Her daddy died when she was fourteen .
Her mother immediately sank deep into depression. So she, as the eldest of three children, was left the task of finding a way to bury her father.. The family were East Texas Sharecroppers, and in the midst of the dust bowl that was the 1930’s they had no money to bury their dead.
Kathryn, her given name, knew of only one wealthy man in the whole of their small town who might have the resources to help her with the funeral costs.. He owned the drugstore . After school the day following her dad’s death she stood in that store and told the Druggist that if he would help her bury her daddy she would work for him in the store every afternoon until the debt was paid. He mercifully agreed, and her father was given a decent burial.
That memory was etched like stone in her psyche and though she is now in her early 90’s she can retell that tale as if it happened yesterday.. She had two siblings, Morris, her younger brother, and her baby sister Betty.
I adore her.
She is my husband’s aunt. Morris was my husband’s father. My husband tells tales of coming to Kathryn’s house after school in the afternoons and raiding her pantry. He said there was always something good to find there, and that pecans, or graham crackers were always in ample supply.
Kathryn has an indomitable spirit. She has a love of gardening and after years in the banking industry she retired back to her childhood home to become a well-respected herbal expert & traveled for many years giving lectures on native botanical and their medicinal value. I can remember her trying to coax me into eating the tender tops off the shoots of a clump of green Briar Vines . When I hesitated, she teasingly said under her breath …. “Coward." Of course I was now forced to reclaim my honor. I took a leap of faith and tasted several of the tender tips, and to my surprise, and I hope -- to her delight, --- the greens were actually quite tasty.
To know Kathryn and her bright-eyed zest for life, you would assume that aside from her father’s untimely passing and the deal she struck at the drugstore, her life must have been quite idyllic . But she has had many joys and none too few heart-breaks. She has seen the birth of her 3 children – two boys and a girl. She has seen the birth of grandchildren and great-grandchildren and has prayed for healing from breast cancer....You would never know by listening to her that she had buried two husbands, her younger brother, and her baby sister. She has also buried her own first born – a daughter, along with a granddaughter & two of her grandsons. She has lived a life of steely-eyed triumph and mind-numbing tragedy. A life of restorations and renewals. A life of losses and burdens too heavy to carry alone. Yet as each day began you would find her on her knees praying for the gift of “daily bread”.
As each season of life has come and gone, she has traveled on with hope, expectation, sometimes with a heavy heart, and sometimes with joy unspeakable - always knowing her life was in GOD’S hands . Choosing to be at rest in HIS care, she is a product of “ gracious uncertainty.” Not knowing the end from the beginning, but given enough grace, enough mercy, and enough hope for each new day.
The scroll on which the story of her life is unfolding has not reached the end, but each page holds a story - a book is still being written. Each page chronicles the passage of time, with family, friends and a stalwart devotion to GOD. One day the “roll will be called up yonder” and she will be there. That is the promise... That is the will of GOD, that none should perish.
She has written a book whose title is "You Can't be Big and Act Little".
Sage words to live by.
Her example of a life well lived has been a treasure to all who know her. She has a uniqueness that is disarmingly charming and a mind that misses nothing of import. On the last page of her book she makes this statement, “I have three securities – my Bible, my dog and my shotgun... Not one of them has failed me yet.”
Bravo Kathryn! Oh that I could adopt her spirit and move resolutely through life, come what may! She is my inspiration.
Lynn Parker 2015