Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Her Purse

Purse: noun "A tote for carrying personal things."  So says Webster.

Others call it a Pocketbook.  Handbag.  Satchel. Clutch.  Reticule.  (Yeah, I'd never heard of that one either until I checked the thesaurus.)

One friend in middle school called hers a "pocketpurse."  Extremely odd!

Why the tutorial on the word - purse?

Because this week I received a purse in the mail that you couldn't buy from me for any amount of money.  It's my mom's last summer purse.  And I'm overwhelmed with joy!

New readers won't know.  But my precious mom moved to heaven December, 2008.  There has been an empty spot in my heart ever since.  Others who've lost beloved parents tell me that's perfectly normal.

My life is full of joy and adventure just the way she would want it.  But during the benchmark moments.........I miss her as though the move took place yesterday.

Having two new grand babies born within three weeks this summer was one of those times.  I wanted to pick up the phone so badly and listen to her celebrate with me!  She would have been a phenomenal great-grandmother!

Mom usually carried two purses each year.  A light-colored summer purse; Easter to just after Labor Day.  And a black winter purse; Labor Day to the next Easter.  The winter purse was never brown or camel - always black.

In later years, she indulged herself and would buy a new one almost every summer and winter.  I can't remember her ever spending more than fifteen or twenty dollars on a purse at most.  But she carried each one with such pleasure that she made them look like designer bags costing much more.

Mom's purses were such a part of her that Dad kept a black one and a white one on the nightstand for six years.  When he decided to remarry, he gave them to my sister.  She mailed one to me.

Of course I cried as I cautiously extricated the white bag from the packaging.  And quiet tears kept slipping from my eyes as I tenderly touched each item the bag held.

My sister and I had discussed how to chose which purse we would take.  Finally, I selected the summer bag based on the small Bible contained in it.  The Bible had been presented to Mama as a birthday gift when she and Dad first left their home church to become pastors.

I was twelve when our family made that transition.  It impacted me greatly.  I wanted the Bible Mom read from during that major shift.  So naturally, the Bible was the first thing I reached for.

The navy-colored leather is stiff from lying unused these six years.  The snap closure, which she had often described as "spiffy," broke off a long time ago.  I turned to the presentation page first.

There it was..........her distinctive hand-writing:
     "This Bible Presented to:  
Alice Burke
        on the 24th day of January, 1971 
        Eastside Assembly of God Church
        on the occasion of My 34th Birthday
As we left to fill the 
pastorate at Warrington"

I gingerly began turning the pages.  Mom always underlined in her Bibles.  Single scriptures and sometimes lengthy passages.  Whatever spoke to her at the time.  And she wrote little notes in the margins, too.

I sensed her laughter as my eyes widened with the very first underlined scripture I found:  "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you......"  John 15:16.  That just happens to be the very scripture Frank and I chose for our wedding verse.  The reference is engraved in his ring. 

Can't make it up!  

Life is full of benchmark moments.  And God used Mom's purse and Bible to remind me of their great love at a time when I longed for it most.

Benchmark moment - just this week.



  1. Congrats on your family expansion...how exciting. For me there is nothing like baby sugar. I love reading about your Mom and your memories. May you continue to hold them near to your heart as you make new wonderful memories with your Loves. Love you - Big!

    1. Thanks, Char....on both counts. Sending hugs your way, too!