Barb and Sue: Two women I knew

In today’s (temporary) lifestyle of reduced activities I have plenty of time to ponder all sorts of stuff. I was thinking about different people I’ve been fortunate to know in this short, short life. While I knew each of these women rather well at different times in my varied life, I just realized they have a lot in common besides me.

I decided to share some things about these two special women to sort of recognize them, I guess. I mean I’d be flattered if someone chose to write about me and about how special I’d been to them, so I’m offering this out of appreciation.

We’ve all had special people at different times in our lives, and I think it’s nice to sort of pay tribute. I was fortunate to be closest to them at very different and very impressionable times in my life.

Barb and Sue were each born in a rural community and each to fathers who were skilled carpenters. Their mothers often had jobs to help out but their primary focus was their families. As the youngest of a few sisters, they each had good role models and caring women in their young lives. Those are the similarities.

Barb found work in a nearby city, but eventually fell in love with a young man who lived less than a mile from her childhood home and who she’d known most of her life. His family, while not wealthy, owned and lived on a large farm but rural income being obviously limited, after they married in their mid-twenties, he chose to join the U.S. Army. Barb had chosen well as his responsible focus was the security of being able to support a family. But when their first child was born, the duties of Army life kept them separated on and off during the early times of her motherhood. Her rugged rural upbringing had prepared her well though and she met the challenges.

I knew her best when they were together; she was a mother and a homemaker then and was about as warm and welcoming a person as I’ve known. They didn’t drink or curse but they didn’t go to church either; that was just the way they lived by choice. They were always pleasant, and I still appreciate the times I spent there. I think her spare, rural childhood made her thankful for the simplest of comforts. I never heard her speak of wanting more. Of anything. Her small, simple, modest home with a good husband and her family was plenty. She set a nice example of accepting and appreciating all we have. Thank you, Barb.

Sue married younger and devoted herself to her husband and their fast growing family. They were the dominant focus of her life. She also had a warm, welcoming and cozy home for all who came. And she also lived free of the striving for more and more that is so prevalent in this culture. A simple life is what she was born into and seemed to be where she was most comfortable.

I knew her best during those family years and was always aware of her genuine warmth as a person. As a loving person I can’t think of a better example. Thank you, Sue. Her heart however didn’t choose the unassuming humble man as Barb’s did. While responsible to his family, he was self-indulgent to a fault, her marriage only lasting about 15 years. She subsequently re-married though and was loved by a devoted man.

Barb and Sue each lived full lives, watched their children grow, were able to see and love their grandchildren. By my use of the past tense you may have gathered they have finished their lives. But a life well lived is a wonderful example. As I live through the different stages and am seeing not just those so much older but also my contemporaries leave this life, I’m starting to think I may not actually continue forever either. If true, that’s a bit discouraging so I don’t dwell on it.

Thanks for reading this while I shared my love and appreciation for two special women I’m thankful to have known: Barb, my mother, and Sue, my wife.