Caring in Clinton

My travels took me to Clinton last week for a funeral for a friend.
My college roommate’s dad passed away, and though they were living in Oklahoma, his final resting place is the small home town where he was raised.
I was heading to the coast and was pleased to learn that my new destination was right on the way. I crafted a special flower arrangement and planned my path to drop it off so it would be waiting there upon her arrival. When I realized I would be scrambling on Saturday to get to town in time, the response I got was reminiscent of life on the island: ‘If you are running late don’t worry, we live right down the road; just give us a call and we’ll come over to meet you. Really!? I just love North Carolina, and find it fascinating to visit small towns and hear the history of their people.

The funeral home itself was built in the early 1930s, and remains a family owned relic of past generations. The director offered a warm and friendly welcome to me and my faithful canine companion, encouraging us both to return for the service on Tuesday.

I drove through the historic heart of town, around the Sampson County courthouse, centered strategically in the city, complete with a statue of a pig out front! I stopped in the bookstore and one of the thrift shops to connect to a little Clinton culture.

As I approached the interstate, my surroundings became surprisingly familiar. I was entering at the area I usually exit for a quick bite to eat mid trip. It was good getting grounded in the lay of the land and discerning the most direct route for my return from the opposite direction.
The service itself was simple, small and special. My friend had worked for hours honoring her father’s essence through photographs, passports and meaningful mementos of his past 85 years on the planet! From birth, through college, his loyal service in the Navy in World War II, a lengthy career with IBM, to retirement and travel with his children and grandchildren; seeing the splendor of his life so vividly displayed was a unique and treasured gift for all in attendance.

Though I never really knew my friend’s father personally, her discipline and dedication to him speaks volumes regarding his character and hers. A single parent of two teenaged boys, she took her father into her home and cared for him through his final years. I wish I had been so humble and helpful in my mother’s final days, and know now the power of parenting our parents with the same unconditional love they showered us with as children.

Who do you care for? And how do you show it? Take some time today to make sure they know it.

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