When my dad decided to relocate to South Carolina and live near us, I was absolutely delighted. I told numerous friends that “it was like the best gift ever!” My mom had passed away only months before and I wanted to be able to visit and chat with him daily. We had been separated by 700 miles for twenty-five years. Yes, I was a Daddy’s girl and as an only child maybe that title was doubled! So Dad moved, leaving the house he had built in 1952. Yes, Dad was a carpenter!
We found a rental property for him, but he wanted a home of his own again. He was 81 years old and still very independent, but he did want me to preview some possible properties first. I found some homes that I thought might work but they were too big or just not what he was looking for. After a few months I was becoming frustrated. Of course, I should have realized that God had a plan for us and it would be in His time and not mine.
On Election Day of 2000, Jim took me to our property in Bucksport via a new way. We passed through a charming little area and I saw a cute little mobile home with a well-kept yard and a For Sale sign in the yard. Yes, this had to be the place for Dad. I called him on my cell and he joined me to look at it within about thirty minutes. Well, he seemed pleased and asked me to call the real estate to make an appointment to view the inside.
When we saw the interior, both of us were beyond pleased. A sweet little lady owned it and she was returning to her hometown in Kansas. It looked brand new and was immaculate. When he said it suited him and I was beyond happiness, especially since it was only three miles from our home. Yes, God had answered our prayers (that is Jim’s and mine). You see, at this time, I was not sure about my dad’s salvation, but God had special things in store for us!
Dad moved in and was quite pleased with his purchase. His next door neighbor was a single mom, an African-American lady, who also had her teenage daughter living with her. Well, she and Dad developed an interesting relationship. He didn’t like neighbors who “bothered” him, but Dorothy appeared to have a special touch. He would occasionally mention that he had helped her in some small way and I was glad he had someone next door although I did visit almost every day.
As he began having health concerns, I later discovered that he was opening up more to her than to me. He told me that he’d had some pain, but didn’t want to see a doctor. I tried to honor all my dad’s requests so this wasn’t up for discussion. However, one day he revealed that he had mentioned this to Dorothy and said, “Guess what she did?” Well, I had no clue and he responded that she’d put one hand on his chest and one on his back and prayed for him. What a brave lady! I was speechless! Finally I mumbled, ” Wasn’t that nice?” and prayed a silent prayer to God. You see I still wasn’t sure how he felt about God. We never discussed religion or politics! It was safer to keep him happy and let him lead the way. Oh, I should say let God lead the way! Well, to my surprise and delight, Dad agreed with me. It was nice of Dorothy to pray for him. Wow, I couldn’t wait to get home and share this with Jim!
On another visit, my Dad mentioned that he might get a new truck. He was thinking about it and told me that if he did he’d give Dorothy his vehicle, a ’93 Hyundai with about 14,000 miles on it. I was blown away by this because my dad was not known for his generosity except towards me. I told him that was good, but I flew home to tell Jim the wonderful news. I was seeing a thawing heart. I’d become concerned about his frugal attitude after he’d moved close to us and wanted him to enjoy the time he had left here on earth.
After living near Dorothy for almost three years, he took ill quite suddenly and agreed to see a doctor. Things went bad very quickly and he was admitted to intensive care in the early morning hours of November 20, 2003. Dorothy called me later that morning and her only question was “Is Peter saved?” I replied honestly that I didn’t know and she told me that we didn’t have any time to waste. We both decided that Jim should be the one to speak with him.
God had a different plan, but first let me share that Dorothy came to the hospital with her two older children that I had not yet met. She wasn’t able to see him but she shared her love with me. Our minister, Ben Barnett, came and accomplished what we all wanted for Dad … salvation two days later. Dad passed the following day.
Dorothy came to our house and extended her sympathy and love. We hugged and laughed and cried over “Peter’s” life here near both of us. I thanked her for her concern and Christian love for him. Oh, we gave her Dad’s car! She was pleased, but hadn’t expected anything. I can’t thank God enough for His love and for Dorothy’s love. He always knew exactly where Peter needed to be as his life drew to a close. Thank you, Lord, and thank you, Dorothy. Yes, a true disciple of Christ and my friend, too!