– I don’t know how much condolences to give the Budd family on the death of Frances, their wife, mother, grandmother.  Why? Because she’s finally out of her misery. Brother Bobby was our pastor at Concord for at least two years. He brought Frances when she was able to go. It was obvious she was in bad shape and wasn’t going to heal.

I was in high school with Frances and maybe before that. She was always a very quiet person, hardly ever spoke.

But I may never forget the last three words she spoke. Her daughter, Shelly Barger, told me she made quite an impression at the nursing home. The staff took her to the in-house beauty shop Thursday to get her hair done. Frances, who was exceptionally quiet, talked at the beauty shop and all the way back to her room. When they got her settled back in bed, she said, “This is heaven.” One of the staff went to get a nurse, but when they checked her vitals, Frances was gone.

At the funeral Monday, her husband, Bobby, told about the time he saw her in the altar seeking the Lord at Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church. He said the Lord told him, “She’s yours.”

He was dating another girl at the time, but soon ended that and started dating Frances.

Their daughter, Shelly, told me her mother told her that Alzheimer’s takes your mind and leaves your body. But Parkinson’s, which she had, takes your body and leaves your mind.

One thing for sure, Frances left a testimony in just three words.

– I thought you were supposed to get tougher as you get older. Squirrels do.

I remember helping Dad hay the cows when I was in the back of the pickup pitching out blocks of hay as he drove slowly through the pasture. It was so cold I had to turn my head away from the wind to breathe.

Of course, if it came a snow that closed school, and we had a lot of those, I’d bundle up, put on my insulated boots and the dogs and I would take out rabbit hunting. No gun. We’d just chase them down. Sometimes I’d get beside a rabbit path in the snow and stand still. When a rabbit came hopping by, I’d whack it with a stick.

With one rabbit, I started tracking it about a half mile west of the house on what our neighbor, Ms. Gertrude Plain, who we knew as Miss Plain, called The Mound. I finally caught up with the rabbit in the grape vines at the east side of our front yard.

Yes, I got lots of snow down the back of my boots but that was just part of it.

Miss Plain’s granddaughter, Dorothy Lee Umstattd, my best childhood friend, only came out during the summer months. Last time I saw her was at her mother, Ethel’s, visitation.  She used to come to the Picnic each year when her mother was alive.      KL