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Don't wish your time away
On May 16, 2009 the family and friends of Ada (Gammon) Dolloff Vaughn gathered graveside in Buckfield, at the Gammon/Dolloff Family plot to say good-bye. It was a day of remembering how she touched each of our lives.
“We could stand here for hours and tell stories,” her son Richard Dolloff stated. Several family and friends recounted the days of “stubbornness”, “world re-known whoopie pies” and of course the “tapping on the window to get rid of the crows in the garden.”
Ada, mother, sister, gram, great-grammie, great-great-grammie, aunt and friend was 98 years young when she passed to her Lord above on January 23, 2009. She spent the last year of her life being cared for by members of her family who knew how important it was for her to remain in her home during her last days.
It was during this time that she ate tacos for the first time, learned what an IPOD was and observed firsthand how dearly she was loved by her family and friends.
The minister, speaking at her funeral advised us to live each day fully and to not wish our time away. “Time is valuable. The day will come when you don’t have any more to wish away. In the winter, you wish for the snow and cold to go and for spring to replace it; now, while you’re batting at the black flies you wish for it to be another time so that they aren’t biting you.”
Now, more than four years later, her memory lives on inside each of us. Her voice can still be heard, the smell of her cooking is still floating on a gentle breeze between the homes and her guiding hand is still felt as each of us look to the heavens above for her light to show us the way.
I learned many years ago that I wanted to be a writer. As a child I would escape to the solitude out behind my great-grandmother’s barn in the shade of the lone tree, sitting there, on what I thought was my own personal island rock, writing in my journal.
Many years later, I found myself sitting in my great-gram’s kitchen talking with her and finding myself curious about her life. Like any grandchild, I knew the basics; who she was married to, how many kids they had, that her first husband, my great-grandfather, was killed in a logging accident, and that she had remarried, and the most obvious, that she had a faith that was stronger than any I had ever witnessed.
I promised myself, one day, I was going to write her story, as told to me by her. Well, as it turned out, the day I told my great-gram of my plans, she laughed and, I remember this very clearly, like she is sitting next to me as I type this, “Why would you want to write about me? My life isn’t anything special. You need to realize that there are just some things that are left better in the past. Look to the future and trust that the Lord has a plan for you.”
For those who knew my great-gram, they remember her as a true believer in the Almighty, a sower of her own food, hard worker, caring to all her fellow man and provider of a practiced faith to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a symbol of strength.
From the earliest times as a child, I remember watching out the window as my great-gram traveled past my house in her robin’s egg blue 1978 Nova, heading to church on Sunday. My cousins and I would play in the field between our grandparent’s house and hers’ or down behind the barn until she came home.
We would always wait until she climbed out of her car and got the garage door shut, before we would all jump out. It’s no wonder we never gave her a heart attack. She would laugh and invite us in for the snack of the day; whoopie pies, filled cookies, popcorn balls, it was all such a treat. Once in awhile, we would make more than one trip, but she would always tell us that two was enough and to “get back outside and play. It’s a nice day.”
There are so many memories popping into my head about my great-gram as I write. It’s hard to believe that she’s been in Heaven for a little more than four years. The good Lord called her home on January 23, 2009 after 98 years of blessing our family and friends with her strength, wisdom and love.
As I write this, Draw Me Nearer by Meredith Andrews, is playing in my ears and I realize this song is a statement of what my great-gram stood for.
Do you have a special someone in your life who has been in the area for a while? Who has seen more life than any of us can ever imagine and is willing to share their story? I would enjoy being able to share their story in an upcoming column.
Please, don’t wish your time away and honor those in your life while they’re still here.
Please contact me at 364-7893 or email me at email@example.com to make arrangements for a visit.