Grandma

24.05.16

My Grandma . . . she left us 11 years ago today! Hard to believe it’s been that long . . . for someone who ALMOST made it to 100, 11 years seems so short but so long. When someone has made such an impact on your life, not a day goes by that I don’t think of something about her, something reminds me of her or I remember a story. That’s what I did 11 years ago when I was asked to give the eulogy at her service . . . the stories!

Eudera Walker

Eudera Barton Walker

December 17, 1905 – May 24, 2005

by

Debra Cox Malone

Granddaughter

How does someone begin to think that they can be a part of a service for someone who has lived a century? Who she was, who she is and who we are because we had her in our life. I could get up here and tell all my stories but now I look out and each and every one of you could come up and tell YOUR stories as well. I will tell a few but how do you condense that many memories and stories into a few minutes. Soooo, what are ya’ll doing between now and Thursday.  Aunt Margie, we should have brought the food in here and we’ll have an intermission in a while.

Just Kidding . . .

In these last few weeks of Grandma’s struggles after her recent surgery, I have had my friends and church family in Charleston praying diligently for her as I know all of you have that knew she was not doing well. On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:00 a.m., I walk with a few women who I meet in our church parking lot (it’s rather large) and if we walk around it enough times it equals 3 miles. Knowing that Grandma attributed part of her longevity to walking, I want to do my part.

Anyway, Dorothy Rogers, one of my dear prayer warrior friends, whose an artist and sees things in life very vividly, she happened to be the only one to show up that Tuesday morning (hey, I didn’t say I went EVERY Tuesday) but she stayed and walked by herself. Later that day, I had a meeting at the church, which she knew about. She showed up a few minutes before the meeting to tell me that while she was walking, she felt that God had impressed upon her the fact that at 50 I am now the age Grandma was when I was born. Whew, what a thought. That tells you how old I am. Anyway, she then handed me this small red box and as I was opening it, she told me how she saw my grandmother as an oak tree with very, very deep roots, a solid trunk and far reaching branches. I opened the box to find the most perfect specimen of an acorn I have ever seen. She told me that when I was born I was an acorn falling from Grandma’s tree and that now I had become an oak tree.

oak tree 3

            This is the legacy, this is the heritage, and this is our family . . . our roots. We’re here on the Barton Family Reunion Day by accident? No, God has had his hand on this family for generations. Some of my favorite stories from Grandma are sitting listening to her talk about her Papa. Sitting by the fire with him reading his bible to all his children, loading everyone up in the wagon on Sunday morning to go to church. The soft-spoken man that he was . . . that by his life, his roots, his legacy, he passed down a Christian heritage to the next generation, to all of us, through this incredible woman.

 I feel like I have three areas to touch on for me personally of who she was and what she’s left us.

 As a person

She was one of the coolest people to be around. How many folks do you know that can work the crossword puzzle in the newspaper EVERYDAY . . . in ink!!!! These are ones she did during the weeks before she became ill.

How about the fact that she was going to the gym everyday for several years when she was 93? She was such a regular at the Lanier Athletic Club in their water aerobics class that when it came time for the Club to do a television commercial, they asked Grandma if she would be in it. Her immediate response, “Do you want me in my workout clothes or my bathing suit?” Their mouths dropped open . . . and said “your choice”. She chose the workout clothes. Although she was hot to trot in that bathing suit.

She sat down for coffee every morning and casually dealt out a hand of Solitaire (cards) to gather her thoughts for the day. She played every morning for the last 25 years at Mom’s kitchen table. It was the most relaxing experience just sitting with her over a cup of coffee while she played and listen as she talked and laid out her cards, over and over . . .with each hand of cards, you heard another story or memory.

She could sit for hours and tell you stories from her childhood that you hung on her every word. We are blessed with a 90-minute audiotape that Theron’s son, Bill, recently made of Grandma reminiscing candid memories of her life. I wish we could have played it today. She could tell you what she had for breakfast on Wednesday morning in March . . . of 1934 (I can’t remember last week). She would tell you stories of relationships that gave you the sense of sitting right there . . . almost eavesdropping on their conversations because her details were so full and complete.

Days on the farm growing up . . .

Helping her mother and Aunt Catherine in the kitchen . . .

Making sure Roxie and Margie stayed out of trouble . . .

Carrying Cooper on her hip with Earl and James in tow to keep them entertained while

waiting for Papa to come in out of the fields

Coming home off the bus with friends and the excitement of finding every kind of cake

and pie made waiting in the pie safe

Hiding Sunday dinner in the food cellar (while Mama and Sally, watched with a grin) so                            that “you know who” wouldn’t be able to help themselves

Her details of all the time spent in Water Valley with Jim (Grandpa)

Teaching elementary school here in Coffeeville

The days of working and modeling at Belk in Columbus

And OHHHHHH the trips to the Family Reunion. How many of you know the way Barb drives? (Sorry Mom) Well, one trip in particular, not long ago, Mom told Grandma, as they were heading down the interstate . . . “Mother, that man gave us a funny look when I passed him” and without batting an eyelash, Grandma said “Well, you’re doing a hundred!” and went back to reading her Redbook magazine. One of the things Grandma insisted on when coming with Mom to the reunions was that they went Dutch on everything . . .  and . . . she would always add, “Barb, make sure you add half the speeding ticket to my share of the trip.”

A favorite memory and story for her was receiving her beautiful red rose from Aunt Margie every year on her birthday. You saw it in her hand last night . . .and Aunt Margie, I brought a little something today, this beautiful cardinal that you made for Grandma

(BIRD) . . .set out . . .

This has sat on her mantle wherever she and Barb have lived and it was always pointed to Grandma’s favorite chair so that she could look up and feel like she was ALWAYS connected to her family.

 Another area . . .

How she affected those around her

I asked my husband to tell me who Grandma was to him, someone from the “outside” looking in. His immediate response was that she was the most peaceful person he’s ever met. Ever calm and “at ease” but the main thing is that she was ALWAYS glad to see you. ALWAYS!!  No matter who you were. He loved to watch her greet someone with the same excitement as the person before or the next person after. She had the ability to make you feel so special . . . as if you were the only person she was going to see that day.

The Sunday School classes she’s been in over the years always led to an impromptu following . . . women would fight to be the one who was going to pick Grandma up and take her to the church. She loved it!!!

At the gym, coming in on one of her birthdays to the pool and walking in and everyone breaking out into Happy Birthday with flowers, cards and a cake. She loved it!!!

Even at the hospital, at her lowest, what radiated from her pulled her doctor, nurses and even the respiratory therapist. Who . . . after learning that Grandma could only eat vanilla pudding this last week and found out the hospital was out . . . marched right to the local grocery store, bought her a six-pack (of pudding) and wouldn’t take any payment . . . anything for Eudera Walker.

Ron’s son, Cody, bonded with Grandma almost @ birth and to this day even as a 13 year-old teenager, his first action after coming in is to go straight to “Mamaw” whether she was in her favorite chair or in the bed. He would hug her, look her in the eyes and connect with her in a tangible way that we will talk about for years to come.

And this week as I was sitting looking over some of my devotional material, one of the items I have is an 11 minute tape of Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz speaking the attributes of Jesus. I had played this for Grandma just a few weeks ago when I was home. She loved it. Well, I love it so much that I have transcribed the list to paper and read it often . . . as I was a few days ago and then I found myself sitting there  writing attributes of Grandma. The list is quite long . . .

-regal

-loving

-gracious

-beautiful

-joyful

-selfless

-resourceful

-patient

-sincere

-gentle

-steadfast

-kind

-strong

-faithful

As I was writing them, it struck me that about every other one is in another list somewhere else . . . it’s found in Galatians 5:20:

The Fruits of the Spirit

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control

. . .. all who Grandma was.

I look at my Mom now and see what was passed down. Mommy, you have been selfless these last 25 years to care for Grandma in the way you have . . . to allow her to continue to live a life of possibility. To continually tell us that Grandma never said a negative thing about another, to hop in the car with her at 10:00 at night for a run to Dairy Queen for a blizzard, to give her last years the ability to stay on go and make every day a possibility. Thank you!!

Her quiet way she affected those around her . . .

she has reaped 1000 times what she sowed.

 Now, the area that has affected me the most . . .

The breadth of God’s hand on her life

I went into Grandma’s room a couple days ago to look around and check out what was on her nightstand. A stack of books, several well worn bibles, a book by Billy Graham, The Faithful Christian and two books by the author W.O. Vaught, who I believe was her pastor when she was staying in Arkansas with Theron and Bet. One in particular, Believe Plus Nothing, I’ve seen Grandma reading several times over the years, but the other book by him, God’s Calendar, I had never seen. I flipped through it to see what she may have written in the margins and I only came across a passage underlined. Let me read what prefaces it to put it into context for you. Job 5:26 says, “Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season.” The expression, “in a full age,” is a Hebrew idiom for “exactly at the right time.” Now here’s what Grandma underlined . . . the only thing in the book . . . Our lives are in his hand, and we need never worry about the time of our death.

She didn’t really talk about the Lord very often or push her beliefs on you but Grandma was a walking manifestation of the Word of God. His living water was a bubbling brook that flowed through her. There were many days when she wasn’t out fishing, playing cards or working her beloved crossword puzzles when she was just sitting studying her bible, working through many of the bible studies that she did or listening to her teaching tapes. And in turn, she simply lived, lived out her relationship with Christ. There was an assurance about her that anyone who was around her could sense that she had purpose, had something to offer with her life that after being around her, you were changed.

One of her great-grands, Thomas Barton Walker, who is 8, when told that Great-Grandmother, as he called her, had gone to be with the Lord. He asked why and it was explained to him about her struggle these past few weeks, and in his crying, he immediately broke out into the song titled:

YES LORD YES LORD YES YES YES . . .

I’m trading my sickness
I’m trading my pain
I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord

Spontaneously, this erupted from him!? . . . his relationship with someone 93 years older than he is? . . . .well, that says it all . ..

Before I close, I would like to play a track from a special CD. I came to Atlanta last weekend to stay with Grandma at the hospital, to give Mom, Aunt Dee and Aunt Betty a break this week. I knew one thing I wanted to do was to play praise and worship music, read her bible to her and just have an all-night “Me, God and Grandma” time. It has been the most incredible experience for me and one that I know the Lord has given me as one of the desires of my heart. Well, this one track is one that, during the middle of the night, I set it to repeat. I wanted to let you hear what she heard as I whispered in her ear . . .”it’s time, Grandma, it’s time” . . . and talking to her about the place “her” Jesus had prepared for her.

 CD “Steve Smith” track 11

             “Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God, trust also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you. I will come back and take you to be there with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

 Let’s Pray:

Father God, you graced our lives with a woman that her children rose up to call her blessed. The impartation that took place in all our lives through her influence, her friendship, her devotion and her love, is a prophetic legacy of what we are responsible to become. Seeds of Christian heritage in the form of an acorn from her family tree that have been passed onto to us and are in us. For some, they have not been watered and nurtured and Lord let us leave today with an awakening of what we have as our Christian Heritage for generations past and for generations to come. I hope today that we can walk out with a sense of nourishment. A sense of divine providence that You, Father God, orchestrated each and everyone of us to be a part of this family, this legacy, and this Christian heritage that has been passed down through Eudera Barton Walker.

Because of this legacy, a true Alignment has happened of the generations for Your Kingdom to Come and Your will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Lord, speak to us about the areas in our lives that need alignment. Lord, remind us who we are and what we’ve inherited through your son Jesus Christ who died to make today possible. Grandma led a life of Christ-likeness and set the example for us all: to love you with all of our heart, soul and mind. The passing of a saint is a celebration and we acknowledge your hand not only in her life for 100 years but in our lives. Also, the divine appointments you will arrange for the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. Appointments to rise up and walk in our God-given heritage . . . to live as Christ lived and to die to ourselves so that others may see you through us. Lord, we thank you for Eudera Barton Walker, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a friend and a Grandma . . .  your precious child who lived a life that showed us the way, the straight and narrow path that leads to a life of possibility, of fullness, of complete joy and love.

Thank you Lord, in Jesus Name

And all God’s children said AMEN

Grandma, you have had the best seat in the house at the

Barton Family Reunion . . . . YOUR Reunion Day

gazing over the rail of heaven . . .

And Grandma . . . . say hi to Amanda for us . . .We love you

and we’ll see you soon.

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