells Bells” was as close to swearing as I ever heard from of her. She adored Aunt Altie and Uncle Tate, but a little notice would have been nice. 

Uncle Tate & Aunt Altie Dale
(He was a caution.)
Will and I were in grade school back then and less aware of the strain. We thought they were fun. Uncle Tate always had both pockets filled with change. We knew he’d eventually drop all those nickels, dimes and quarters into our hands. Wherever he was, you could count on spirited conversation and laughter. And sometimes he bought T-bone steaks that he seasoned with red pepper and broiled for us.

I suppose my uncle’s freedom to drop in on his baby sister unannounced was a testament to her love and acceptance. But now that I’m an adult who has worked, it wears me out just thinking about those visits. 

Even though I inherited some of Mother’s hospitality genes, I’m not sure I could have done what she did without complaining. (We all know I couldn’t, but I would have waited until they were gone to gripe. And, yes, I’m working on that fault.)

My Daddy & Mother
Wilbur & Winnie Latimer

I’m proud of my parents’ legacy of hospitality. I hope I will always be ready to share food, shelter, or whatever is needed, along with the Good News, with whoever shows up at my door. 

After all, that’s the way God greeted me many years ago when I knocked on heaven’s door.

What about you? 

Do you like to entertain or do you dread it?


 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing 
some have unwittingly entertained angels.  
Hebrews 13:2 NKJV

Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge 2015. All rights reserved

Memorial Day 2014

Captain Wilbur (Will) Dale Latimer
May 23, 1944 – January 19, 1971

Today is set aside for us to remember those who died in service to our country. If you are at all acquainted with me, you know my brother, Captain Wilbur (Will) Dale Latimer, is among that number. He died in the Vietnam War on January 19, 1971.

Ours was not a solitary experience, and like scores or others, we managed to adjust to our loss. Life goes on, as they say, which is probably what saved us from our grief. But our family was never the same after his death. Everytime I hear or read about the death of a service man or woman, I’m reminded of empty places at the holiday table, a listening ear no longer there, the absence of laughter and fun.

I believe I will see my fine brother again someday. Until that time, I will remember the good times we shared while he was here. Instead spending the day in tears and depression, I am looking back at the gift Will was to us.

If you know someone who’s lost a loved one in war, give them a call, drop them a line. Tell them you remember and you are grateful for their courage and sacrifice.

God bless America!

The rainbow comes and goes, and lovely is the rose; the moon doth with delight look around her when the heavens are bare, waters on a starry night are beautiful and fair; the sunshine is a glorious birth; but yet I know, where’er I go, that there hath past away a glory from the earth. William Wordsworth

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Ps. 116:15