It's a bit of a detour to drive from San Antonio to Austin by way of the little resort town of Granite Shoals. Yesterday we took that route in order to visit with the 80+ year old mother of one of El Jefe's childhood friends. His friend died of cancer about 15 years ago, but El Jefe has kept in touch with Mrs. B.
Mr. and Mrs. B retired almost 30 years ago to a home they built on a bluff overlooking the big lake. While the home is small and cozy by today's standards, it has a spectacular view and a little boat house at the bottom of the hill. There is a nice covered porch off the living room that faces the lakeside view. On a day like Saturday--clear blue skies, light breezes, temperature in the 70's--you are tempted to sit there forever enjoying it.
A former English teacher, Mrs. B remains as mentally sharp as ever, although her body is beginning to fail her. Her hearing and eyesight are still acute, but she needs the assistance of a cane or walker. Mr. B died a couple of years ago after a long period of stroke-induced debility. Mrs. B nursed him at home for many years and then stayed with him every day when he was in a nursing home. If she mentioned in the conversation any male friends she would immediately note: "but I don't call him because I don't want him to think I'm chasing him. I had the best husband you could have and I don't want another one."
Mrs. B enjoyed showing us some of her prize antiques and telling us the stories around them. Her favorite was the "Baptist Bar". This was a large wooden cabinet meant to hold a liquor and glasses. "It's been in drydock for years," she joked. The dark wood sports a couple of decidedly non-Baptist barebreasted lady figures and fanciful carved animal feet.
A devout Southern Baptist, Mrs. B's bookstand by her chair was stacked with Bibles, her Sunday School class directory, and a short stack of Rick "Purpose Driven" Warren books. Don't call her out-of-date!
After lunch she insisted that we indulge in her home-baked pound cake and take the rest of it with us. "I've been baking this cake since I was 8 years old when my mama got typhoid fever and my sister and I had to cook for my father and brothers, " she said. Yum. Mrs. B has not lost her touch with pound cake either.
She was so pleased that we came she insisted on taking a couple of pictures of us. Her surviving sons live in Dallas and Utah, so she has no family in the area. "I'm going to stay here just as long as I can", she said. "I really love it here and when I have to move to assisted living I'll go to Dallas to make it easier for my son to help me. But right now I love my friends here and my house and my church and I don't want to go."
As we left, Mrs. B urged us to return soon to see her. As the Teacher said in Ecclesiastes "time and chance happen to all." When you meet someone like Mrs. B who has suffered several tragedies in her long life, and is not only sustained by her faith but inspired by it to joyful living, you want to go back again soon so you can learn how to age gracefully and joyfully.
Get ready to make another pound cake, Mrs. B. We'll be back.