Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Goodbye Charlene

Yesterday was the final services and goodbye to my cousin, Phyllis Charlene Beck Hodge. Her initial funeral services were held in her hometown of Watsontown, Pennsylvania, then she was transported back to Indian Head, Pennsylvania, to her mother, Dorothy’s church for final services. The cemetery where she was to be interred was in Donegal, Pennsylvania. The nearby family plot already held her father, Merle, her older brother, Larry, and one of her younger brothers, Edwin.
Her son, David, gave her eulogy. It was a heartwarming and stirring description of her life. I said, “I don’t think I could have been able get up in front of the others to share it without breaking down.”
He said, “I did my crying yesterday,” when he shared his words back home.
Later, Charlene’s son, Phillip sang parts of the 91st Psalm. His beautiful, tenor voice filled the sanctuary. Charlene recited this Psalm for strength and hope as she undertook chemo treatments for Hodgkin’s disease.

The unusual coincidences that occurred were very frequent. The very first was the funeral home in Watertown bore the name of Brooks and there is one with the same name here in our area. The next occurred at the intersection of Routes 711 and 31. That junction is a very busy intersection, but when we drove through the stop sign, there were absolutely no cars in sight during the passage of the whole caravan of vehicles.
At the cemetery, as the pastor was speaking and had to stop. A WW II airplane flew low over the cemetery. The plane looked similar to a B-17 bomber. It flew so low and it was so loud that the speaker had to pause. The coincidence was that her father was in WW II. His duty was in the Army Air Corps. It was almost as if her earthly father was paying tribute to his newly departed daughter.
Coincidences, I’m sure that most people would believe that they were only random happenings, but who arranged them to occur at exactly those times when they were needed to comfort the family.

Once, when Charlene was visiting our grandparents Beck, our grandmother, Anna, pulled Charlene’s son, David, into her lap and called him “her little preacher boy” and it was as though she could see into the future, David is a minister. My grandfather also started a church on the Summit of Route 31. Although he was never ordained as a minister, he was a lay speaker in the Pentecostal church. He and my grandmother prayed “in tongues.”
On the other side of Charlene’s family, there was a female evangelist named Plyler who came with tent services and introduced the Pentecostal religion to our valley in the 1930’s.


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