Tuesday, February 26, 2008

slot machines, chocolate milkshakes, and going home...


although i had gone to church with miss emily for several years, it was through a mutual friend, christine, i got to know her. i enjoyed chatting with her on the way from her sunday school hall to the sanctuary and occasionally sitting next to her in the pew.
time passed as did our mutual friend... i treasured the relationship even more because miss emily reminded me so much of "chris". both were extremely intelligent, "talbotly" dressed, strong, loving, shrewd, business women. me? i was their little friend;)
when i first met her, miss emily was a widow lady and had only one daughter, bobbie, who lived in georgia. she talked to bobbie every day on the phone and traveled to see her often en route to and from her home in florida where miss emily and her cohorts would travel often to for sun,  sand, and bridge playing trips.
hence, it was a sad day when bobbie was diagnosed with cancer. her name was on the prayer list at church, but miss emily never spoke of her illness. bobbie didn't live long after having been diagnosed. a huge part of miss emily died with her. she mourned... though never in public. miss emily was strong and private like that.
not long after, miss emily got really sick (about 5 years ago) and could no longer live in her home. she went to colonial assisted living where i would go to visit with her.
miss emily was a real pill, lol. she still took care of all her business from her suite at colonial. and, she had A LOT of business... mainly rental property. she loved business, gossip, pop-corn, and chocolate milk shakes. i loved our visits and would oblige her with a dairy bar, chocolate shake when i visited.
once, after i had read a book, the henderson crusade, i made a special trip to colonial to talk to her about it. you see, miss emily's family owned  two pharmacies and a large tract of land in our downtown area (which she still owns), and, back in the day, inside these two business there were slot machines.
actually, there were slot machines in most all businesses in our small town then as well as many bars and exotic dance clubs. henderson was even referred to as "little chicago" because of all the alcohol/mob/gambling/undesirable action it saw.
anyway, miss emily filled me in on the rest of the story... it was a little more colorful than the book, which was written by the retired minister, charles dietze, who co-led the crusade all those years ago to cleanse our town. i could see in her eyes as she talked she was reliving those times. miss emily's story was quite interesting; miss emily was quite interesting! 
not long after that visit, i got a call from church asking me to go out to colonial and prep miss emily for an interview. our church was getting ready to celebrate a milestone, and miss emily was the oldest life-long member. it was my pleasure to be asked and my pleasure to go spend time with miss emily.
when i got there and got settled (chocolate milkshake in hand), she told me the story about her grandfather having her baby Bible placed in the cornerstone of the original church building (the building has undergone several expansions over the years) where it is still cemented there today! further, she talked about how she walked to and from church every sunday morning and sunday/wednesday evenings with her grandmother who lived just around the corner. miss emily was a pillar of our church as well as our community.
thus far, i have referred to miss emily's and my friendship in past tense not because she has died but because she is dying. she recently had a stroke and since has not been able to talk nor swallow. her grandsons have come to henderson and have taken her home... not to colonial assisted living but to her house on colonial court in order to make her more comfortable in her last days. she has no feeding tubes nor any other types of life support just a hospital bed, her sitter, lemon swabs (to keep her mouth moist), and her adoring grandsons.
 i choose to believe it is just her body lying there, and her soul has already gone home... to her heavenly home and is resting at peace with her beloved bobbie. 

thank you, GOD, for allowing me to happen on to miss emily.
i love miss emily! 
i love the memories of chris! 
i love old friends...
i love miss emily is comfortable at her house...
i love knowing she will soon be on her journey home to be with her Heavenly Father and daughter if she isn't already there.


Shannon said...

Can you tell me what resides in this building now. It looks so familiar and I want to place it and remember it. Do I know Emily? Did we attend church together in the last 7 years?

purple11 said...

it is the current dollar store building owned by emily quinn bennett, the only child/grandchild of the quinn's who owned most of 2nd and third (both sides) streets between elm and main streets +++. i think emily sent in a picture for the last couple of directories (so, she would be in the back). she is very petite with glasses and, as i said, always dressed in talbots... i think you would recognize her if you can find a pic.