This is a creative essay that was written by the most peaceful, wonderful, talented, and graceful wife any one could ever have. I read her class assignment and decided to share with y’all but I am not sure she knows I’m doing this. So if you see here, try to act surprised. It will be spread out over the next couple of days. The story is fictional, but some of the places and event took place. It was based on those events ….
——————- Here is the conclusion to the essay …
Near to the Evergreen Post Office was the J. K. Hamilton General Store, which became Evergreen’s community center because everyone liked going there and spending time with one another. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton worked in the store and created a place of support for those who were away from loved ones. It was the place where children caught the school bus, and the women stayed to visit or engage in projects. Occasionally, when Daddy was on his way home from working in the tobacco fields, he stopped by the J. K. Hamilton General Store and picked up supplies and stayed a while to socialize or catch up on news. As a special treat, he brought home delightful lemon drops, my favorite.
The next item Bella pulled from the hope chest was a red ticket. My eyes are not as good as when I was younger, so I need a little help. Then I saw the words, “Coswell Drive-In.” It was a ticket stub with a still-legible written date and movie: 1955, “To Catch a Thief.” I specifically wrote the date and movie because this was a special night that I did not want to ever forget. Robert and I had just started dating. I was a mere young lady of 17, Bella’s age. He surprised me this evening by taking me to the popular Coswell Drive-In, also known as the Coswell Corn Field because that is where it was. Though I remember the movie, it was not the movie that made this evening so special. When I was with Robert, I knew in my spirit that one day I would marry this handsome, thoughtful man. Five years later, we did marry. He would not admit it, but he was sentimental. He gave me his grandmother’s wedding ring as a symbol of his deep love for his family and wanted to me to be part of it. This ticket stub is a reminder of that first wonderful evening. Bella called it a magical night.
Bella then opened an envelope containing an article about the day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visited Farmville, Virginia. When I was a teenager, I had a dear friend who went to Carver-Price High School, and I went to Appomattox High School because we were unable to go to the same school in the 1950s. When we learned that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was coming to Farmville in 1962, there was great excitement in the community. This newspaper clipping is a reminder of the season of our nation and the coming end to segregation. It was not too many years later that segregation began to take place in Appomattox.
Bella then recognized a recent article about the B&W nuclear power plant coming to Lynchburg. Since this region has multiple universities, young scientists and business professionals moved to Lynchburg to work there. Several young graduates from church work at B&W. The article is a remembrance of how Lynchburg is growing and helping the economy.
Bella opened a photo album containing memories of what happened a few years ago. It was the event that remains sensitive to families because of what transpired that day in February 2016. We reviewed pictures of the destroyed homes and the fallen trees. I pointed out to Bella to notice the people surrounding the families and the work crews. The Baptist church and parsonage were places not damaged and where those without homes could stay while they found another place to live or rebuild.
The Ruritans were one of the first to come to help clean. After the Evergreen school closed, it became the location of the Ruritan Club in 1956. The Ruritans built the club to engage in Evergreen activities and join other communities in activities and projects. The help we received from the Ruritans and the Amish in the region was amazing to watch. It was something we did not deserve.
There are countless stories of undeserved grace-full blessings received after the tornado. Unexpected, grace-full treasures continued to be found weeks after the tornado. A church member lost two precious necklaces that she was sure were forever lost. Miraculously, three weeks later, they were appeared entwined together and wrapped around a small pole. It was an amazing time seeing the heritage of the community had not changed. As homes rebuilt, churches had individual dedication services for each family moving into their new home.
To celebrate the opening of the Christmas season, Evergreen has the tradition of the tree lighting the first Saturday of December. The community gathers to enjoy tasty treats, sing carols, and hear a word from the pastor. It is a blessed time to remember the grace we have and the joyful time celebrating the coming of our Savior, the one who has bestowed upon us the grace we do not deserve.
Bella pulled a brown envelope from the chest. As she opened the envelope, I shared that these trinkets may not mean much now, but they were our legacy. Photographs slipped from the envelope—photos of family members and friends. After she pored over each one carefully for minutes, she turned to me with tearful green eyes and said, “These are precious treasures of grace.” She excitedly saw herself in these pictures. She recognized the beauty of my mother in her. She admired her father’s smile that he inherited from his grandfather. As she dried her tears, she expressed how she felt such indescribable love for the legacy that she was experiencing.
Leaving a Grace-Full Legacy
The families of Evergreen have endured pain during the times of war and tragedy. They persevered and found joy. They believe in the power of love and faith. Evergreen is a small town of “families” with big hearts, ready to serve and help. There is deep love for each other, even when tensions are high. People are bound to one another through work activities and faith. It is the Evergreen way of life. It is an extension of the Evergreen founders. It is going back in time and experiencing what the founders of Evergreen felt and how it has passed to generations. They had a strong faith and left a legacy.
As I shared these stories with Bella, I conveyed the hope that she continues the legacy. I pulled the last two items from the chest. One was a blanket that covered her when she was born. I told her how her birth was a blessing, and that prayers covered her before she was born into this world. I gave her the last item, a journal. The journal was a book of prayers and personal notes to her, my Bella. I challenged Bella to fill this chest with her special memoirs and continue the legacy by recounting the numerous ways her life becomes grace-full so she could share with the generations that follow how much God has blessed and showed grace.
I challenged Bella to fill this chest with her special memoirs and continue the legacy by recounting the numerous ways her life becomes grace-full so she could share with the generations that follow how much God has blessed and showed grace.A Journal of Prayers