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,
Of my blood,
But more than this,
You are my
“Thank you” note…
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:
I can’t help but smile when I see you
coming towards me,
even if we’ve only been apart
a few minutes.
at the sight
In my room
there’s an altar to Saint Jude
complete with statue
and votive candles
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 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”