|"Blue Sky and Autumn Leaves"|
When I was growing up, my best friends were twins who lived two miles from me. Their parents farmed, too, and ran a store.
We visited back and forth. We mostly played outdoors, making up games. Often, when I was visiting them, we played board games like Monopoly and Life under the trees in their front yard. Their mother, Barbara, would pop a grocery-sized paper bag full of popcorn and bring it out to us to eat as we played.
Even when I was a child, Barbara talked with me like she cared what I had to say. She seemed eager to hear about what I was doing and thinking.
When I grew up and moved away, she was one of the people that I always wanted to see when I visited my parents in the old community.
Barbara died this past week. She was 84 years old.
I haven’t seen Barbara a lot in the past years, but whenever I did, we caught up on our lives and she showed me that same kind, listening ear.
Three years ago, when I had been working at my newspaper job for less than a year, I received a card from Barbara. She had seen my work in The Union Star, a sister paper of the newspaper that I work for.
Here is part of what she wrote to me:
“For some time I have been seeing your name in “The Union Star” and wondered if it could be “our” Tina. Then (my daughter) told me you were at the Supervisors’ meeting and it answered my question. . . . I just wanted you to know how happy I am for you as I know you always wanted to be a journalist. I can remember a lot of years ago, and I don’t know where we were, but you said how very much you liked putting words together. . . . I just had to tell you how very proud I am of you.”
I felt so encouraged by her words. I was surprised that she had remembered something I had said so long ago. I was so pleased that she was proud of me.
That is what I will remember about Barbara: her kind and encouraging ways and words.
We all need people in our lives who are interested in what we’re doing, who listen to us, who encourage us in what we want to do.
Barbara was one of those people in my life.
When my father died over 16 years ago, I received a sympathy card from Barbara and her husband. In that card, she wrote, “The world is a better place for having (your father) for a little while.”
The world is a better place for having you, Barbara, too.
Who is someone in your life who has been especially encouraging to you?