Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Quaker Connection

 It was cold and rainy on the day of the funeral. It always is, for me. I have never stood graveside without a coat or umbrella. Besides the awful weather, the clocks had been set back, making for a long and dark morning. The Mister did not wake up with the sun like he does most days, but with the clouds and an hour late. We scrambled to get out the door for the funeral of the Mister's great-aunt, who came from a branch of his family tree that I never met and who, it turned out, are Quaker.

 This distant aunt had spent the last ten years of her life in a haze of confusion. She did not recognize people, and often asked for those who had died long ago. It will warm the hearts of mothers of sons to know that she had been lovingly cared for in the last the last decade of her life by her son, in the home she always knew, right there on the farm.

 In survival mode, I pulled myself together and dressed Little Mister in his good shirt. We ate breakfast in the car on the way, giving me anxiety as little boy hands picked the chocolate off of a chocolate peanut butter protein bar, the closest thing to a travel-friendly breakfast I could provide under duress. When he decide that was too tedious, he unearthed a bag of chips from the back seat. I also noticed that we forgot his coat, and quietly gave thanks that he was wearing shoes.

 We arrived a few minutes late, as I always do when someone needs to be buried or married before noon.

 I saw a man with a long beard in bib overalls. He wasn't the only one. The service was reverent, but informal. People stood up to speak their heartfelt memories of a woman who I now wished I had been able to know in this life. There were many mentions of a life filled with honesty, integrity, and service. Also, cinnamon rolls, fourteen day pickles, and something called fruit cocktail cake. There were no admonishments, or the type of "As I am now, so shall you be!" warnings to repent. The message lay in the examples of her life, Scripture applications, and the demonstration of a quiet faith strengthened by serving others. "She taught me how to work," said a large, burly man wearing his best Carhart overalls. Quite a compliment, I imagined.

 The flowers were few. We placed single spring blooms on the casket in the cemetery at the Quaker Meeting house, a small group of mourners such as you would expect when the deceased has outlived all others. 

 The experience was beautiful in its unabashed simplicity.

 Over the next two weeks we searched diligently for signs of new life. Snow encrusted daffodils don't count. Little Mister and I have taken to evening walks in the field where we examine deer tracks and construct make-believe campfires from old remnants of corn stalks. I'm reminded that we don't walk alone. As new life is breathed into our surroundings, we reflect on the joy of serving a risen Savior. He lives!

This old irrigation pump still works. 

 As the sun drops in the sky, we take our treasures of sticks, flowers, and a deer antler home for preservation. Negotiations for bath time and late night snacks will give way to a crescent moon and bedtime stories. Or maybe spilled milk and a forgotten laundry load. I'll remind myself again. I am not alone. 

And neither are you.


  1. I love this post. It talks of death and life, the life of your son. One generation goes while another one comes to take the place of the old one.

    1. Like so many things, I didn't plan it that way, but it came out like that and it worked.

  2. My Quaker friends are some of the dearest people you could ever know, down to earth, genuine and in tune with God.

    1. I felt very comfortable among them. Their focus on using your life to serve others was Biblical and inspiring.

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    I hope the above link works- it's a great fruit cocktail cake recipe on the Taste of Home website.
    Women such as your husband's great-aunt inspire me!

    1. Thanks Megs! That looks excellent. It's funny, the men at the funeral seemed to recall that cake very clearly and I eavesdropped on one man explaining what it looked like. He mentioned a glaze which I think is the sauce in the recipe you linked. I may try this, it looks easy and tasty. Thanks for posting it.


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