Alice always made me smile

By Bruce Stambaugh

Alice.

Alice always made me smile. Oh, she could be annoying. Even when I’d kindly caution her to keep her voice down, that didn’t stop Alice from being Alice. Nor did that stop me from liking her.

I got to know Alice at our little church in Millersburg, Ohio. I can’t even remember how long I’d had the privilege of being Alice’s friend. She was a friend to many, to whomever she met really. Alice just had that kind of outgoing, unabashed personality.

Nothing held Alice back. If she wanted something or wanted you to know something that she knew, she’d share, any place, any time. Tact and appropriateness of timing were never part of Alice’s arsenal. Ironically, consideration of others most certainly was. It’s what motivated her, drove her, caused her to fearlessly blurt out her innermost feelings with no compunction.

Alice could be a pill, even a pest. If she had your number, especially your phone number, Alice would find any old excuse to call you. Alice often rambled on and on if you would let her. That’s how much she loved you.

Alice attended church whenever possible. Other good folks went out of their way to provide transportation for her.

Alice loved Helen Steiner Rice poems. She’d read them aloud every chance she got in church, often in honor of someone’s birthday. Of course, Alice did so long after other announcements had already been made. Spitfire that she was, Alice didn’t need a microphone. She would just shout out her comments, prayer requests, and recitations as the spirit moved.

Alice could pull this off because everyone knew her situation. It wasn’t toleration mind you. It was admiration for her unequivocal love for others and her fierce desire to share whatever was on her mind. Nearly 99 percent of the time, her thoughts and concerns were for others, not herself.

Alice receiving communion.

As Alice did her readings or made her proclamations, knowing smiles radiated from all around the congregation. Every worship leader graciously acknowledged her comments and the service continued without a hitch.

In addition to poems, Alice loved a good joke and prank. Though often silly and uncomplicated, Alice laughed her wicked laugh as she told and retold the punch lines. Once when our infant granddaughter squeezed Alice’s index finger and wouldn’t let go, Alice was in heaven. She joyously reminded me of that incident whenever she could. That was Alice.

Several years ago, I escorted Alice to Texas to visit her only living brother, whose health was failing. People thought I was crazy to take on that formidable task.

Though dependent on a wheelchair, Alice traveled with no problems. The further we got from Millersburg, the quieter she got. The return trip proved just the opposite.

Alice listened to my every instruction. Deep down, she and I both knew just how much this journey, paid for anonymously, meant to her. Witnessing Alice embrace her brother Floyd was one of my lifetime thrills.

Quixotic as she was, Alice married late in life on the most romantic day of the year, Valentines Day, Feb. 14, 1970. She and her husband Charlie lived right behind our church. In recent months, Alice was confined to a nursing home, substantially reducing her mobility. Alice recently died there at age 95.

Alice’s unbridled love for life was an excellent gift to us all. In her memory and in her honor, I hope that same devotion becomes an exemplary measure of living out our own lives.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2018

18 Comments

Filed under column, friends, human interest, Ohio, writing

18 responses to “Alice always made me smile

  1. This is such a beautiful story about what appears to be an amazing person. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve known some Alices, we probably all have. Kudos for seeing that she could visit her brother. I can imagine the moment. God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sue McCune

    Alice always went to breakfast at Rodhe’s every morning when they were uptown. If she wasn’t going to be there she would call so we didn’t worry about her. RIP Alice.

    Like

  4. Wonderful story. You are almost a neighbor.
    I live a couple hours from Sugar Creek and spend lots of time
    going through the shops there…such beautiful country!

    Like

  5. Pamela lakits

    She sounds like quite the character, would have like to have meet her. Question for you, what do you think Alice would have said about you honoring her life like this on your blog? I’m guessing she would have been tickled pink. Smile

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, indeed. Alice would have talked and talked about this for a long time. I once wrote a column about Alice hounding me about writing about Halloween. She laughed and laughed for an entire year, and then wanted to know if I was going to write another one about her. Now I finally have.
      Thanks for your comments.
      Bruce

      Like

  6. Alice sounds like a gem. Thanks for sharing her story.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is beautiful. I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear friend. She sounds like she was a very wonderful person.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Weekly Blogroll: Amish in Winter, Sugared Butter Cookies, Amish Caskets, Amish Pasta Salad, and More! - Amish 365: Amish Recipes - Amish Cooking

  9. I loved the post, I think we’ve all known an Alice or two…

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.