What will I remember and miss about Mrs. Maple, also known as Miss Paula? (I was never able to adopt the latter title because I always held her in such esteem the more formal title was the only one acceptable.)
I don't think I ever ran into her when she didn't have an immediate smile. Her love for God and others shone so brightly I was surprised to learn she was actually 71 - in my mind she was much younger. Obviously love is a great way to turn back the hands of time.
She held her husband in the noble regard often disregarded today. She always referred to him as Dr. Maple or The Good Doctor. I was always surprised when someone referred to Dr. Maple as "Ted." I always thought, "Who's Ted? You mean DR. Maple!?"
When her grandchildren were born, she brought pictures to share as all grandparents do. Yet, she rejoiced when others had children and grandchildren. Jealousy was never her companion.
She offered timeless advice about being a good wife and mother and offered it in such a manner I was never offended. Once, when we were neighbors, she dropped by on a Monday evening and said, "We missed you at church last night." I said friends had come to visit, to which she replied, "When we had company drop by on a Sunday, I would say, 'We're on our way to church. Won't you come with us?'" She knew how to prioritize.
When I think of her, I picture the color pink: the pink-carpeted bathroom in the house, her pale-pink lipstick and her flowers. I can see her wearing her floppy hat to protect her skin as she gardened in the yard or at the church. I remember her laughter which was accompanied by a twinkle in her eyes.
Getting dressed for most of us is just something we do, a menial task. She viewed getting dressed as an occasion! I cannot recall her looking frumpy or even average - she always wore the best outfit which, of course, was a ladylike skirt.
She was an indefatigable night owl. What a comfort it was when rocking a baby in the middle of the night to look across the way and see her light on. She was a seamstress and a pilot, earning her pilot's license before the ‘Good Doctor,’ if memory serves me correctly.
She was always late to ladies' Bible class and was never flustered when she made her entrance. She'd take her seat and offer sound counsel. She always contributed to the church potluck with a small side dish of something healthy, not the oversize Crockpot of grease and sugar. Even her foibles were graceful!
She was God's partner: when she said she'd pray for you, you never doubted she would pray - faithfully. She never lost the sense of wonderment that many shed upon entering adulthood. May we all rejoice in daily living as she did.