Odd title, but it describes my schedule for today. Knowing that I had a memorial service to attend, I searched to find four weddings to witness as well, but no such luck. Besides, it would have been a very tight squeeze time-wise. The one funeral will have to do, and it is not such a bad thing to do on a beautiful day here in the mountains. Considering the circumstances. Charlotte O’Rear, the dear lady we honored, was a wonderful woman. She was a no-nonsense nurse in her younger life – couple that with her innate kindness, and you have completed the formula for an extraordinary woman – a true lady. She will be missed; thanks for her life were offered, words of consolation whispered, and memories shared.
Those memories came cascading down upon me this morning, as I roused to myself after a long night. Princess helped me with that. She decided this morning she would be playful. I wish you all could see her when she is in one of these moods – but that is another story.
When I think of our friend Charlotte, I automatically remember her husband Harry. And any memory of Harry would not be complete without my “Pappy” stopping by for a spirit-visit. Pappy was my extraordinary and wonderful father-in-love. I met Harry and Charlotte through Pappy. When Pappy was President of Paine College In Augusta, Georgia he developed a deep and abiding friendship with Harry and Charlotte. At the same time Pappy was in Augusta, Harry was serving as President of the Medical College of Georgia. Harry was a physician (pediatrician) as well as an able administrator and professor, and when Pappy was appointed President of Paine, Harry made it his business to introduce himself, and welcome Pappy to the community. A wonderful friendship grew out of that meeting, and it is a friendship that lasted for the rest of their lives.
It would have been quite unusual to spend any time in conversation with Pappy without hearing at least a few words about Harry and Charlotte. I first met Harry when he came to the mountains to visit Pappy and Mom “C” when I was there with our then 8-month-old Joshua. Ashley could not be with us, but I was able to “hitch a ride” with my parents who were driving in that direction to visit my brother and his family. Joshua had not been with his paternal grandparents since his birth and he was needing a visit. (Good grief! What a convoluted group of explanatory sentences that was!)
Harry was visiting in the area because he had been asked by some civic group to present a slide show of his remarkable nature photography. I came to know a bit about Harry by watching that slide show. He had a reverence for nature and a keen eye for beauty – a trait that was also exhibited in his choice for a life-partner.
I don’t ever remember Charlotte sitting still – at least not for long. She remained active and involved in a number of activities throughout her life. She had a deep love of the natural world, a love she shared with her husband, and something I learned today – she had a keen interest in the International Space Station. She knew its orbital path and would frequently hold “star parties,” and invite people over to star-gaze and to watch the path of the space station as it made its orbit above them.
Charlotte was a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. I’ve had the opportunity over the last few years to meet her son and daughter along with many others of her family, and have enjoyed each one of them. Her grandson Cody is a violinist of the first order, and he shared his gift at the service today by playing Amazing Grace and accompanying his cousin Mike as he sang along beautifully. Cody and Mike are but two examples of Harry’s and Charlotte’s wonderful extended family.
So I attended a funeral today, but far from sad, I was blessed to be present with many of Charlotte’s family and friends. There were tears, yes. Tears are part of the great cycle of life and death. But there were smiles and laughter, too. And there was confidence among everyone there that Charlotte and Harry were once again united. I grin to myself just thinking of that reunion.
Charlotte Grove O’Rear lived a life of love and service for 90 years. I was honored to be able to call her my friend. She will be forever remembered with love and joy. Charlotte lived a life filled to overflowing with the abundance of enough. . .