Friday, September 2, 2011

Today they laid her peaceful body beneath the sod of a place she called home for many years. The Mississippi Delta. But wait—that was her temporary home.  She was just passing through, touching lives, loving her family and friends, especially her grandchildren, and missing her beloved who went first.

Peaceful because she is truly at home now. Home where she wanted to be those last days of a courageous fight. Amazing how God made a plan for us to "go safely home" when we are too sick, tired, and weary to hang around here.

Oh, while her spirit is rejoicing with Jesus, her body remains beneath that sod until one day soon, she will hear the shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God... for it will be resurrection day and the Lord himself will come to  give her a brand new body. She'll get to go first, along with all those who have died in the Lord. Then those who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them (Annette) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord (I Thess. 4: 15-17). Our job is to comfort one another with these words (verse 18) until that grand and glorious day.

I called her Beth in my book, which she read, by the way, called me shortly after, and we talked and laughed together for the longest time. I loved that. The memories were poignant. Beth (Annette) got featured in my book because she was the one who introduced me to the love of my life some fifty-four years earlier. I'll forever be grateful for that. Yes, we married brothers. She got her Gaddy man; I got mine, and we shared the same last name. That gave us special kinship. We didn't see each other as often as we should have through the years, but we could always pick up where we left off when the time came.

Here's an excerpt from the manuscript, House Not Made With Hands, and I post this in memory of one of the kindest, gentlest truly great southern ladies I know.

Time passed slowly, as slowly as a thousand of those hot and humid summer days in the Mississippi Delta. School was well underway. My senior year. One late fall Saturday morning I drove into town, parked my father’s car in front of the Woolworth store and ran inside, across the freshly oiled wood floors, through the aroma of chocolate and hot cashews from the candy bins, and past the smells of cheap perfume from the counters of the old familiar five and dime. I was on a mission, protocol or not.
Beth was at the lunch counter in her red-checkered uniform. She was thin and her dark hair was almost black. Her eyes danced when she talked, and the dimples in her cheeks deepened as she smiled. She moved with precision, taking orders for burgers and fries and then preparing them with little effort. Without looking, Beth reached for the fountain spout and drew a Coke, took a long stride over, and sat the glass in front of me.

“Jane, you know he’s in town, and he looks great. We all went out—”

“Okay, go ahead, tell me.” I sarcastically butted in, surprising Beth and myself. She looked at me like I had lost my mind, and I continued disgorging words. They wouldn’t stop. Everything that had been pent up far too long came spewing out.

“No, really, I want to hear everything. I know anyway. Ray’s in the Air Force. He’s home on leave. He’s attracted to Peggy. He was out with her last night. You were all out together . . . ”

This was vintage Annette. The photo I scarfed from Lauren—a little gray in that beautiful black naturally curly hair, but the dimples are there, and I will always remember her like this—just like that day in the fall of 1957. She helped me get my man and she helped me "get him back from Peggy"!

It's hard to grieve and rejoice at the same time (an exercise understood only by Christians), but my heart hurts for Cary and Craig today, her beautiful sons. Craig has been my boy for many years. Sweet, tall, dark and handsome guy with piercing eyes and a southern accent that will knock your socks off. And those darling grandchildren will miss their Mamaw no end. 

Praying for all of you still— The memories are forever. Make her proud until you see her again!

Sincerely loving all of you,

Jane Bennett Gaddy
House Not Made With Hands
The Mississippi Boys
Isaac's House


  1. Oh no, it is truly a huge loss for you, what a sweet sister friend. I see the dance in her eyes there...She is darling.

    Loved he story too Jane...It was like watching a movie, I must get your book as soon as I am able. I also loved the way you let her know they were all out together, I can hear myself saying something like that.

    It's such a very special gift to have such a sweet friend like you had in Annette, what a precious blessing form the Lord.

    It seems the Gaddy men have an eye for beauty and character both.

    Blessings and prayers, a hug too. ~Amelia

  2. Amelia, I'm so happy to hear from you. I was in Mississippi for over two weeks and I am behind on reading yours and Marianna's recent posts. I will catch up! I also had to finish editing a manuscript for a new friend in Independence, MO (I've never seen him!) The Lord keeps giving me fun stuff to do in my old age. I just love it.

    It is nostalgic taking moments to live in the past temporarily just for old time's sake (and I think we are allowed to do that in our memoirs). I do have such poignant memories of those years gone by. Annette was such an important person in my life for reasons expressed. I cannot believe she is gone, just 73 years old. My, I just turned 71 and I find that hard to believe. I still feel young at heart. I think writing keeps me in that condition. I will probably die with a pen in hand!

    Thanks for writing and know that you are so special to me. Hugs right back to you and to Marianna. I just love how the Lord sets up these very special times.


  3. Mom read this post out loud to us the other night, right after dinner, while we girls were cleaning up the kitchen... me with hands in dishwater. :) What a wonderful story (although I'd love to know how you got him back from Peggy! :D), and what a special special friend. We all enjoyed hearing about this pretty Annette, but I'm so sorry for your loss. That is so hard to lose such a loved one... but I love what you said "to grieve and rejoice at the same time (an exercise understood only by Christians)". That is so true...

    I love reading your posts and comments, as always, and I loved seeing that autumn is also your favorite season. It is mine too... and like FL, we in TX don't get much of a fall... which is why I plan to take out the fall decor tomorrow, even though it isn't technically fall yet. Still... the sunshine is golden and lovely these days, and if they can take out the Christmas decor at Hobby Lobby, why can't we take out our fall decorations? :)

    You are on my list of people I pray for very often and I will pray for the Lord's comfort for you and your family.

    Much love,

  4. Marianna,
    It gave me such a warm feeling to hear that your mom read my post out loud to you girls while you were doing the dishes! So sweet! I want you to know "the rest of the story"! My publisher is in the process of adapting it to e-book. However, if they don't hurry on to do that, I'm going to put it on Nook myself. You can download Nook for PC free, and the e-books are much less expensive than hard copies.

    I say take out the fall decor tomorrow. Be sure to photograph or have your "in-home" photographer do so for all of us to enjoy with you.

    Thank you for praying for me. It means more than anything. Isn't it just perfect how God puts precious friendships in our paths with the promise if we don't ever meet here, not to worry! That's one way he keeps us homesick for heaven!

    Love to you,


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