I met Talitha Putnam Culver when she was Talitha Etheridge. We were both in the same youth choir at First Baptist Church of Huntsville in the early 1960’s and were both selected for an ensemble group called “The Voices.” We didn’t attend the same middle school. Back then, our social life happened at church, and we were both there whenever the doors were open. We both later went to Samford University, and even though we had different majors, etc., we were still connected. Then, we lost touch, married, both had three children, lived in different towns and reconnected thanks to Facebook. In the last couple of years, we’ve shared a girls’ lunch, a couples’ dinner, and Steve and I even had the privilege of staying in her home after an Auburn game last fall. It was so much fun to sit beside her in church and sing together once again.
I met Sandra Minor Smith (probably in 1969) when we were both students at Samford. Some day when we have more time, I’ll share some of our college conversations and antics. But, the bigger bond was that we both ended up in Hartselle, AL with our husbands who owned businesses, and we reared our children within close sight of each other — close in age and members of the same church. Sandra and I owned a business together for a couple of years, and then both taught at Hartselle Junior High School. Even though we might go six months between lunch dates, we can always pick up where we left off without missing a beat.
Steve and I met Donna Bennich Rushen when we moved to Hartselle, and she was a junior in high school. I had the privilege of being her Sunday School teacher for her junior and senior years. Not long after Donna married Jim, he was ordained a deacon at First Baptist Church of Hartselle, and Jim and Steve served together in that ministry. We’ve known Donna’s family since 1973 — her parents and brothers. About six years ago, they moved to Summerville, S.C., right outside of Charleston. We arranged a lunch rendezvous during a recent visit. We enjoyed a couple of delightful hours together and could have easily stayed for many more. We love each other’s children (she even taught our daughter at Hartselle High School) and have hundreds of mutual friends.
I met Cindy Honea Sparkman when she joined First Baptist Hartselle as a single mom with a beautiful young daughter. Those were busy, challenging days for both of us, but we always loved interacting and visiting with each other whenever our paths crossed. And we shared a love for music. She now lives in Albertville, AL, was on a committee for the Spring Women’s Brunch and recommended me to be the speaker. I loved getting that invitation, and it was wonderful to watch as she introduced me to all of her new friends and told me special things about everyone of them. She has a great job. She’s in a great church. And, she is obviously greatly loved in her new environment.
There are dozens of other old friends that I touch base with often (thanks, in large part, to Facebook), but unfortunately, I don’t have any recent pictures of any of them posing with me. Ha!
The point of today’s post is that just in the last 6-7 months I have had the happy privilege of spending time with each of these dear friends, and they are STILL important in my life. Each of them enriches my life immeasurably. I gain wisdom and perspective when they share their life with me. They sharpen me and challenge me. I am inspired by each of them. As always, the Bible shares Truth about the value of friends. Thank you, Talitha, Sandra, Donna, Jim and Cindy.
Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times. . . .”
Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”
Proverbs 13:20 “He who walks with wise men will be wise. . . .”
1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” I can assure you the people pictured about are the opposite of “bad company.” They are positive company in every sense of the word. Rather than corrupting me, they keep me pointed in the right direction.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.”