Wandering Memories…Lingering Spirits

Dear Reader:

I thought long and hard how to end the last blog post of 2011. The year has been good to me…overall the treatments tolerable, the cancer relatively stable, happiness over Walsh’s engagement to Mollie and upcoming marriage in 2012, Tommy’s continued success in law school, Mandy and John’s generosity in sharing meals, special events, and e”specially” Eva Cate “time” with me -Lunches, dinners, and adventures with friends…teaching, supervising. storytelling and trips to our nation’s capital. Yes, 2011 gave me continued friendship and love…the best life has to offer.

Then it came to me what this blog should entail…(actually in the form of a little book that Brooke gave me for Christmas that has meant so much to me.) ..poems written by Beverly Barutio…the  creator and spirit behind St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope.

Two summers ago when we met the new owner of Bill and Beverly Barutio’s Edisto home…she graciously showed Brooke and me around…there were many mementos of the couple still there. I had forgotten that she mentioned a book that Beverly wrote…but not Brooke. She got on amazon.com and found it. A little book of poetry…whimiscal, sweet, funny, nostalgic, and sometimes a little sad.

Her poems dealt mainly with her and her husband’s relationship…and like in all marriages…the up’s and down’s of daily life. And through out it all… shone her fun-loving and adventuresome personality.

When I was interviewed a few months ago by Bob Hurley (columnist for the Greeneville Sun (TN) newspaper)…who had also interviewed Bill and Beverly Baruito several times in the past…he mentioned to Honey and me that Beverly and I would have been great friends…we were definitely “kindred spirits” in nature…spiritual, fun-loving, and adventuresome. The title of the article was : Stories from Tiny Mountain Chapel Now Being Shared with World.

As I read it…I felt a sense of awe…as the columnist mentioned numerous times that the chapel had been waiting on me and that Beverly knew someone would come along to tell its story…not her…someone she would never know… in the future. It really gave me goose bumps…but at the same time…I had felt this same connection all along.

Honey was “meant” to take me there and I was “meant” to discover and solve the mysteries of St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope and what it means to so many visitors who come from all around the world to find a piece of themselves there each year…hidden behind the stress of today’s society.

When I picture St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope in Trust, NC…I think of the “Second Awakening” in my personal life. My goal this year is to take my grown children and Eva Cate to this sacred place …the site that has given me hope and direction for my particular personal passage of time…

As Brooke and I read a short autobiography of Beverly written on the back of her book of poetry to Honey a few weeks ago…we all laughed. It was as if she was right there with us….making wise cracks and putting on vintage dresses too. Remember her sign we found in the basement at Edisto?

 

Here is a glimpse into the personality of the woman whom I never knew in life…but have become soul mates with for eternity. (This copy was a Second printing-April 1992-after they had moved to Trust. The first title (published in 1983) was called POETRY FOR LOVERS (AND OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE MENTALLY HANDICAPPED) by BEVERLY BARUTIO (You can see she had a  funny sense of humor…love it!)

 I was born at a very young age in Jefferson County, Iowa because I wanted to be near my family. In 1942, I moved to Savannah, Georgia (they didn’t raise very much corn there, and it was near a body of water larger than our cow pond in Iowa.)

In 1972, I migrated to Alaska, like most young people who go there, with a dream, a new start, trying to sort out my life like going through last year’s wardrobe.

I lived in the towns of Ketchikan and Homer and survived as a professional crab-folder, a herring smacker, and a cook on a supply ship in the icy Bering Straits.

After a revelation that writing poetry was easier work, was much warmer, and didn’t require getting my feet wet, I returned to Savannah in 1979.

I met and married my true love. Bill and I are now the entire population of the Smoky Mountain town of Trust, North Carolina. We operate the Spring Creek Cafe and Trust General Store-located 27 miles north and west of Asheville, N.C. at the junction of State Highways 63 and 209. (It’s on the map, really!) 

Beverly dedicated the book to her children…saying:

You are the flesh

Of my flesh,

Blood

Of my blood,

But more than this,

You are my

“Thank you” note…

to God.

A “thank you” note to God….wow…I love the imagery this line provokes.

Beverly also dedicated the book to her husband Bill…”Without whom I am only Me; with whom I am, at last, totally Myself.” 

Some of these poems are so personal and indepth in feeling…they belong to the book and reader. But others are light and de”light”ful. Here are a couple for you to sample:

Smile

I can’t help but smile when I see you

coming towards me,

even if we’ve only been apart

a few minutes.

My heart

doesn’t melt

at the sight

of you.

It blooms.

 

Saint Jude

In my room

there’s an altar to Saint Jude

complete with statue

and votive candles

Some people

don’t believe in miracles.

Oh! but I do.

How else to explain the fact

that you love me?

Yes, I think Bob Harley was right in his assessment…Beverly and I would have been great buddies….

Bill Dingle came back to Summerville a few weeks ago after one of his best friend’s mother died. He was asked by the family to read the same poem he had read at his friend’s wife’s funeral a few years earlier. Bill agreed.

When he stopped by to tell me good-bye before heading back to the mountains and his adorable family…he shared the poem with me. I, too, love the symbolism in it and how versatile the prose is for many situations…not just death…but, also, leaving the past behind and beginning anew. A New Year’s poem!

Parable of immortality ( A ship leaves . . . By Henry Van Dyke

I am standing by the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a peck of white cloud
just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says :
– ‘There she goes!

Gone where?
Gone from my sight – that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the places of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says:
– ‘There she goes! ‘,
there are other eyes watching her coming to shore,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout :
– ‘Here she comes!’

By Henry Van Dyke

Ever notice how ships going out to sea appear to get smaller and smaller and eventually disappear from our sight altogether? This is because as something goes away from us, it shrinks on the horizon and in the end, the horizon consumes it and it disappears altogether. The ship is still sailing on, we just can no longer see it. However, it is there, and it is still steaming ahead.

As the ship disappears from us, it is slowly appearing to those on the other side of the world. To us, it gets smaller and smaller and not much more than a dot on the horizon. However, to those on the other side of the world, it grows and grows, and eventually appears!

As it disappears from our sight, it reappears in someone else’s!

The Bible says,”when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord”

So until tomorrow…until next year…remember we are all passengers on a ship and will one day disappear over the horizon…but never grow smaller…just closer to God…because…

“547 Tales left to Tell”

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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11 Responses to Wandering Memories…Lingering Spirits

  1. Anne Peterson says:

    What a perfect way to “tide” us over – I’m feeling the pull already. God’s perfect love and blessings (again) to you in 2012!

  2. Gin-g Edwards says:

    Becky,
    I am sitting upstairs reading your blog and the afternoon sun is casting shadows on the wall and it is so peaceful and quiet…and then I start reading your blog and once again you have amazed me by your gift of sharing some of the most profound things in such a sweet, sweet way…love you for taking the time to do this blog everyday for us…it is truly a gift and I know that Beverly loves it too.

  3. Theresa Winders says:

    Becky,
    What a wonderful blog today, as always! Happy New Year! I wish you many blessings, healings, and happiness in 2012!
    love ya,
    Theresa

  4. Joan Turner says:

    Becky, I loved your story about Beverly Barruto and her poems…also your insight about them. The Garth Brooks song “I will sail my vessel ” came into mind. The last verse says ” with the good lord as my captain I can make it through it all”. God bless you and Hapy New Year to you and all your dear family. Love you,
    Joan

    • Becky Dingle says:

      Happy New Year to you Joan and all your family! When Bill Dingle told me about the poem…I was immediately drawn to it….this song sounds perfect to symbolize the meaning behind the the poem. I, too, felt Beverly Barutio’s poems ….so down-to-earth.

  5. honey burrell says:

    Becky, Just returning from NC. What a magnificent blog. Oh how our story goes on and on. As I walked out on the deck on Jan. 1 I looked in the direction of Trust and what did I see? Yes, a beautiful rainbow! I immediately thought of you and our first visit there. Later in the day Susie came for lunch and looked out and said, “Honey, come look, there is a huge rainbow.” Yes, my dear Becky, the largest one I have ever seen. I took pictures and will share them with you. There was no rain, just rainbows and Hope! Isn’t that what life is all about? Love you lots, Honey

    • Becky Dingle says:

      I just got chills running down my arm…yes that little chapel is calling again….hopefully in the spring I can return. So glad you are home and I keep finding more and more secret “goodies” within the gifts you gave me…it is like everyday…something new pops out…you are amazing…and I love the picture of the birthday..in my computer room as I type now…. Welcome back! Will update you after the appointment this morning. Love, Becky

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