Sunday, May 21, 2017

Farewell to Crawford Alexander

We buried my brother-in-law yesterday.

His name was Crawford Alexander.

He was 68.

Same age as me.

His name was Crawford. Same name as my son.

He had two daughters. Same as me.

He loved journalism—same as me. He was a prolific reader of the local newspaper. He read every single word—from the front page to the back page. Because he read so much he was always INFORMED and SMART about what happened in his community and the rest of the world. Nothing took him by surprise.

Years ago, Crawford had worked and lived in Charlotte, N.C.—same as me.

He loved dogs—same as me. For a long time he and his beloved old labrador retriever “Bill” were best friends. Did he ever love that dog! He talked about Bill and even reminisced fondly about Bill’s granddaddy.

He died Wednesday shortly after I visited him in ICU at the Johnson City Medical Center.

He had become ill earlier that day. So ill and weak that my sister Cheryl called 911.

They rushed him to the hospital in an ambulance and tried desperately to save him.

But to no avail.

He departed this world late Wednesday night.

We are all still in shock. Stunned. Baffled.

Because Crawford was always the strong one—the one our family called upon to lift, move, haul or do the heavy (sometimes backbreaking, unseemly) work of taking care of our parents when they became hill.

Who you gonna call?

It was always Crawford.

My sister shared with me that when he suddently fell ill—after being so healthy and strong and vibrant all his life—Crawford asked her “What happened to me?”

“I don’t know, honey,” (or words to that effect) she responded through tears.

Today, one day after his funeral service—where his coffin was wrapped in an American flag—we are all asking why. Why Crawford? Why at this time? Why did he have to die? Surely he had 10, 20, maybe even 30 more years or longer left to live… (After all, his father lived to be 94).

When my sister Cheryl asked me to say a few words at where we laid Crawford to rest, I tried to think of a song that would define their marriage.

For they had been together only a few short years—after tying the knot, as I recall, in Boone, N.C.

But WAY, WAY, WAY before that, Cheryl and Crawford had been sweethearts as teenagers.

Then life happened. They followed separate paths. Had gotten married to someone else and then divorced.

And then, just a few years ago, found each other again.

The romance was rekindled. They were happy as two love birds who’d somehow bumped into each other after decades of being apart.

Suddenly they were chirping and flapping their wings joyously and soaring high. Taking trips together, taking care of a household together, dreaming together, building and remodeling together, making a blended family work, leaning on each other.

And, most importantly, loving each other.

Ok, back to that song I mentioned earlier. I recited a few lines of it yesterday at Crawford’s service. It’s by Johnny Cash and June Carter. Here tis:

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mom's Day

Mom, I know you left this world in July 2013. But you are still with me.

You were there that very first breath I took.

I was with you the day you died.

And so many, many years in between.

You were the best mom in the world!

Loving, kind, sweet, gentle, giving, selfless.

I heard a sermon today. Minister says Mother's Day is joyous. But it's also painful for some.

Yes, I hurt that you're gone.

But I'm still forever grateful and honored you were my mom.

Happy Mother's Day 2017, Mom!

(With this blog post are a few photos. The single is of my mom--Dixie Nadine Jenkins Timbs. The group shot, from left, consists of some other wonderful moms: Elizabeth Timbs Sherling, Nell McQueen (not a mom but still one of my favorite aunts of all time); my mom; Dorothy Timbs Yeung.)

And here's a video showing Mom in her younger years.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Beard net

Saw something yesterday at a pizza place I'd never, ever seen before. (And I thought I'd seen it all!)

A man behind the counter--obviously in charge cause he was handling the money and barking orders to his fellow employees working the dough, sauce and ovens--had a hairnet on his beard.

I learned later that evening that he was actually wearing a "beard net."

Who knew?!

Did that person really say this?

A neighbor told me she recently visited a restaurant in Johnson City, Tenn., called The Mediterranean.

One of the servers there shared this startling tidbit with her.

"A customer asked me what my ancestry was and I said Muslim."

"Are you a terrorist," the man asked the young Muslim woman.

"No," she said, keeping a lid on her anger. "Are you a member of the KKK?"

Way to go, Muslim server woman!