Let’s Chat! Life & Last Trains


Welcome, everyone!


Life. There’s so much of it to ruminate on.

Lately my rumination into life has taken me to thoughts of lasting impressions and last trains. And to a question I doubt I’ve asked myself before: How many human beings have I encountered in my life? 

Let’s see . . .


Like you, life began with my mother. The doctor who delivered me. My father who held me. The nurses who tended me. My brothers.

It progressed from my home to church, school, doctors’ offices, hospitals, courtrooms, highways, stores, libraries, restaurants, offices, playing fields, neighborhoods, entertainment venues, buses, planes, ships, trains, a family of my own, and on and on. 

Only God knows the number.

Leaving Impressions


Like you, most of the folks I’ve encountered left no impression whatsoever. I was only vaguely aware we shared the same general space. If they disappeared, I’d notice the empty spaces but not the people who had filled them. 

A handful left fleeting impressions. I could’ve told you some tidbit about them at the time, but I forgot them in minutes or hours, sometimes days.

Others left more significant impressions that stayed with me for weeks or months. Some, even years. But even they have faded now.

But a few—a select and unique few—have left such deep impressions on my thinking, feeling, and behaving that I’ll carry them with me until my body or memory fails.

As it turns out, purely coincidentally, one of those is the only train engineer I’ve known. His name is Eddie Largen. And he’s preparing for the end of his life.

Why Eddie?


It isn’t because he was a train engineer, although that does set him apart. 

Nor is it because of his good looks. He’s been easy on the eyes all his life.

It isn’t because he’s a Christian, although that is true.

It isn’t because we married into the same family. We did. 

Nor is it because he’s a sterling son, husband, father, and grandfather. He is.

Lasting Impressions

I‘ll  remember Eddie for his unabashed, authentic enthusiasm. It’s unforgettable. 

Unabashed. Eddie is enthusiastic whether others share his fervor or not. His passion finds its own time and place.

Authentic. There’s no need for Eddie to fake or force enthusiasm. It’s part and parcel of WHO he is. 

Enthusiasm made Eddie a skilled train engineer who stayed the course in more ways than one. He provided a stable home and legacy for his girls and grandchildren and love and security for his wife, Sandra.

Enthusiasm has made Eddie a well-groomed gentleman. An able builder. An exceptional singer. Bible student. Christian. A devoted son, brother, husband, father, and grandfather. Friend.

Eddie’s Last Train


Eddie’s enthusiasm will translate into Glory. I can see him now—meeting, greeting, shaking hands and chewing the fat. Laughing. Singing. Enjoying a banquet. Running with his arms stretched wide and hollering, “Jesus! Jesus!” 

Move aside, angels and saints. Eddie Largen’s last train is coming ’round the bend.

You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.
John 16:20b NIV

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Mother Love: Never Old

Mother Love

Mother love is never old. Yesterday was my mother’s 98th birthday. She wasn’t present in bodily form; she passed into Glory 22 years ago.

Mother’s spirit hovered around me all day.

Goldie Leona Banks Brooks was no shrinking violet. Or pansy. She was more like the lantana and verbena that bloom in Texas most of the year. I doubt she’d delight in this comparison, but hear me out.

First, these hardy plants thrive in heat and drought and aren’t fussy about the soil. They add bold color to the garden and require zero tending. They’re dependable and determined, and they find a place to bloom, invited or not. They don’t give off fancy fragrances, but they don’t apologize either.

Mother’s favorite flower was the rose (with the orchid coming in a close second). I think she admired their delicacy, and I know she loved the scent of the rose. It’s a good thing she was neither a rose nor an orchid, fragile and fussy about her surroundings. She wouldn’t have managed as a Great Depression farm wife otherwise. Nor would she have survived twenty-five trying years of widowhood, holding onto the home and farm land she and Daddy worked so hard to acquire.

Girl Thoughts

January 17th appears on the calendar each year, and I return to memories of growing up as Goldie’s girl. She had always wanted a daughter, but by 1941 she had given birth to three boys and buried one. So when in 1946 her doctor confirmed she was expecting another child, all she could think were girl thoughts.

Thereafter, she made a pest of herself among church friends, asking them to pray for Goldie to have a girl. (Truthfully, they learned to run the other way when they saw her coming. 🙂 She threaded her days with incessant prayers of her own. Please give me a girl. Please give me a girl. 

But in time she convinced herself it was better to build a wall of defense around her heart than to leave it exposed to disappointment. She entered the clinic to deliver her fourth child on the 5th day of September, telling herself she and Wilson were destined for a household of boys. (Would she have traded either of her precious boys for a girl? Never!) (Tweet That!)

Girl Time

So when the doctor announced, “It’s a girl,” she heard “It’s a boy.” She held tears in check until Daddy entered her room with a huge grin.

“What’re you crying about, Goldie?”

“Another boy.” Sniff, sniff.

“No. It’s a girl.”

“Stop teasing me.” Blub. Blub.

“Goldie, we have a girl.”

She shook her head and turned away.

The doctor entered the room. “You did it, Goldie. You got your girl.”

Wiping her face with the hem of a sheet, Mother sat up … 

And the rest is … Well, it’s proverbial history packed with mother love and gratitude. And a lesson learned: Pray and expect a miracle.

Later, the preacher wrote to friends who had moved away: Praise the Lord! Wilson and Goldie have a girl! Little did anyone know at the time, but eleven years later, Goldie was to have another baby–a boy again, but–oh–how great was the rejoicing.

Indeed, Mother was like our Texas lantana and verbena. Strong. Stubborn. Self-sufficient. At times, overly so. She asked no one to wait on her or tend her. But on this, the day after her 98th birthday, how I wish I could.

Lord, how weak is our faith. We often pray, doubting.
Help us to pray, trusting. For Jesus’ sake.

~

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
Philippians 4:6 
NIV

4 thoughts on “Mother Love: Never Old

  1. I truly enjoyed this, Linda! Your mom was beautiful. A kindred spirit, for sure. I live on a sand ridge in south Georgia. The only thing that thrives here is lantana. I have one rose bush. I love burying my nose in the petals. But, the lantana is the year-round visual beauty I am blessed with. I wouldn’t trade it for a thousand roses!
    Have you written a book with your mom as the main character? I would love to read that story!!

     
     
    1. Thank you for commenting, Gail! Very encouraging 🙂 There’s a lot of Mother in Ella McFarland. Mother was “sillier” at times than Ella Mc … and Mother laughed. A lot. But they are very much alike. I used the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment and decided they are twin sisters. 🙂 My maternal grandmother Ella is in Betsy McFarland. And Lily’s story has roots in my mother’s family. Love connecting with you.

       
       
  2. You must get your spunk and sweetness from your mother! I love your mini-memoirs, which bring us back in time. You have a gift.

     
     
    1. Thank you, Clarice. Mother got into some hilarious situations. We laughed a lot. Thanks for commenting.

       
       

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