Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Shellye Cohagan Gressett

Today was the funeral and burial for Shellye, our great friend and traveling buddy's daughter. She lost her battle with depression and alcohol last Wednesday night,  February 22. The last six days have been an emotional roller coaster with many highs and lows - laughter and tears.

There are several things that we know for sure:
1. When we are in the valley is when we feel God's presence the most.
2. When we are in the valley is when we need God the most.
3. Surrounding yourself during grief with family and friends help the situation.

I found this song that spoke so personal to me. It is sung by Guy Penrod and Sarah Darling. (It's definitely worth "Googling" and listening to.)

                            "Knowing What I Know About Heaven"

I bet the trumpets played
And the angels sang every sweet refrain of Amazing Grace
And that heaven's hands opened up the gate
And the children danced when they saw your face
As happy as they were to see you coming
I was just as sad to have to watch you go

Where every single voice makes a joyful noise
How sweet the sound when the saints rejoice
To every broken heart and every wounded soul
New life begins on streets of gold
Where every tear is raining here from my eyes
I know the sun is shining where you are

Knowing what I know about heaven
Believing that you're all the way home
Knowing that you're somewhere better
Is all I need to let you go
I could hope that I could pray you back
But why on earth would I do that
When you're somewhere life and love never ends
Knowing what I know about heaven

This song expresses the great conflict we all face of giving up a loved one on this Earthly home for them to go to Heaven; where they are no longer in pain, and they are with Jesus with a perfect body in a perfect place. Even though they are in a better place, we still miss them and hurt, because we wish they were still here with us. Shellye, I know you are in a better place; and Diana and I will continue to be at your Mom's side. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Emma May Francis Henderson - February 22, 1896

Emma Mae Francis was born on February 22, 1896, in Weatherford, Texas; her father, Calvin Burgess (Byrd), was 20, and her mother, Cora Lee, was 18. She married Henry Eaf Henderson on September 28, 1913. They had three children during their marriage. She died on May 11, 1984, in Gunter, Texas, at the age of 88.

Byrd and Cora met and married in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. From there at a very young age they came to Texas and had several children, went back to to Oklahoma had several more children, then came back to Texas. Around 1910 they were in the Howe area, then they moved to Gunter. Henry's family was in the Collinsville area. Henry and Emma married September 1913 when she was 17. Oct 1914 - Blanch was born. Oct 1921 - Bonnie was born. June 1923 - Bennie was born. At first Henry and Emma moved back and forth between Gunter and Collinsville with each of their parents. They then settled in Gunter. Henry was a carpenter and farmer. Mother tells that they lived over by the Savage place while she was growing up. Byrd and Francis lived on what was called "Nigger Hill" or Strawn road today. 

At some point Henry (Pa) and Emma (Ma) bought the home place of 100 acres where I grew up. The story is told after Daddy and Mother came home from the war, Ma and Pa moved to 402 West Middleton in Sherman and let my parents have the farm to live on and farm. 

So this is where my memories start of Ma Henderson. These are just some random memories I have:

Every Saturday morning, Mother, Diana, and I would go to Sherman to visit Ma and Pa.
He would be sitting in a rocking chair beside a little chest. He would whittle off a bit of black brick chewing tobacco. She had a toothpick sticking out of her mouth that had been dipped in snuff.  No way was tobacco thought of as a sin or evil. 
Pa, Ma, Diana, and me

She was hardworking. I remember that she made her own Lye soap. We would go to the dry cleaners to get distilled water for some reason. She made her own clothes. She let us have coffee and milk with vanilla cream cookies. She had latte's before latte's were invented.  

She loved her flower beds. I remember lots of irises and chicken-and-hen plants. She had a big back yard with a little shed. There were pecan trees in the back yard. She had a rotary  lawn mower that she pushed around the yard.
Emma May Henderson

Diana and I made a many of mud pies at her house in tin plates and decorated them with little sticks. She had an old treadle sewing machine that we played at. (Diana has this sewing machine.) She taught us to make doll clothes. If we were at her house in the afternoon, our treat was the ice cream truck. We would go to the end of the block after we finally heard the music from the truck and get ice cream.

She kept peppermint stick candy for us. She had a clock that chimed that I inherited. She had another coo coo clock and a weather vane that told whether it was going to rain or not.

As children we went to her house on Christmas eve with all of Mother's family. At some point, the ugliest Santa Claus in the world would make an appearance. This is where our tradition of Santa coming on Christmas Eve was started.

Mother and her sisters were very neat and well-groomed, so I am assuming that this was also taught by Ma. I do remember that she kept a blue "rinse" on her hair to keep it from being so white.  

She always told us that she was proud of us, Jesus loved us, and to be good to our parents who also loved us.  She was very encouraging. 

Later in life, she had to leave her house in Sherman and come to Hilltop Haven, the nursing home here in Gunter.  I believe she was here about five years. It was arranged that Diana would pick her up on Sunday mornings and bring her to church. She was at First Baptist Church Gunter at a young age, moved her membership to Sherman, and then when she came back to Gunter she moved it back to FBC. Ma was one of the most Godly women ever. I believe it was 7 times a day, the perfect number, that she prayed. She was a dedicated Baptist to the very end with her spiritual and physical roots in Gunter. 

On May 11, 1984, I witnessed for the first time someone to pass from this place to a better place. We all knew that Ma was going to Heaven and that she was ready to see Jesus. I know the angels were singing as they welcomed her in. She was a Proverbs 31 wife with nobel character. This was read at her funeral, and the first time that I realized that these verses were in the Bible. I remember thinking, "Wow!  What a great description of her!" 

Emma May Henderson, Ma, thanks for the legacy and the role model that you left for our family. You were a great lady. My regret is that I did not ask more questions.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Trip to Bountiful

Last week Diana and I got the chance to go to Franklin, Tennessee, to babysit Anja and Isabel while Greg and Lisa took a trip to Canada. Even though is was a short trip, it was a very abundant trip with great emotions on different levels.

Isabel - just being charming!
First, we got to spend a lot of quality time with my two precious granddaughters. Isabel, at 7 months old, is one of the most perfect babies ever. She has a smile that will melt your heart. She will cuddle with you and laugh with you. She is a very easy baby to keep. The only thing we found was that she was not as easy to feed as we were told. She liked her bottle much more than she liked food.

Anja is two years five months with wild hair and is so funny and "smart." We had a blast playing with her. She loves to be read to. We played with her stuffed animals - Micky Mouse, Peppa Pig, and some other animal. We had a tea party, played with her shopping cart and flash cards, and played in her kitchen. We built  towers with her blocks. She loves her blankets (Binky). Bed time is not her favorite time.

Anja and her "Binky"

Second, I had done research on the Taylor family before we ever went up there. I had the idea that we were going to do some genealogy while we were there. Thursday while Anja was at daycare, Diana, Isabel, and I went about an hour north east of Franklin to an area that was once a thriving community - Taylorsville. This community was named after my GGGGF. We found the original home that was built in the early 1800's. (I will do another post about the house and family - I promise.) We went to about five old family cemeteries. We never confirmed that the Taylors were buried in any of them. I think one was a great possibility. We talked to three interesting people while there - a neighbor lady with strange dogs, a farmer with a rifle in his hand as we talked, and an extremely nice lady mail carrier. We will come back to this area on another trip to Tennessee.
Taylor Cabin - Built in 1805

Cemetery with greatest possibility of Taylor burial ground.
Third, Diana and I had fun being together. You would think that as much as we are already together, how much more can we do or experience differently. We had several laugh-out-loud, belly laughs with hot flashes or tears or both, that most people do not get to experience very often. We had atleast one of these each day that we were there. We got to eat at the historical Loveless Diner and the Sunset Diner. Both of these meals were worth writing home about.

Other than sleeping with one-eye-opened, as she called it, this was a trip to bountiful!