Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sweet Encouragement

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Some stories aren’t always happy…but that doesn’t make them any less sweet…perhaps it makes them even sweeter…

This is just a little story, but a story that shows the beautiful character of a beautiful young man…

The Dow Ostlund Family {the Ostlund Family, late 1950s}

My parents’ families were friends for years…they lived near each other, attended church together, enjoyed each others’ company from time to time…

Rudger & LaPriel Smith Family {the Smith Family, early 1950s}

One night, two years before my parents were married, the two families got together for an fun evening.  Clayn  (my future father) was away from home at the time, but my dad’s older brother Grant was there, as was my mom’s younger sister, Judy…this is their little story…

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Judy was blind.  She had been since she was 3 years old.  Not only was she blind, but cancer was very present in the sweet little girl as well.  None of this stopped her.  She was filled with the joy of living—and a lot of sass and imagination…

…Grant knew this.  He was much older than Judy—about 22 years old at this time—a strong, handsome young man…but most of all, a kind one.  The type that, even though he was popular with all and could dance with anyone he chose, would always ask the “wallflowers” to dance, took the time to write loving letters to his grandmothers…cherished his parents…that kind of young man.

Grant's Missionary portrait, 1956  1_edited-1 {Grant, aged 20-21 in this photo}

And the kind of young man that would take the time to encourage a 6-year-old girl.

Judy could play the piano, but this night, when her parents asked her to play for the Smith family, she refused…

“I CAN’T play the piano”, she said… “I’m a horse—horses don’t play the piano!”

DSC08177_edited-1 {charming, vintage Bakelite pin…image found online.  This is something Judy would have loved…}

Without hesitation, Grant said kindly, “I knew a horse that could play the piano…but he was a special horse—not an ordinary horse like you.”

Judy thought for a second, then snorted, shook her ponytail, and trotted across the room like a horse…straight to the piano, where she proceeded to play her memorized pieces for the families.

Judy at the piano 1950s_edited-1 {Judy playing her songs at the piano…the very same piano that we play in my house today…}

Just a little thing, but a cherished memory to hold on to…

You see, Grant was killed in an auto accident the very next day.   Judy would only live one year longer…

DSC08171_edited-1 {a new page made this week for my family storybook…simple and sweet, just like they were…}

A sad story, a sweet story…a story of encouragement to play—not just the piano, but to have fun in life…and encourage others to do the same.

See you soon with something new…

Julie