And it was! When he came strollin’ into the shop, he strolled his way right into her life! He was the perfect gentleman; charming, witty, and handsome!!! I mean he was the “Hollywood Hunk” of that day. Ladies, before there was Denzel, Blair, Shemar, and Tyson … there was Leroy. Down to the faded haircut, tailor made slacks, perfectly starched shirt, and shoes … HE WAS A LOVER OF SHOES! Sharp. No scripted lines, just pure, uncut romance. And Mom fell for him … HARD! But why wouldn’t she want to? He was the “truth,” and Mom had ALWAYS been a lover of truth.
From that point on, they were inseparable; except when he had to return to active duty. She’d wait for him to return, and each time he did the whirlwind of love grew stronger and stronger. In time they got married and had nine children. She was a stay-at-home Mom; he worked hard everyday to support us all.
One day in early 1964, Mom heard a knock at the door. When she answered, it was a face she had recognized from years before. It was Mrs. Maude, one of her best friend’s sister. After a brief hello, Mrs. Maude began to tell Mom of the things she had learned as a Bible student. Mom wanted so desperately to prove Mrs. Maude wrong. Trying to contradict everything they talked about, Mom gave Mrs. Maude a tough way to go. The story in the family is that Mrs. Maude would often leave our house, go around the corner, and cry because Mom had made it so difficult for her. Everything Mrs. Maude spoke about she backed up with the Bible. Yet Mom was no pushover … she loved truth and if you were gonna teach her something, you’d better have proof …
The study between Mrs. Maude and Mom lasted six years. One day, Mrs. Maude came by at her normal time for the study. Instead of pulling out her Bible and publication, she took a deep breath and said, “Dorothy, I’ve taught you everything I know. I’ve shown you everything I had to show you and I can’t do anymore.”
Stunned, Mom said “Maude, what do you mean?”
As painful as it was for Mrs. Maude, she squared her shoulders and said, “You have all the Bible knowledge that I have to give. Now what you do with it is up to you. I’ve done my part.”
Well, up to this point, Mom knew that the things she learned were Bible truths. She had for some time, but she wanted so badly to believe the things she had been taught all her life were not lies … and they were. Her in depth study of the Bible had proven it. She had learned the truth about God! Now she had to surrender. After all, she’d ALWAYS been a lover of truth.
She made fine progress with her beliefs, doing her best to instill them in her children. She attended Christian meetings, which further convinced her that she wanted to be a part of God’s organization. Finally, seven years after Mrs. Maude’s initial call, Mom made her dedication to God to do HIS will and she symbolized that dedication by means of water baptism.
She remained faithful for almost forty years. Imagine that! That is a lifetime! Yet, many of her children did not accept her beliefs. We knew the knowledge she had was the truth … she would not have surrendered if she didn’t believe it was. We also didn’t want to make the necessary changes to bring our lives in harmony with God’s requirements. We were so selfish …
I remember her saying, “Mark my words: when I close my eyes in death, then you will want the truth.” So there, it was said … now it was just a matter of when it would happen.
The day she died, July 24, 1994, was truly a sad day. The woman who always was, was no more. In her final life’s lesson to us, she faithfully walked in integrity. She refused to compromise her faith. The doctors thought it was necessary for her to receive a blood transfusion to sustain her life. Her Bible trained conscious would not allow her to; she recognize the sanctity of blood. Of all the things I’ve learned from her, it was this one that sticks out in my mind. You see, it is one thing to say you’ll do as you’ve been taught. But to actually do it and to know the end results? That is a wonderful thing to see. Mom, knowing she would soon die, handled herself as gracefully as ever. She loved the Florida rains. So the storm on this particular Sunday afternoon provided the “exit” music she needed. With one final breath, she opened her eyes and exhaled. Then she was gone.
Thinking of life without her was not even comprehensible. How I long to hear one of her “mom-isms.” Just one more “your always sayin’ something,” or “there you go, runnin’ your mouth again.”
She left a legacy of being a wonderful wife, mother, sister, aunt, and friend … but most importantly, she died a faithful servant of the Most High God. She submitted to his sovereignty, did his will and honored His great and holy name.
Today, there are six of her children and two grandchildren who have studied the Bible. We’ve each made a personal decision to serve the true God, symbolizing our dedication by means of water baptism. All that she was is in each of us. Her strength, her knowledge, her kindness, and her love of family and truth. We, in turn, instill in our children the Bible truths that she, at first, and now we hold so dear.
I’m still talking; runnin’ my mouth. But the things I say are the things I have been taught to believe and have taken to heart. I try to help others come to know the true God as over 6,600,000 others do on a daily basis. I think Mom would be so proud of me … proud of all of us. I can’t wait ‘til we see her again …
Oh, yes! We will see her again … And that’s the truth.
Part 2 | (Part 1)