She was my encourager and friend. I have so many memories of her. I’m going to try to write only the outstanding memories here. Our friendship goes all the way back to 1965 when she and her husband moved here as a young couple. We were young back then too!
About 16 years ago my husband had surgery. He had come home from the hospital but we were both struggling mentally, emotionally and Jerry, physically. Our family and friends, church and pastors were all supporting us but we were still struggling. One day Joan and her husband, Penn, came to our house with a large bag. They said, “Keep these as long as you need to. We just think they might help you.” It was a bag full of Bill Gather video tapes. Oh my, we played them over and over. They saved the day! They were so uplifting, full of energy and beautiful music. Listening to them gave us new hope, energy, life, love! We were changed!
About eight or nine years ago I retired from teaching a class of high energy 5th and 6th graders, Club 56, at my church. Pastor Shane, assistant pastor, at the time, asked me what I was going to do now. Oh, I didn’t know. He told me I needed to do something to keep myself from getting stagnant. I told him I would think about it. He said I’d better pray about it. Later he asked me what I had decided to get involved in. I still had no answer.
In September of 2006 a lot of our friends were at a pig roast at some friends cottage. Several women were sitting around a picnic table visiting. The subject of aging came up and how even though we all used to very busy in our church we now felt like we were sitting on the side lines. We needed something to keep us encouraged and connected. Someone said a newsletter would be good so we all knew what’s going on in each other’s lives. Then someone asked who could write it… Joan pointed her finger at me and said, “Anita, you are just the one to write this!”
“Me? I don’t know how to write a newsletter!” That night I was up all night. Truthfully…all night…writing a newsletter! For the main feature I wrote about the pig roast and put in pictures I had taken. Then I put in a section of prayer requests. I wrote up announcements of upcoming events, a Bible verse for encouragement. I wrote and deleted, wrote and deleted. Finally in the early morning hours I was ready to print it out. It was time to go to church! I took the finished copy to church and handed it to Joan! She was pleasantly surprised!
God used Joan to answer my prayer of what am I to do now? I’m in the seventh year of writing Prime Time News! It’s gone through some major changes over the years. Oh…it’s far from perfect. It comes out bi-weekly. Joan has been my encourager all the way. My brother, a writer, is my critic and I’ve learned so much from him. But Joan has been my encourager.
A few months ago I stayed home from church because of illness. When Jerry came home he had a gift bag for me! I opened it and couldn’t believe it! A Bone China cup and saucer! What a pleasant surprise! I collect them! It was from my friend, Joan! I called to thank her and ask why… Her answer was that she was trying to down size and she thought I’d like this to add to my collection! Oh my goodness…what a treasure from my friend, Joan.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you, Joan, for being my good friend. I’ll never forget you. I’ll join you…someday!