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By Ruth Gadberry
Our weather last week was typical Oklahoma weather. Cold, rain, ice and snow in parts of the state, sunny and mild, windy and calm. You know, something for everybody to enjoy and to complain about. This week is supposed to be warm and windy but watch out for next week. Cold again, so says the people who are supposed to know.
Monday morning dawned bright and clear; a dazzling sun in a clear blue sky. Not a leaf wiggling on the trees. Then the wind kicked in and changed the day into a dancy day. You know, trees bending, bowing, and swaying in the wind, leaves fluttering and dancing on their way from the trees to the ground. That sort of day. The wind changed from north-west to south-east. Then back again, and then still and calm again and then – well, as you can see, something for everybody.
Trunk or Treat at Stringtown First Baptist Church must have been a success Saturday night. JC and Ruth missed it. They’ve decided they should be old enough by now to retire from such fun things. JC’s back was hurting and he wanted to make it to Sunday School and worship services Sunday morning and to the Atoka/Coal Baptist Association meeting Sunday afternoon so staying home Saturday night seemed to be their best choice. Getting old sure cuts out a lot of fun things.
There was another video Sunday morning about Operation Christmas Child. You know, where you pack shoe boxes with all sorts of things kids can use and enjoy. Babies and little bitty kids, older kids, and kids who are even older, like teenagers. You can choose what age child, and whether you want your gifts to go to a boy or a girl. Pack the boxes and get them turned in by the 23rd day of this month and that’s it. You can also include a personal note and picture of yourself if you want to. They love getting cards and pictures in their boxes.
Then the fun begins. Christian literature in the language of wherever the boxes are going is included. Boys and girls, as well as their parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins and other people are being saved by reading the literature included in the boxes and by the Bible study offered in their language. See? You just pack your boxes, send them on their way, and let God take care of the results. It’s a fun way to be a missionary.
You can mail shoeboxes online now, but it probably isn’t as much fun as choosing and packing your own boxes. Easier, yes. You can choose what to put in the boxes, pay for the items and for the shipping, and even track your boxes to see where they go. So if that would be easier for you, go for it.
One of the ladies classes, the one with Patsy Miller as their teacher, has set Saturday, November 14 as the date for their shoebox packing party. They will meet in the fellowship hall at the church and bring snacks and goodies-to munch on while they pack boxes.
Patsy hasn’t been able to be in Sunday School since Covid-19 arrived; she has no immune system so is under house arrest until the virus goes away. That’s her choice, as well as her son, Shawn’s choice. She hopes to come to the packing party. Her class is willing to wear masks but has already warned her that they can’t wear masks and eat at the same time. Of course eating goes with a party. That’s okay. The fellowship hall is big enough for plenty of social distancing. They can each have their very own table if they so desire.
Sunday afternoon was the annual meeting for the Atoka/Coal Baptist Association. It was held at Atoka First Baptist Church. JC, Ruth, and Beth, along with several more people were there in plenty of time. They mistakenly thought it was at 3:00 o’clock instead of 3:30. Oh well, better early than late.
They really enjoyed the meeting, though it was just a bit long. But that’s okay. It took that long to get everything in and that was better than having to continue on Monday night or something like that. That’s the way they used to do it, as you probably know.
The host church served a meal of chili, crackers, and dessert. Delicious! That gave you an opportunity to visit with old friends or meet new people. JC, Ruth, and Beth sat at a table with two ladies from Voca and really enjoyed visiting with them. ‘Are you related to Roy Gadberry?’ They get asked that a lot and, yes, they admit it. Trish had worked at the hospital with Roy lots of years ago.
They learned something new about Trunk or Treat from the Voca ladies. Rather than having the kids walk from car to car, the kids stayed in their own cars and were driven around the parking lot while people with buckets of candy and goodies handed them to the kids through the car windows. That sounds like a good idea with the Covid-19 thing still raging. A drive through Trunk or Treat.
A few people were missed from the Association meeting this year. The Children’s Home didn’t have their representative. Nor SANE. Jay Baker wasn’t there from KBA. But reports on their work were given.
There was lots of good preaching going on; both challenging and encouraging. One sermon in Spanish had to have an interpreter. The music was great! Ruth was especially impressed by the guy playing the drum.
It wasn’t all sermons, reports, music, food, and visiting at dinner. Remember, they were there early and some other folks were as well. Ruth learned a lot about growing tomatoes. Something she would really like to try. Maybe in the spring.
Along with JC, Ruth and Beth, Claude and Sassy attended the Association meeting. They almost missed it. Ruth just happened to ask Preacher Joey when it would be and he checked his phone calendar to see and it was just a week and a half away or something like that.
Last Wednesday was a really, really special day for JC and Ruth. Ronnie and Carol Yarber were camping at Texoma with the gang who had gone to church together at Kenwood all those many years ago and, since JC and Ruth didn’t go to the lake this year, decided to come and visit them.
They would have had more visiting time except Mr. Google directed them the wrong way. Changing East Greasy Bend Road to North Cane Break Road really messed up things. Mr. Google didn’t even know about the change.
They got in a lot of visiting in a short time. Their relationship goes w-a-y back, into the 1960’s. Carol and the Gadberry family were members of Northside Baptist Church in Duncanville, Texas but Ronnie was a spiritual rebel. A hold out. But the church was praying for him and the pastor, Bro. Stanley, came to visit him. As he came in the front door, Carol went out the back door, leaving Ronnie alone with the preacher. The result? Ronnie committed his life to Jesus and was a brand new Christian when Carol came back in. Bro. Stanley told Ronnie to tell Carol, of course, and then to tell the first person he saw that he was now a part of God’s family. The first person he saw was JC, who came by to pick Ronnie up for their drive to work at a machine shop.
Not long after that. God called Ronnie to preach. A few years later the Gadberry family became members of Kenwood Baptist Church where Ronnie was Pastor. Memories, memories, and more memories!
You know, we all have friends. Some close friends, some not as close, and lots and lots of acquaintances. Then there are friends like JC and Ruth, Ronnie and Carol. Friends with whom you can play together and pray together, relive memories and make new memories. The kind of friends who last forever, and even on into eternity.
You know how plans can sometimes change instantly, without warning? Well, that happened to Beth and Ray last week. Their plan was to go to Duncanville, let Ray do his early voting thing – Ray is still a Texan as far as voting goes – and then go on to Beeville and points south to visit family. Beth had already done her early voting in Oklahoma.
Then a phone call changed everything. Ray’s older brother, Adan Gutierrez II, known to his family as Mano, had slipped on the ice in Lubbock, Texas, fallen, and was bleeding in his brain. There wasn’t much hope for his recovery. If you don’t know any more Spanish than Ruth does you might not recognize that ‘Mano means ‘Brother’ in Spanish.
They went on to Duncanville, Ray voted, and they headed for Lubbock. ‘Mano was still unconscious and the doctors assured the family that nothing more could be done for him. Knowing that ‘Mano did not want to be connected to life support they decided to disconnect the !ife support just after midnight on Wednesday. That allowed him to enter Heaven early Thursday morning, his 89th birthday.
A brief, family memorial service was held Friday morning. Another memorial service will be held at Beeville, the Gutierrez family home town, at a later date. He had served as Pastor in Beeville for many years, as well as in Lubbock.
Have you ever wondered what your last activity would be before you step out into eternity? Mano had been serving his country the best way he knew how. He had just made a campaign speech for his President, Donald J. Trump.
Schools are still being closed because of the corona virus when teachers, staff, or students get the Covid-19 thing. Aren’t Bennington schools closed for a couple of weeks because of the virus? They’ll have to do the on-line learning thing until they can safely go back to school?
Did you know you can learn lots of things without even going to school? Even grown up people who used to teach school can learn new things. Take Ray for example. He learned something recently that he isn’t likely to forget. Not ever.
You see. Ray was looking for his checkbook or something he left in the car. He found a little pink can in the pocket on the door on the drivers’ side of the car. He insisted that it was a red can but that really doesn’t matter. It had a spray button on it so, of course, he pushed the button. Pain! Agony! Ouch! Tears! The whole thing. He ran into the house to ask Beth what in the world was in that little red can. She knew exactly what it was.
Last year while Ray was in Guatemala or some such place at a softball tournament, she drove to California by herself to meet him and work at another softball tournament. And since California people are so picky and she couldn’t carry her gun into California, and she would be by herself, she purchased a can of pepper spray to keep handy in case of emergencies. She hadn’t used it; not even one time. But it works! Really well. Ray can assure you that it works. That’s a lesson he won’t quickly forget.
You did vote didn’t you? Yes? Thank you for being a good citizen. No? Then quit griping and complaining.
If your outgo exceeds your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall.