Janet's Jargon

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, George Beverly Shea!



He is probably one of the best known gospel singers around. He has sung with Billy Graham at his crusades all around the world for many years. He wrote the music to the song I'd Rather Have Jesus. He made the hymn How Great Thou Art a household sound in many homes. And he recently celebrated his 100th birthday.

Today several people from our little church, Interfaith Bible Fellowship, in Amberg Wisconsin went to a nursing home in Crivitz, about a 20 mile drive. The activity director of the facility did a fantastic job of having everybody in the activity room waiting for us. I had been invited along to play the piano. Since I don't have my own piano anymore (read the blog on it a bit farther down), I enjoy it when I do get a chance to play. Dave Pompo, the minister, had asked me to pick out some oldtime familiar hymns the residents were apt to know. They enjoyed it so much we sang far more than we would have in our own regular church service. Old favorites like In the Garden, When the Roll is Called Up Yonder, Amazing Grace, The Old Rugged Cross, Jesus Loves Me, and as we finished singing How Great Thou Art we shared the fact with these elderly members of the community that it had recently been George Beverly Shea's 100th birthday, so we wished him a happy birthday. They all knew who he was, although one of them said, "I thought he was dead." It was a wonderful time of sharing, but that was just the end of an already good day.

When the minister and his wife began to make plans for the service, they called and asked if they could eat lunch at my house. It made perfect sense, because they live quite a ways in the opposite direction and there was not time for them to go home and then come back again. They made it a very gracious invitation by saying that the pastor would make his famous spaghetti and bring it, and his wife would make the salad. I said I would provide Texas garlic toast, jello and the beverage.

A little while later they called back and said that they were going to pick up a woman, Maureen, who has recently had her leg amputated. I have gotten to know her fairly well, as Ivan (my late husband) had his leg amputated in 1995, so while I haven't lived through that experience, I have lived with it. They wanted to know if it would be ok if she came to dinner too. I said "The more the merrier."

Again, about an hour later, the phone rang and they said that Pixie, a woman who had attended the church but who had moved away last fall, was going to try to make it to church and she wanted to go to the nursing home too, so would it be ok if she came to dinner too? Oh, and they didn't know for sure but she might be bringing the children she was taking care of with her. (They didn't end up coming, but Pixie did.)I figured that since they were furnishing most of the food, I had no problem with it.

So, everything was set. I would have somewhere between five to who-knew-how-many people for dinner, but I didn't have to cook it, so it was fine. I had plenty of dishes!

Pixie came to church, as did Maureen, and I rode home with our neighbors from across the road from me so I could go ahead and get the table set, the coffee made, the bread stuck in the oven, etc. As we pulled into the driveway, Margaret (my neighbor) said, "Whose car is that? It looks like Cathy's." Yup, it was my friend Cathy, who goes to a different church but who is often bored on Sundays. She had no idea of what was going on, so I waved to her to come into the house. She said she just brought me some magazines she had finished reading and they were in the doorway. I told her she might as well come in. When she got inside, I told her what was going on, so I invited her to join us. She did, and I wondered if anybody else would come. There was plenty of food if they did, but they didn't.

At any rate, we had a delightful dinner, and they even helped wash the dishes after we ate, so I came home to a nice neat house. Oh, and Maureen brought peanut butter cookies she and her grandchildren had made. It was the perfect finish to the meal.

Anyway, it was a wonderful day. Oh, and it was so cute at the nursing home. There were two women there named Irene, so Toni, the minister's wife, asked me if I could play Good Night Irene. I did, and we sang it. One of the Irene's apparently enjoyed it, but the other one was heard to remark, "I hate that song." When Toni asked her why, she said, "Because it has my name in it!" Well, you know what they say. You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time.

The picture above is (Seated, left to right: Cathy, Janet, Pixie; Standing in the back row: Dave and Toni Pompo).

I hope your Sunday was as much fun as mine was. Now, go out there and make it a great week!

6 Comments:

  • At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Barry said…

    Great stroy, Janet. Shea is one of my all time favorite gospel singers. He is a true legend. A retired minister from Michigan, who attended our church for many years and served as outreach minister, went to college with Shea and was a good friend of his.

    As the minister lay dying, the one thing he wanted was to hear Shea sing and so his wife played one tape after another and it brought great solace to the dying man.

    I will never forget that.

    Warm Wishes,

    Barry

     
  • At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi, Janet,

    One of the kindest things anyone can do is visit a nursing home. It's wonderful that you went, especially on a Sunday. My daughter-in-law worked in a nursing home and so many of the people of the people get warehoused and forgotten. It's really sad. All the best.

    Jacqueline Seewald
    The Inferno Collection,Five Star/Gale hardcover, Wheeler large print
    out this month: THE DROWNING POOL--Check it out on Amazon or ask your local library to order it!

     
  • At 9:20 AM, Blogger S.K. Hamilton said…

    Janet, what a neat thing to do, not only for the nursing home residents but for the church group as well. There is as much joy in giving of yourself as there is in receiving, maybe more.

    God Bless all of you.

     
  • At 1:16 PM, Blogger Griefcase said…

    Hi Janet,

    Reading about you, about your friends, about all your accomplishments--well, I am so honored to know you.

    What a story! Thanks for sharing.

     
  • At 4:09 PM, Blogger Joyce Anthony said…

    What a wonderful day-and precious memory in the making! Thank you for sharing this, Janet-and you sure are looking good, Lady :-)

     
  • At 7:49 AM, Anonymous Alison said…

    Just came across your blog and wanted to let you know you can wish Bev Shea a happy 100th at www.GeorgeBevShea.com. You can also pre-order his upcoming biography, George Beverly Shea: Tell Me the Story. Thought you'd like to know! Keep up the great work!
    Alison

     

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