Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mrs. Judy Webster…Blood Kin

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

Judy Webster fits easily in my list of the top ten lifetime friends, and I’ve been blessed with many. She stepped over into the land to which I’m rapidly traveling where she lives, but without any of those negative repercussions of the original sin in the garden. She’s all about being there and I cannot wait to sit down with her again in that place. We did not lose Judy last week. We know right where she is. 

Judy was a great teacher. I never heard her deliver a lecture or teach a women’s class, but she could impart more wisdom over a glass of tea than most of us can include in a manuscript over which we’ve studied for months. There are a couple of major blessings in my life that still profoundly affect me; lessons that have emerged from a gentle suggestion or a resolve that we made together, Judy and I.  She, being dead, yet speaks in my everyday world of small decisions (Hebrews 11:4). 

Judy said a few things that I will never forget; little things that you don’t know are impressive in the moment, but words that keep entering your memory. The first day she walked into my house on Sweetie Lane, she looked up and all around in my open living room and said “Oh, Cindy. Now I really know you. I know why you are like you are.” Well, that could be taken lots of ways, but what Judy meant was profound. Our homes are so very descriptive of our real selves. As I’ve moved a couple of times since that day, I’ve always thought about how much this little (or big) house will reveal to people about me. That’s why Paul described us a keepers of our homes. Our homes tell secrets about our souls. If we, as Christian women, keep our homes well, we generally keep our souls, and those of our children, well.

Judy’s home in Piperton shouted to me. “There’s no pretension here. There’s a big soft chair in the living room and a glass of tea. For supper, there are green beans, picked and shelled today. We can fry fresh-caught fish and, in the dessert, there will be chocolate, because that’s what you like….And there’s time for me to listen.” There was always time. She was busy. She greeted visitors and had them over. She visited the elderly and took casseroles to the sick. She worked in our ladies community Bible study and she traveled with her husband. She had a sister who was very ill. But, still, there was always time for me. And, I know at least two hundred people who could say the same thing! Judy had time for people.

Judy was a really great laugh-er! Just don’t even get me close to her in a worship service where Sister Bea is falling into a deeper and deeper sleep and falling slowly over into the middle of the aisle from her pew, because we just can’t help snickering and we can’t stop. The breathing got heavier, the dyed blonde bob was hovering now near the floor and this sister was suddenly started by a loud and gesturing point from the pulpit and gathered herself quickly back into an upright position. (Eutychus was no less soundly sleeping than was Bea and if it wasn’t for that short end-board on the pew, we would have had a fall, without a Paul, and maybe a broken bone or two.) Just keep me and Judy separated when stuff like this happens. We could not stop.

But Judy could laugh hardest at me. Like Humpty-Dumpty, I am a great fall-er. I cannot ever forget the time, when, after going to her kitchen to refill Glenn’s tea glass, I came scurrying back to the table, took a great ski trip in my sleek-soled shoes across her shiny wood dining room floor. After skating, dancing, spilling and gyrating for about eight feet (I mean I just kept going…) for all to see, Judy tried to say “Cindy, Are you okay?” But first, the smile danced around her lips, then the wide grin that included her eyes, then tears down her face, then full upper body shaking and then…we could not stop! It was always the same. 

Like the time when the ladies at Collierville had invited me back to speak at their ladies’ day. I was so excited to see them. I got all dressed up and we went to a fancy restaurant for dinner—a whole bunch of us—the night before. The waitress, serving from behind, dropped a ranch dip-saturated salad on my head, just as dinner was beginning. Well, that little group was mortified. The waitress was extremely apologetic. But I could not look at Judy for the rest of the meal. If I ever did, she was waiting to catch my eyes under my matted bangs.  If we made eye-contact, it was over. The table would start shaking. We just could not stop.

Judy and Han

Judy was a great role model for Hannah. The very hardest thing about our move to Collierville, way back when, was Hannah’s loneliness. There were few friends for that sweet eleven-year-old girl. She was lonely and sad and longed for fun times with friends that she had left behind in our former town.  I secretly spoke to Judy about this and asked her if she could maybe add Hannah to her already bulging list of grand-daughters. Judy took this very seriously and invited Hannah over to watch sweet movies, to go shopping, to play games and to eat cookies. She attended all of Hannah’s recitals and theater productions and, I’m pretty sure, she had to cancel some other things in her schedule, to attend these events. Hannah did not know that Judy and I had ever talked about her loneliness. She did not know Judy’s friendship was, in any sense, a planned response to her isolation. But Han would often come in the kitchen and say “I love Mrs. Judy. She likes me, too. We have fun together.”  Judy was the salvation for my Mama-heart. I do not know what Hannah’s life would look like had it not been for Judy’s friendship at a volatile time. But I know, for sure, it would not be, today, as rich and good.

Hannah wanted to go to the memorial service for Judy. She took her little girls with her.  When she got back home, she said, “I suddenly remembered, as the family tributes and memories were read, that I had all those same memories of Mrs. Judy and I wasn’t even hers!” It’s really no surprise to me that some of the best women I know are those who were directly influenced by Judy.

I’d really like to go back to Schlotzky’s one more time to get a pesto pizza and sit and talk over our work at the Collierville church, our husbands’ idiosyncrasies, our children and grandchildren, and our shared Calhoun County heritage. Judy and I shared the same grandparents and we were both pretty profoundly influenced by our Aunt Claudine in some good ways. We were first cousins in the flesh, but our real blood kinship was in THE blood, that had washed our sins and replaced all despair with hope. I can’t sit down at Schlotzky’s anymore; it’s not even there. I can’t visit that old house at Piperton. But I will sit down again. And she will listen, still. There will not be tears, but I cannot imagine there not being some pretty intense laughter and joy. I can’t wait. 

He is so faithful.

PS. Here’s clip I found on her Facebook page. So typical of our times together. She really did love to laugh. https://www.facebook.com/hannah.giselbach/videos/10100581030877769

…and you wouldn’t scroll too far on her page without getting to some Bama hype. Here’s a little photo we loved together:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
0 Flares Facebook 0 Twitter 0 Google+ 0 Email -- Pin It Share 0 0 Flares ×

You Might Also Like

    0 Flares Facebook 0 Twitter 0 Google+ 0 Email -- Pin It Share 0 0 Flares ×