By Shirley Prihoda
She was a tiny wisp of a young woman, barely 18 when she moved to Wild Peach with her parents. The first Sunday, as was their custom, found them at the Wild Peach Baptist Church.
The pianist was late for their Sunday School worship, and for reasons known only to the Lord, they took one look at the raven-haired beauty and surmised she played the piano. She did.
As her hands proficiently moved across the keys, her eyes turned to the door, and she caught her breath at the sight of the proverbial, tall, dark, and handsome young man standing there. It was at that very moment she knew her heart would forever long for this young man.
Wanting to get to know him, she planned a party and invited him. He came and seemed to enjoy her company. Then came the waiting for him to make the next move. It was torture for the raven-haired beauty until at last he called and asked her out. With more restraint than she felt, she graciously said, “yes”.
When the evening arrived, he escorted her to the car and started the engine turned, and said, “I’m singing at a revival tonight. Will you play for me? Also, can you sing alto?”
She could, and so began their courtship. Then came the day he asked her if she would change her last name to his. She didn’t tell him she had done that the day she saw him standing in the doorway. So, Mark Stuckey and Pamela Gail Evans (in the South, we give our daughters two names in case they want to be in pageants) became beloved.
The years passed as their hearts became one in unity and purpose, ministering in staff positions of praise and worship leaders at local churches, birthing four children, and welcoming grandchildren that lit up their world. They lived and loved each other.
Through the years, Mark remained the gentle giant of a man while Pam’s vivacious personality blossomed in business. When she presented her idea of starting a barn-building company, her family approached it cautiously. Like most successful entrepreneurs, she knew she could do it and said, “I’ve been to Lowe’s. I can do this!” So, Stuckey Barn and Supply was born.
Then came the day she realized something was terribly wrong with her beloved. The diagnosis was Dementia. The page had turned. Her beloved was becoming her child. It was like watching a very slow-moving train wreck that goes on and on with seemingly endless destruction.
The days were long and the nights longer as the memories of what once was became colored by what tomorrow may hold. The word “WHY” was emblazoned in neon letters on the walls of her heart. This couldn’t be happening. It all seemed like a country song with a bad ending.
As the days became weeks and months, he was slowly slipping away. Gone was the beautiful melodious voice that had touched hearts and brought so many people to the cross of Jesus.
Her beloved still stands before her, but he’s not there. Her beloved is now her child.
In cries of wanting to the Lord, she says, “This is too hard. Please bring my beloved back to me.” In those despairing times of helplessness, G.K. Chesterton’s quote hangs thickly in the air, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”
So, the raven-haired beauty who fell for the gentle giant of a man years ago, turned from her needs to his.
She was faced with a choice to be a bystander and live for tomorrow or to live inside the narrative. With the vim and vigor of a Roughrider and armed with Teddy Roosevelt’s quote, “Don’t dismiss the impossible until I die,” she set her face like flint to find contentment in the journey, not the impending destination.
When all is said and done, her prayer is for a Mother’s Day card that reads, “You did the best you could.”
The most wonderful time of the year is approaching - Resurrection Sunday. While we celebrate the birth of our Savior, had He not risen, our world would have been different.
It’s time for family celebrations, and if you are Southern, that always includes food.
Orange and Molasses Glazed Ham
1 7-pound Spiral cut Ham, precooked and not glazed
1 Can Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate, don’t dilute it.
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 Cup Molasses
Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Line a roasting pan or oven-proof dish with foil. Take ham out of the packaging and turn it upside down on aluminum foil. Wrap securely so that no steam is released and place the ham in the pan, cut side. down. Bake for 2 hours.
To make the Glaze
In a non-stick pot, combine frozen orange juice concentrate, ground ginger and molasses. Stir and cook on low heat. Watch carefully so that it does not boil over and until the glaze is reduced by 1/3. This should take about 15 minutes.
When 2 hours of cooking time is complete, unwrap and pour 1/2 of glaze over the ham. Place ham back in the oven, unwrapped, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, pour the remaining glaze over the ham and cook for 10 minutes longer.
Remove the ham from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
(To contact Shirley, please send emails to email@example.com or write to The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, Tx. 77516)