Friday, December 4, 2009


In 1971 my husband was transferred by his employer to Florida from Greenville, South Carolina. We spent all that summer preparing to leave our families. Beginning in April, Tommy would catch a plane each Sunday afternoon and spend the workweek on the job, all the time searching for a new home for us. Then on Friday evening he would return home for the weekend.

Back in South Carolina I was taking care of our four children and attempting to sell our home there. From April until July, this activity went on with no success. Then on a Sunday afternoon in July, a weekend that Tommy did not get to come home, we had a visit from a young couple to see our house. There was no question in my mind that they would return. The very same weekend, down in Florida, things were happening. On our Sunday afternoon telephone conversation, Tommy said to me "I've found the only house that I would buy for you, sight unseen, because I know you'd love it." Excited, I told him, "Well guess what! This afternoon a couple came to look at our house and I'm positive they'll buy it. They did, and we did.

A couple of weeks later I flew down to Florida to see the house. Tommy was right. It was perfect. And in the front yard, a humongous magnolia tree shaded the whole front yard from the curb to the front steps. Later we made a return trip with all the children and they were equally pleased. In September we relocated our family to Florida and never looked back. We had the perfect house and the perfect tree. We were at home.

A few short years later as progress was being made in the local infrastructure, the telephone company came through our neighborhood and laid an underground cable down the side of our street. We would later learn that a main root of our magnificent magnolia had been disturbed and it began to fail. For ten years Tommy babied, nurtured and cajoled the tree to survive. It stood proudly as long as it could but finally the time came when safety became a major concern and the tree had to come down. God is so good. Not only did he provide shade for the hot Florida summer sun but also a touch of nostalgia to nurture our family during a time of separation from our family.

FAMILY – God takes care of His own.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Our home adjoined the property of the Benjamin family who owned and operated a dairy farm and in this time period a dairy farm provided a quite well-to-do lifestyle for its owners. The family home sat on a slight hill surrounded by wonderful trees and plants spread out over the well-kept grounds. Two that I recall quite vividly were a tremendous magnolia tree and what we knew as a snowball bush. Both rendered glorious white blooms that gave off lovely fragrances.

As children we spent many happy hours playing in and around the dairy and the big white house. It was quite exciting to bounce in and out of the milking barns as the cows were being coaxed to relieve their heavy load of the day. Frequently we three younger ones were allowed to observe as our older sister shared the milking chores.

To this day my most favorite of all trees is the magnolia. Not so for my husband who, upon our relocation to Florida spent untold hours caring for our very own tremendous and beautiful magnolia that finally succumbed to damage done by workmen laying underground telephone cable. Only in my mind's eye have I seen another snowball bush.