“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet.
“Even longer,” Pooh answered. ~A.A. Milne, author of Winnie-the-Pooh
Dear Mom, You have received a special message from the daughter of some special friends.
Cheryl (Maberry) Blacklidge grew up in Ft. Scott. Now she lives with her husband and son in Mississippi. Enjoy her birthday letter to you, Mom! Love, Marylin
When I realized that it was your 95th birthday, I decided it was way past time to write to you and let you know something that has been on my mind for quite some time now. Recently I read Debbie Macomber’s book God’s Guest List. It is about all the guests that God sends to each of us as gifts though out our lifetime. You are certainly one of those guests/gifts he sent to me. I hope you somehow know what a wonderful gift you have been to me.
My first recollections of you are from some of my earliest days at First Christian Church. I love to hear the story mom tells about how you and she were the first two women to break the “hat rule” and attend church hatless. Thank you – I never have cared much for wearing hats. I also remember you always going out of your way to welcome, with that beautiful smile of yours, everyone who came to church. There were also those great CGF dinners that you helped us cook and then enjoy, as we talked about God, church, and life – not always in that order, but all three were always included.
Our families have had such a close connections since our first meetings through the church. You and Mom worked together on so many projects, from VBS to painting the Sunday School Rooms to working in the kitchen to prepare Sunday church dinners. I know Daddy and Ray always felt a close connection through the church and through the Masons. I’ll never forget hearing Daddy and Ray visiting together not too long before Daddy died. Their conversation was mostly about memories, but shortly before Ray left that evening, they hugged and agreed that they had felt like brothers throughout their friendship. It still brings tears when I remember the closeness they shared that night.
Because of you, I know Marylin and David (as well as their families) and consider them to be dear friends. David has been such a strong and faithful leader at First Christian Church, and in Fort Scott. He has also “been there” for me when I needed any kind of help – like the Sunday morning when I called him in panic to tell him that someone had hit and seriously damaged my car in the night and I didn’t know what to do about it. He calmly assured me that he would see to it that the body shop would take good care of it. David convinced me that it wasn’t the end of the world.
Marylin has been there for me many times, also. Marylin welcomed me into her home so many times and then even invited me to live with her and Molly the summer that she and I attended classes at Colorado College. She is the kind of friend that no matter how long it has been since we visited, our conversations start off as though we have talked just the day before. I know I could go to either David or Marylin if I had a problem and they would be there for me, just like you and Ray always were.
Happy Birthday, Mary. Love from my family to yours. Cheryl