My 88-year-old friend, Ms. Thelma Applegate, was a ‘tell ya how it is’ kind of woman. This was filmed just a month before she passed away in January. This video was created for her family since they had her celebration of life a couple of weekends ago – and they thought it would be nice to share.
I got to know Ms. Applegate when she moved in my church area several years ago. The local elder put me in charge of ensuring she had a ride to church every Sabbath – and so I worked with volunteers from the congregation to take care of our widow friend. I drove her about once every month, and we always chatted at church. She liked her coffee with just a touch of cream and two things of sugar. Did I mention that she also liked her fried chicken?
My favorite story about how ‘firecracker’ Ms. Applegate had become was when she had noticed a young lady in the congregation. This young lady was the minister’s daughter, and since I was a bachelor, Ms. Applegate called me over to her.
“Yes Ms. Applegate, what is it?” I asked.
Sitting in her wheel chair toward the front of the room, she pointed and answered, “See that young lady Jason?”
“Yes ma’am.” I replied.
She looked at me with a don’t-you-get-it-man kind of look and said “Well, she’ll do, won’t she?”
I blinked wide-eyed, not believing she just said that. I then laughed nervously, and tried to explain that a) it doesn’t work like that, and b) the young lady, though very pretty, was not my type. She just shook her head as if to say “well I don’t see why not”. Remembering this episode still brings a smile to my face.
Previously, Ms. Applegate had lived in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky for several years, but then she broke her hip when she tripped on the curb one day at Sabbath services. I just happened to meet her the week before this accident, so I knew who it was when the Cincinnati song/worship leader mentioned her name and asked for prayers. I had no idea, however, that I would get to know her much better.
Ms. Applegate, throughout her life, had lived with every one of her children except her daughter Alice – and it just so happened that with this hip injury and the recovery, that Alice stepped up. And that is how Ms. Applegate found herself in Tennessee – Alice lives in my area. Alice took very good care of her ‘Momma’ – she would fix her hair, wash her and even press her outfits for church – even though Alice did not go to church herself – she knew how much it meant to her Mom.
Then one day Ms. Applegate fell and hurt herself again. Alice thought it wisest to move her Mom into a special care facility, especially since Alice’s husband Bill was getting sicker with his cancer. It was a ridiculous trying time for Alice.
This was filmed on a really good day for Ms. Applegate in December 2010. Her health had gone up and down those last few months. It was not going to last, however. Alice’s life, unfortunately, was about to get the double whammy. Alice’s husband died in late January, and her ‘Momma’ passed away six days later. Alice is understandably still trying to figure out life six months later without anyone to care for except herself. It’s a big adjustment.
As you can see from the video, Ms. Applegate had a hope – even though she didn’t make it to 90 like she planned. She believed, as I do, in the resurrection of the dead, as Martha spoke of, as John spoke of, and as Paul spoke of. If she fought the good fight successfully, of which I am not a good judge – but I believe she likely did, then she will be raised back to a spiritual life in the first resurrection at Jesus’s Christ return. I’m not sure what Jesus and God are going to think about those harlequin novels that she read toward the end of her life, but as my dad said, “The old lady has got to have a little excitement in her life.” I’ll just grin and wait to see her there …
… well, that is if I continue to decide to fight too.