Sunday, January 13, 2013

My friend, Christine.

I had a phone call from a dear friend's son this morning.  I knew immediately why he was calling me.  I was excited to hear from him, but then my heart sank when I realized why he was calling.  His Mother, and my friend, Christine, had just passed.  I was the first one he called.

I met Christine when I was the director of Helping Hands, a food pantry, in my former town.  She was a spry eight-nine years young then.  She was blind from a treatment to her eyes for macular degeneration.  But that did not stop her from volunteering.  I used to pick her up and take her to get breakfast and then we would go to Helping Hands.  There she would fold and double plastic bags for the groceries.  She never tired or complained of her job.  She had a insane sense of humor.  She was a great joke teller, and she kept me laughing.

Christine was a nurse and a good nurse.  She had so many stories to tell.  She lived her life to the fullest everyday.  She went to Baylor for nursing school.  She would slip out the window and go down the tree from the second floor.  I think many have followed her since those early days.  She always stood for what was right no matter who she made mad.  She was a loyal friend to all that knew her.

I knew I had big shoes to fill as the new director there.  My predecessor was awesome and everyone loved her, as did Christine.  Christine would grab my hand and say "Now, Now....sit down for a bit."  She knew what a passionate person I am, she knew how much I wanted to succeed at helping people.  She new that often I used my own money to pay for a client's electric bill, especially, when there was no money left to help them.  I didn't mind because I knew they needed a little help.  My rewards from working there far outweighed anything I did.  I always new Christine had my back. 

Her hearing was far better than anyone's around. She remembered voices and could tell you if that person had been in during the month for assistance.  The clients always try to fool the new person. Fool me they did until I got to know them all.  Many times, we would open the doors with just the two of us working. 

When our former director left, so did a lot of the volunteers.  I know it's not right, but it is what it is.  I had to build up our volunteers and recruit people to help.  Every other Thursday, we would go to the Food Bank and purchase food.  I formed a new crew as it took at least four to six people to move 4,000 pounds of canned goods and supplies.

Helping Hands was started by a group of churches to help with those in real need.  We faced crack heads, drugged out people and sometimes had a few threats to ourselves, but mostly they were people down on their luck with real needs.  Luckily, the police were near our building and our adminstrative personal came in to check on us as well as others.  Some days I never knew what I would encounter when I opened the front doors. Christine wasn't afraid to speak her mind to the clients.  She had worked there for over twenty years and knew everyone in town. 

Christine loved to sing old gospel hymns and the music of her day.  I had so much fun with her.  She set a great example of the kind of woman I want to be.  She was tough, she was kind and she was real. She could still do the splits and loved to dance.  Honestly, I've never met anyone like her.  She faced adversity with her usual witt.  What a doll.

God gained a special lady today.  "Well done, good and faithful servant."

I had saved a video of her dancing and talking, but alas, it can't be shown.  Do any on you know how to retrieve it?  I may have to ask for help from Hubs.


DeEtta said...

It was fun to hear about your special friend. Sorry about her passing but it sounds like she lived a full and productive life and blessed yours as well.

Sandee said...

What a wonderful tribute to a very special friend. They even knew who to call first. I'm just saying.

I'm not sure what you're asking about retrieving the video. Retrieving it from where?

I'm so sorry you've lost a dear friend, but I'm so happy you were able to be part of her life. Have a terrific day honey. Big hugs. :)

Finding Pam said...

DeEtta, Christine was a cool lady. I imagine she is very happy in Heaven with her husband.

Sandee, I had taken a short video years ago of her dancing. It was too cute, but for some reason I'm not able to upload it. The video was saved on a memory stick.

Rudee said...

She sounds like she was a beautiful spirit. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Akelamalu said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. Christine sounds like an amazing woman. x

Gail said...

Wonderful tribute to your friend - she did God's work here on earth.
Love Gail

Travis Cody said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful tribute Pam.. so sorry for your loss. Sounds like she was a beautiful person.

Chickie said...

I'm so sorry. It sounds like she was a really special lady.