Home Sweet Home

 I didn't realize my neighbor Arlene Jackson's memorial service (the active, fit 71 year old widow died suddenly at Thanksgiving of a stroke) was at one on Friday- I had thought it was two- I had been in the house a few minutes when Annette called about our tickets for the community players New Year's Eve murder mystery dinner theater, but she didn't have time to hear about our trip because she had to get to the church for Arlene's service. I was still in my ferry jeans, but hung up and did the same thing. The parking lot was full and so was the church. I climbed over Char and Sarah and sat next to Beth, Nancy, and Sue. For the next hour we sang the old hymns-- How Great Thou Art, All is Well with my Soul, and Amazing Grace. (Dr. Jones was behind me and he has a very good voice.) We heard the choir sing I'll Fly Away, which had been one of Arlene's favorites, and listened to comforting funeral scriptures, a nice eulogy, and a sermon about how heaven is right here, and that Arlene knew that.  I cried when Darlene said she would miss the "Darlene this is Arlene" phone calls. Arlene's son spoke, and said even though her own children lived out of town (and some out of state) they knew Arlene's family was essentially this community. (Especially the Presbyterian church.) We were her people.  I looked around, and realized these were my people, too. More of them were in the Chilkat Center the next night, for a wacky pretend murder in a pretend winery in "Nippy Valley".  At the church, so much of the decorations, the coffee and refreshments, the music and the whole organization relies on the work of volunteers, especially ones like Arlene was. The same is true of the New Year's event. It was a ton of work for a few hours of nutty entertainment. Around here just one person-- or a few people-- really can and do make life better for all of us. That's why when one of us leaves, she can't really be replaced. Instead, someone (or a few someones) with a new or different talent steps up to fill a little bit of the void.

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