Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Know Them By Their Fruit

Life, I've found, involves continual learning. And, there is no knowing where that learning will occur. I recently attended the funeral of a very dynamic woman, Dr. Jean Temple, and was amazed by both her achievements and the people she chose to surround herself. As usual, click each photo for a better view.

Dr. Temple was an educator and a scholar who received her Masters at the Medical College of Georgia, her Doctorate at Louisiana State University, was known internationally for the publication of eight editions of the Clinical Nursing Guide, and went on to become the Associate Dean at The School of Nursing Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia. Breast cancer was the only battle she could not win.

I found myself sitting during the small church service and marveling at the accomplishments of this very amazing woman. And, I had to ask myself, in this age of mega churches what was the draw for her membership in this small congregation at St. Paul A.M.E. Church. No answers came. There was another service planned at a larger church later in the day closer to Atlanta but we had paid our respects and decided to return home.

And then out of the blue the learning began. A member of the church asked, before we began the long ride home, if we would have a little something to eat at their Afternoon Tea Meeting? One often has to question eating with strangers but the offer was made with such grace that we could not refuse.

We were treated to a feast and some of the best company you could ever encounter. In short order we felt right at home and found ourselves laughing and having a great time playing word games. Janice, in the middle, was the leader of our group. She had a smile that could light up a room and a way about her that forced you to enjoy that ready smile and friendly nature. We became a force to be reckoned with in locating the words needed to win a prize.

And then, the treat of the Afternoon Tea Meeting: the display of hats. Any lady who wished to display her hat went into this little room to set it right. Here one of the designated escorts awaits a model. And finally someone would emerge.

There were some who would do well on anyone's red carpet.This particular model stole the show with her air of confidence and unique flair.

Everyone was given the royal treatment, like this lady who ended up with two escorts to display her hat.

And even if you did not display your hat there was still a sense of joy to watch the ones that did.

And then I understood what Dr. Temple had probably long ago recognized: Here was a place where you could be taken into the bosom of people who did not care who you were or where you were from but simply wanted to share their joy of life with you for the moment.

I told you life involves continual learning...

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