Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Quarter

So, today marks two and a half years.

Two and a half years since my sweet mom moved to Heaven.

Not that the choice was hers. The battle with cancer had been much longer than anyone anticipated. And the unrelated brain tumor worked more quickly than anyone projected. There wasn't time for any plan then.

Some days it feels like forever ago. And today it seems that I should still be able to pick up the phone and give her a call. Sigh.

I had pondered what I should write today and finally settled on a "Mama Story." She would like that best. So many to choose from but I thought of this one about camp.

Summer camp was a little different for me growing up. I attended a church camp in Marianna, FL every summer. The same one my Mom had attended as a teenager.

And it wasn't the typical activities-driven camp. This was church camp! We went for two reasons:
  1. To participate in the evening services - great music, a rousing sermon by a young evangelist and extended times of prayer. (Seeking God's will for our lives.) AND.....
  2. To find a "date" for the Thursday evening banquet! (Honesty is the best policy.)
I was extremely comfortable with reason one. I loved the music. I laughed and cried during the sermon. I spent lots of time in prayer; I needed it.

But reason two? Let's just say that was pretty much a "no go" for me.

I was too bashful to approach any fellas or even act interested in them. If a boy so much as smiled at me, it meant ridiculous blushing and outlandish giggling on my part. (I'm blushing again now just thinking of the embarrassment.)

Mom was aware of awkwardness. (Back then we just called it plain ol silliness.) And the summer that I turned 15, she decided to do something to help me along.

She had willingly volunteered to serve as a driver in our camp caravan. We always left Pensacola at 6:00 AM even though the camp was only three hours away. These camps drew hundreds of kids and late arrivals slept on cots in odd locations.

Once settled, everyone reported to the Tabernacle (indoor chapel) for orientation. My best friend, Susie and I made our beds, stowed our suitcases, brushed our hair and hurried to find seats near the front of the chapel.

Mom had lingered near the back of the huge auditorium. As the original social butterfly, my mom had friends from across the state that she wanted to see before leaving.

Just before the camp director came to the stage, an amazing thing took place.

A BOY came and sat down right between Susie and me. A CUTE BOY. A REALLY COOL BOY. Dark, wavy hair; big blue eyes; bright, gleaming smile!

And he started us!

I was dumb-struck.

No words would come out of my mouth. I just kept wondering, "Did he mean to sit down here?" "Does he think we're someone else?" "Who is this guy?" "Where did he come from?"

Susie regained her composure first. She managed to smile and answer a couple of questions. I just kept sitting and starring.

The director took the microphone and instructed the boys to sit on the right, girls on the left. As quickly as he had come, the handsome stranger was gone. Susie and I sat in awe.

This was going to be a GREAT year at camp!

What we did not know was that Mom (ever aware of her daughter's ineptitude) had intervened.

Seems she had spotted the handsome teen as he ambled into the back of the chapel with several of his buddies. Mom called him over to her and asked if he would like to part of some fun.

"Do you see those two girls up near the front?" she asked. (She pointed out the wallflowers: Sheri and Susie.)

"Yes Ma'am." (He was a proper southern boy.)

"Well, I'll give you a quarter if you'll go sit down right between them and start talking to them."

A QUARTER?!! That's all it took?!

Apparently so. Smile.

Unbelievable, right?! Yes, that's just how my mama rolled. No, I did not make this up. But that was why we loved her so.

And always will.......


  1. :) Sweet memory. . . .

  2. I love this story! If you have pictures of this time, you should post them! (have Amanda help you lol)

  3. Sheesh! I just wrote you a whole letter on here and it got lost!! I just can't do it over again. You've gotta call me. 424-1375.

    Posting here since you don't return phone messages left at the church.

  4. Well, I'll try it again anyway....maybe it won't get lost in cyberspace this time. It's just hard to reproduce the original as it always comes out diferent the second time around.

    This is only my second time logging in since I found out about your blog. I've just read backwards the last thre or four posts and I'm thoroughly enjoying it, Sheri. It has brought back a few memories....and likely many more as I continue to read further back.

    Jenny also loved "Wheel" and even got my Dad hooked on it some years back.

    Sis. Alice was indeed a very special person. And just how OLD (sic) were you in 1967 when she and your Dad befriended me???

    I've been trying to reach you to answer the question you asked me......"How are you and Jenny doing?".... which I did not feel like answering by e-mail since the answer is a story in itself. So please do call me....a voice answer is so much more appropriate. 424-1375.

    Afterall, you OWE it to me. LOL. Yes, it is quite possible that you would not have the life you now have if it were not for me. No 3 sweet little (??) girls helping in your ministry....who knows???

    Know that I do love you and your family....your WHOLE family. All of you have a special little niche reserved in my heart.

    Have a BLESSED evening,
    Russell Sanders

  5. I remember those camps with your Mom!!! She was a beckon for me when my mother was dealing with her own kind of hell!!! I love & miss those precious times..................VJG