My mom (2nd from left) and her sisters.
My grandmother was a humble woman. She and my grandfather lived modestly. Simple.
They lived in a small town in rural Missouri. She was a homemaker, raising five children. He was a milkman and a U.S. Navy veteran. Later, when their kids were grown, he was a school bus driver. In this small town, everybody knew everybody. Family was your most important asset and cousins were your closest friends. Sunday was an all day affair with church services in the morning, family gathered for supper in the afternoon, followed by evening church services.
They pinched their pennies wherever possible. They saved what they could. They didn’t have money to waste on the purchase of frivolous luxuries, such as, fancy Easter dresses brought from a Sears catalog for their daughters. Instead my grandmother, Ruth, would most likely have hand-sown the dresses for her daughters.
Except one year.
It was the early 1960s. Ruth had saved enough extra change to buy her 4 daughters catalog dresses. She decided to hide the dresses at the home of her sister-and-brother-in-law, Pauline and Bink, to keep the girls from peeking and spoiling the surprise.
Ironically, that would be the least of her worries that Easter.
One spring day, just before Easter, the whole family was having a get-together with food and fellowship. The children, playing upstairs of my great-grandmother’s home, spotted smoke billowing from a house up the hill.
It was Pauline and Bink’s house that was on fire!
The Uncle’s rushed up the hill and attempted to put the fire out. It was too late and their house burned to the ground…along with the frilly dresses.
I can just imagine my heart-broken Grandmother watching the fire. Everything her sister and brother-in-law owned was in ashes. The pennies she pinched for a year to afford to buy something special for her daughters, gone.
Now, my mother will tell you her mom was more concerned about her family and their lose rather than the dresses. She had to have felt defeated. I know I would have. But that was who she was. Humble.
That’s it. There is no happy ending. No one replaced the dresses. No one took up a collection to rebuild Pauline and Bink’s house. They picked themselves up and carried on. They relied on family and the Lord to carry them through.
No one was hurt or, worse, lost their life in the fire. And isn’t that the most important gift of all?
The house, the possessions, the frilly dresses are just things. Okay, to see everything you own reduced to ashes is undoubtedly devastating. But all those things can be replaced. Life cannot.
So, this Easter don’t forget the “reason”. LIFE. Take joy in it. Celebrate it.
~ Wishing you a Happy Easter.