Monday, February 1, 2010

Alice From Long Ago

An odd thing happened yesterday. We brought along our hometown newspaper when we drove from home to Minnesota. Yesterday I read the obituary of Alice, a woman a few years older than I. She and I met as teenagers when we were both detasseling corn (about 45 years ago...in Iowa, where else! )

If you did not grow up in the Corn Belt you may not be aware that the seed corn that farmers plant every spring is produced by hybridizing two (or more) varieties of corn. The seed corn producer plants several rows of "female" corn interspersed with a couple rows of "male" corn. Since all corn produces pollen (the male aspect of germination) and since the intent is to cross one variety with another to produce the hybrid seed, the pollen must be removed from the "female" rows so that this variety does not self-pollinate, but is instead pollinated by the "male".

Oh, gosh, this is getting long. Sorry about that. Stay with me!

The female rows must be topped, or detasseled, to remove the pollen. Today machines are driven down the rows and mechanically top the female corn. However, there will still be some tassel that remains and detasselers (human beings!) walk the rows, pulling any remaining tassel. In other fields, the machines may not be used at all, and detasseling is done entirely by persons walking the rows.

It's a dirty job, hot, sweaty, dirty. When I was a teen most of my friends worked every summer in the fields to earn spending money. That's where I met Alice.

Alice was different than the rest of the girls in a gentle, kind way. While the other girls spent their time laughing, joking, talking, or singing silly songs, Alice usually wandered off to a shady spot during our rest periods and sat down to read a book. Not that she was stand-offish. No, indeed. She was very kind. I sat down with her a couple times and visited with her. Alice was thinking of becoming a nun. And she was serious about God. She was not a flippant silly girl. She was serious. I liked Alice for her seriousness. And her gentle kindness.

Her obituary mentioned that Alice died from ovarian cancer. I hadn't seen Alice since our detasseling days so I was startled to read her name. And I was startled to read about her cancer. Her obituary mentioned that her sister, too, died from ovarian cancer. That caught my eye because I, too, have ovarian cancer. It is a cancer more rare than breast cancer. There are perhaps 10 breast cancer patients for every ovarian. To read that my friend of long ago (and her sister as well) had succumbed to OVCA...well, it just startled me.

Something nice happened this week, too. My daughter gave me a ring with an inscription printed round the band. It reads, "If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it." She knows that I am trusting God through all of this journey.

You see, I am not one who believes that our path through life is just happenstance. I believe that God not only knows what our path will be...I believe He also "directs" our path. He has brought me to this particular path. And He will walk me through all of it...however long that path be.

It sure is an interesting journey...not one that I would have chosen...but interesting, nevertheless.

I would have liked to talk to Alice as she walked through her journey.

Psalm 139:16. (run your cursor over the scripture to read the verse)

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8 comments:

Dandy said...

To be honest I found all the corn talk quite interesting!

Its lovely that you remember so much about Alice, I'm sorry to hear she is gone.

Karen said...

So sorry to hear about Alice.

Your post reminds me of Proverbs 3 :5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."

Praying that God will continue to walk with you on your path...

Linda said...

I have a plaque in my kitchen which I have had since 1981. "The Will of God will not take you where the Grace of God cannot keep you."

Ephesians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me."

melissa said...

That verse is pure comfort, esp. when we get our heads hooked on the idea that *we're* in charge.

Glad I'm not, because I fail miserably.

Thinking of you in the coming weeks with your trip to Mayo. Love to you as well. :)

Debby said...

I think that Alice would have loved your eulogy of her.

"All things work for good in those that love the Lord." Everything. I've seen it with my own two eyes this past week.

I'll be praying for you and Mr. WhiteStone this week.

Kerry ABOUT ME said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Alice. I like to think that in heaven you will see Alice again, freed from burden and freed from sickness. I wonder what other people we'll see there...people we knew but will fully know in heaven. I love the inscription on the ring...so beautiful and so true.

Kerry ABOUT ME said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Alice. I like to think that in heaven you will see Alice again, freed from burden and freed from sickness. I wonder what other people we'll see there...people we knew but will fully know in heaven. I love the inscription on the ring...so beautiful and so true.

S. Etole said...

How good to know His presence goes with us wherever we go ... and our days are in His hands