Life in Contrasts

Deer at Holly Lake

One thing I have learned in my 70 plus years on this Good Earth is that life is often played out in great contrast between things that make you excited and happy and things that bring great sadness.

That was the case last weekend when I spent two great days out in the country with one of my daughters. We went to the annual craft fair at Holly Brook Baptist Church, an event that I’ve been participating in for a number of years. I saw many vendors who’d also been there for many years and have become like good friends. My daughter, Dany, and I had such a good time visiting with them and with people who came to shop. I sold enough books to cover my expenses which is always a good thing.

Friday and Saturday afternoons were pleasant enough to be outside to enjoy a quiet, peaceful setting. We saw the deer that are so tame, that one came to eat the animal crackers that Dany shared.

Then on the way home Sunday, after lunch with a good friend, the euphoria of the weekend was dashed when my sister called to tell me her husband had died unexpectedly. This is my younger sister Loreen and her husband was Beetle. He took that name in part because he related to the cartoon character Beetle Bailey, but I suspect a more compelling reason was because he didn’t like his first name, Thanuel, which is actually quite an interesting name.

Curious, I searched on the internet to find out more about the name and found this:

is for time, you give to friends.

is for heart, warm and loving.

is for adaptable, for the world is full of unique challenges

is for nifty, how neat!

is for unique, your love of life.

is for enthusiasm, in even the most dire circumstances

is for lively, your life is full of energy!

I don’t know who wrote that. The website didn’t give credit, but when I read it, I thought so much of it fit this man we all knew as Beetle.

He lived next door to my dad and stepmother and he knew Loreen when they were children. When Beetle came back from Vietnam, having served there in the Army, they reconnected and he swept her off her feet.

Because that all happened in Michigan after my husband and I had moved to Texas, I never really spent much time with Beetle and never got to know him very well.

However, this I knew. He loved Loreen totally and deeply. That was always so evident anytime I saw them together. She was the love of his life.

This I also knew. He was kind and generous, opening his home without hesitation when Daddy needed to live with someone in the last years of his life. When I would come to visit Daddy, Beetle was always so kind and thoughtful, and I saw how responsive he was to Daddy’s needs, helping to shoulder the caregiving responsibilities. His heart was warm and loving.

Plus,, Beetle was a good cook and I loved it when it was his turn in the kitchen. Loreen didn’t cook, so her turn always involved take out or go out.

He also had a good sense of humor and it was fun to listen to him and Daddy trade jokes. Beetle helped fill those last years of Daddy’s life with laughter and good times. Loreen has a beautiful singing voice, and we had several sessions of singing with Daddy playing guitar and Beetle would be somewhere in the background, smiling.

That’s how I’d like to remember him.

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