Friday, December 4, 2009

I Remember Mother - Eulogy by Virginia Paulk Gardner

This is the eulogy my mom, Virginia Paulk Gardner, gave at Nana's Celebration of Life service in Crystal Beach, Florida and her funeral in Batesville, Mississippi.

Mother Dear,
"A soft answer turneth away wrath" – Words Mama lived her life by. Not to say Mama did not sometimes raise her voice in frustration or sometimes I would have just stepped on her last nerve & she would have to holler out the back door for me.

Physical attributes I will always remember Mama’s soft sweet Southern drawl. Mama’s HANDS – always busy . . . sewing beautiful clothes for me & herself that she had designed; cooking supper or baking or cutting up strawberries to freeze; tenderly caressing the leaves of a plant with one hand while she carefully poured water into their soil with the other; reaching out to me to touch my face or hold my hand; Mother’s hands beautiful always busy doing for others & full of love. Mother’s beautiful blue eyes . . . always with a sparkle like sunlight reflected off the water. Mother’s smile . . . always tender, filled with love & pride whenever she looked at or spoke about me or my brother, Michael, now an Emergency Room Doctor using his soft voice to calm the sick & injured, his steady hands to repair & heal.

Mother’s ways – the real Southern Lady, dressed in dresses she had made & high heels, white gloves & a pretty hat if we were going to church or on the train, the City of New Orleans, up to Memphis for a day of shopping in the city & lunch at Morrison’s Cafeteria, underneath their giant, glittering chandelier.

She loved to sew pretty clothes she had designed & cook good hot meals or wonderful picnic lunches we would take to the Clearwater Beach. Her picnic basket always included: Mama’s Southern Fried Chicken, Hard Boiled Eggs, homemade Potato Salad, Pimento Cheese on Celery Sticks or Bread and Delicious Oatmeal Cookies.

Deep & True & Total Faith in God's Everlasting Love & Care. Her trust with never any doubt and undying true love of God . . .

Jesus was her Rock & Salvation; God was the ever-caring, always loving & protecting God the Father Almighty.

"Trust in the Lord with all thine Heart. Do not lean on thine own understanding, have faith in God & God will guide thee in all thy paths." Proverbs 3:5

More words from the BIBLE that Mother LOVED, had ABSOLUTE FAITH IN, & LIVED BY.

Mother prayed for GOD’s GUIDANCE & BLESSING.

The sound of Mother & Daddy talking softly late at night as I drifted off to sleep to the loving sound of their gentle voices, never to a TV blaring, gave comfort to me & was a sound I missed after my father died on September 12, 1961.

The sound of Mother & Daddy’s laughter mingled together. I loved supper time when we all gathered together at the end of the day for nourishment from one of Mama’s good Southern meals:

  • Fried Mullet, Fish Roe & Hushpuppies with homemade French Fries & Cole Slaw; Warm Banana Pudding for Dessert.
  • Hamhocks & Beans that had simmered for hours on the stove with hot cornbread fresh from the oven.
  • Southern Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes & Butter Beans.
  • Mama’s meatloaf or pot roast with fresh carrots & potatoes & turnip greens & black-eyed peas w/ chopped onion.
  • Baked Beans & Hotdogs & Macarroni & Cheese.
  • Fried Liver. Mama could make everything taste delicious!
  • Mama’s Southern Fried Chicken & Gravy, Rice or Mashed Potatoes, Fresh Green Beans & Corn, tomatoes & salad with some sweet treat to end the meal.

Homemade desserts: Chocolate Cake; Banana Bread; Red Velvet Cake; Lemon Cake; Homemade Ice Cream made with FRESH PEACHES or STRAWBERRIES, or homemade SHERBERT, organge or, my favorite, pineapple.

Precious Lord, Take Me Home . . . Brenda Lacy & Virginia.

My mother graduated from Batesville High School in 1934 with straight A’s, was Class Valedictoria & gave the Graduation Speech. Received a full 4-year scholarship to Belle Haven College in Belle Haven, MS.

I followed in her foot-steps [though not with straight A’s] in 1966, my brother Micheal also was Valedictorian & gave the graduation speech for the Tarpon High School Class of 1969. My daughter Jessica followed her grandmother’s lead. I do not remember the year, I only remember her clear, strong voice, her smile, & her sparkling eyes.

My son, David though not Valedictorian also excelled in school in Mathematics, Science & Writing. In college, he earned an extra scholarship for 6-months in Florence, Italy to study sculpting.

Today all her children & grandchildren remember her well with abiding LOVE & FOND MEMORIES; were all LEAD to GOD through her GUIDANCE & live their LIVES INSPIRED by her strenght of character, honesty, & kindness for others, always striving to & usually achieving EXCELLENCY in ALL that they DO.

Mother Dear, we all love you dearly. We thank you for all your LOVE & CARE, ENCOURGAGEMENT & GUIDANCE.

We thank you also for leading us to GOD;

for your instruction in GOD’s WORD;

for helping us to memorize countless BIBLE VERSES.



YOUR LOVE will always mean the world to us & give us COMFORT.

We will love you forever, remember you fondly, & always strive to live up to all that YOU & DADDY taught us, which we have passed on to our children.

We take JOY knowing that you are now at HOME in GLORY with GOD & our LORD JESUS CHRIST.

Good Night, God Bless YOU, We LOVE you. Sweet Dreams. We’ll see you in our memories & our dreams. And we will meet you on the other side.


1 comment:

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