Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.
Running through Wal-Mart trying to remember the odd things on my list I came to a standstill and then had to hurry down the next empty aisle to wipe away the tears because I saw a man who reminded me of Big Don. I don’t see Elaine in many places or many faces, but I have seen Don on occasion and it takes my breath away. Well actually I have seen men who resembled Big Don. You see, Big Don and Elaine have passed away and it’s been awhile.
We lost Don a little over four years ago to pancreatic cancer. It was hard and fast and was unbelievable. And then less than a year later Elaine had a stroke and she was gone within the year.
I miss them still.
Don was a mountain of a man up until the cancer ate away at him. He could hold one child in each arm, high above the crowd and I never saw a child unhappy there. He was a Pied Piper with children, they would flock to him and he held so many fussy babies during church services, I don’t think there is a count to how many. He would stop and help someone in need, he gave his time, his money, his love and his favorite thing to share was his faith. He was a simple man, Elaine told me once he needed to get up by five to get on the road to work before six. But Don got up at four so he could spend an hour with the LORD and read his Bible…he didn’t want to rush through it. He didn’t think he read all that well and he wanted to get each word. Each word. And I don’t doubt that he did.
Where Don was a teddy bear, Elaine was more of a prickly pear…with a soft, soft inside. She was a good hostess in their modest home. I never felt nervous as a mother of young children when I would have the boys to visit there. She had a cookie and a Pepsi or something she had made. There was never a stranger there. She was a rock through all of Don’s illness and then when she was ill, I wondered who would be her rock. She missed him and she longed for home, the real home, and even when she was wheelchair bound and had difficulty with everything, she took the time to write out, “God is good.” That was her message until the day she died.
Don and Elaine were a second set of parents to my DCG, they were an extra set of grandparents to my sons. They took the boys and I to the boys' first dinosaur museum and got them a private guided tour—well, okay, their son worked there. But still…that was one of the most beautiful days I can remember. When DCG was working nine hours away they came and took the boys and I out to dinner—I was without a car, they took me to church and made sure I didn’t feel alone.
The fanciest thing they owned was a Gold Wing motorcycle and they determined to use it only to spread God’s Word. They were Christian Motorcycle Association members. They traveled across the state to carry the Message.
Elaine had an e-mail ministry, and a card sending ministry and she cared for people in need. If you knew her very well you knew she was very insecure about herself. But in truth she was a smart lady and a wonderful role model of a wife and mother.
Don was never afraid to hug someone or shed a tear when moved by the LORD. He was one of the first men I ever saw go forward to the altar to pray. When Don hugged you, you knew you were hugged.
The number of people they touched isn’t able to be measured and their funerals were like none I had ever been too.
I am sure they are home and they are happy, but down here in the worry of the world, they are often missed.
Elaine’s Cabbage Salad
(This was the salad she brought to every potluck at church, I think.)
1 3-oz pkg chicken ramen noodles
6 c shredded cabbage (bok choy works well)
4 green onions
½ c toasted sunflower seeds
½ c sliced almonds
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
Crush ramen noodles and combine w/sunflower seeds and almonds. In a skillet add butter, sugar and ramen and seeds and nuts, brown lightly. Chop cabbage and green onions add noodle mixture and toss. Whisk dressing ingredients and pour over vegetable and ramen mixture and toss again.
½ c vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1pkg seasoning packet from ramen noodles