"Good Morning Earlington:
I have often heard the expression that you can tell your age by the number of funerals you attend. If so, the past few months I must have felt ancient. The loss of four of the Christian Church’s loyal members—Vannie Carroll, Bill Hicks, Billie Stokes, and Frankye Carroll has left that church reeling. Then this past week the Methodist Church lost a most rare and beautiful soul, Carolyn Offutt Sadler. It is difficult to attend a funeral of one friend, but two friends in one day is heart wrenching. Earlington has attended far too many funerals in the past few months. As we are a small town, many of our residents are elderly. Because of this we too often feel the natural conclusion of the effects from old age with its oft-accompanying diseases —‘though cancer no longer seems satisfied to take only our old.
Frankye Nix Carroll was once a shoe clerk for the "Company Store." She was a beautician, a wife, the mother of "Butchie" and Barbara, an active church member, and a friend. She was my friend. When I was stressed or disheartened, I knew I could drop by for a chat. When I’d leave, she’d usually remind me, "Come back and talk to me, honey. Even if I can’t do much anymore, I’m a good listener." And she was…a good listener, but she was wrong about not being able to do much even if limited by her walker. Her compassion for others was limitless. Her love boundless. Her mind and wit remained sharp. She was an inspiration to those who knew her. Patricia Walters said that when it was her (Pat’s) time to take communion to those home-bound that she often left Frankye until last so she could spend extra time with her. That was because Frankye was such a dear to be with and talk to. She had a way about her smile and her soft, calming voice that made problems seem smaller and sometimes even solvable. She would begin with her "You wanna talk about it?" come-on. Maybe it was because she had had 91 years of experience with life and had learned to accept and cope with problems she herself could not change. Maybe it was because she was filled with the warming spirit of God’s love which she enjoyed sharing. But Frankye, like Billie Stokes, brooked no compliments concerning herself. She would purse those tiny lips tightly together, shake her head, and flip her dainty hand as if batting your words "back to you." "Now, honey, you know better than that!" It always got a smile out of me—her trying hard to ignore compliments. Both Frankye and Billie were firm about that! They would let you know instantly Who should get the thanks for what they had done. Oh, they were such treasures! How sad for us if we did not realize their worth.
Another treasure who often escaped notice was Carolyn Offutt Sadler. That was because she was always in the background working-- for the fire department, for the rescue squad, for the school, for church, for needy families at Christmas. Carolyn worked on any project which needed a hand. She supported not only projects with D.R. but for anyone else who asked her. She was quiet, always ready with a big smile and a kind word. She never complained even when cancer ravaged her body to a mere 75 pounds. She appreciated little things done for her by friends and family. She kept her sense of humor through her pain and hardships.
Carolyn (pronounced "kar-lin" instead of "care-lin") was a favorite at school with teachers and peers and in sports as a cheerleader in ‘55-’56. She was a dream come true for committee persons. She was deeply loved by her family and friends. Rev. Calvin Cornelius shared her one last request with those attending her funeral service. He said Carolyn asked only that Jesus would spread His loving arms around her and carry her to His eternal throne. We are all aware of the "Wish Granters" organization for those with terminal illnesses. For Carolyn there was only One Who could have granted her wish. I am certain that He did so with a "Well done, good and faithful servant." May He also grant us peace and bless all of the families who remain and must now finish our days without these our once golden treasures. Amen.
Ann Gipson 12-14-2001