Republished from Nov. 19, 2014

IMG_4698Please allow me to repost this blog from last November 19th. This week our family, especially my cousin Alicia and Aunt Louise, remember the passing of my Uncle Charles Martin. All my cousins, aunts and uncles are very special people. As the 19th draws nearer and our grief seems to resurface and bring tears to our eyes, please allow the memory of this good man to warm your soul and bring a smile to your being. We miss you Uncle Charles.

Philippians 1:3-7a
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart;

Shirley and I are big Elvis fans. I like the older, more mature voice while Shirley just likes Elvis period. We have been to several concerts and were very pleased with them all. We even had a wreck on the way to seeing him at the coliseum in Greensboro and Shirley wanted the EMT’s to take her to the coliseum instead of the hospital.

In his Aloha From Hawaii special he sang one song that I dearly loved: “I’ll remember you.” It talks about remembering someone long after the present day is through. Even though it has romantic overtones, I believe it is fitting for calling us all to remember people of special quality long past the present day or circumstance.

Today I visited with my Uncle Charles in the Hospice unit in Wentworth. Last time I saw him and he was able to talk with me was in his home after being released from Cone Hospital. This afternoon, as I stood there, sat there, I remembered the special times we had together. I remember that when my brother and I were about 7 and 9 (I think) the doctors told our dad that our mom would not live much longer. My uncle Charles and aunt Louise kept us in their Madison home for six months. We stayed with them and went to Ball Hill School for that six months. I know my brother and I must have eaten them out of house and home… two extra boys to feed is quite a task to accomplish. We missed our mom and dad terribly but Charles and Louise made a welcoming home for two little boys.

I don’t think I got into much trouble while under their care, probably just put a strain on them more than anything. Sundays were just like the summer Sundays, after church we would all head to mama Martin’s for lunch and all the stuff the cousins were going to do that day.

I remember that in those days, in Madison, many people had a party line. We had never heard of such a thing. A party line meant that more than one household used that line. It would ring a certain number of rings for each party. If it was your number of rings then it was your call and you answered it. The fun part for two little boys (at least the younger one) was to gently lift the receiver and listen to what the ladies down the street were talking about. It was the 1950’s version of Facebook.

I remember that Charles and Louise, in fact, all of my family was very involved in Mayodan Methodist Church. The Martin’s and Sechrist’s even had pews so designated by their names engraved on a brass plate at the end of the pews. I thought that was the most special thing I had ever seen. We had been in plenty of churches but never have we had our own pew.

Of all the things I remember about Charles and Louise, it would be that their warm, open hearts rang so true to who they were as people and how they sought to live their lives every day. Today, as I looked at my Uncle Charles, I remembered his big ole heart that was so filled with love that it made room for two little boys to rattle around in his house for what must have seemed the longest time. That is the Charles Martin I love and remember. And I will always thank God for you and all you taught me…and the way you lived Jesus before me. I will always remember you.

Dear Lord, there is a timetable for all of us, I guess. A time to come and a time to stay, and finally a time to go. Thank you for the family you have given me; Uncles, Aunts, cousins, parents, grandparents, great grandparents… all those people you brought across my path that I might see you in their living and become the person you called me to be. You sent some mighty good people, cause I needed a lot of work and a lot of care. I thank you every time I remember them… for they all touched me and made me better than I ever could have been on my own. In and through Jesus. Amen.

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