I have met many people as a pastor’s wife for over 56 years concurrent with being a seamstress over 40 years, teaching school 11 years, working for Weight Watchers in the Hillsdale, Jonesville, Battle Creek, and Marshall area, and office manager for a construction company.
Today I post this as a memorial of a dear friend and one of my favorite sewing clients, Geneva Gates. (click on link to see obituary).
Geneva called on Tuesday, Dec. 7th and asked if I would hem two skirts for a special occasion coming up soon. I did them right away and called her the next morning to let her now they were ready and I believe she picked them up later that day on the 8th. I was alarmed when we heard on Hillsdale radio obituaries that she passed away on the 14th.
She didn’t make it to those special occasions. God had other plans for our dear friend.
I considered Geneva a special friend as I continued to sew for her over the years from 2009 – 2015.
I especially enjoyed the little stories she shared with me about her trips and reading her witty articles in “Over the Fence” in the local Tip-Off.
One such article was about a collection of bookmark . After I read it, I crocheted a Bible Bookmark Cross for her to add to her collection and mentioned to her that each time she passed the book mark in her Bible reading, I wanted her to know that I was praying for her. She was a special lady.
The first time she called me, while we lived at the Friendship Village in Litchfield she mentioned that she needed her skirt and jacket shortened. I have long arms and I told her that she could just buy two outfits and I could use the fabric that I cut off hers to make my sleeves longer.
The apartment there was small and the bedroom was right by the entrance door and she must have noticed my very plain green bedspread and when she came to pick up her alterations, that “little lady” had a huge bundle in tow. Yes, she had a beautiful floral bedspread and it appeared to be new… But she said, “No, I just got a new one and was just about ready to take this one to the Good Will. Geneva was such a giving person (a tray of cookies, fruit for Christmas, a little Christmas tree, towels for the kitchen a lamp shade) each time she came and went I felt like I should pay her.
She often had work for me as she was preparing for one of her guided trips, she so loved doing.
As I always do, when I make out a bill for a client I include a gospel tract. She would always comment how she appreciated them and other literature that we shared with her over the years.
Geneva did not talk about her faith but one time when she brought work to me she mentioned that she had been very ill with the shingles and commented that she had learned a whole lot about talking to God during that hard trial.
Another time she handed me a sack and held on to my hands before I opened it and asked, “Have you ever been shopping and something you saw just called someones name?” As soon as I saw the word ‘God’ I knew I had to get this for Jane,” and When I looked in the sack it was a beautiful black and white apron with embroidered words on the bib that said, “Every Day Is a Gift from God”. The colors in my kitchen are black and white with red decor and in previous visits she had brought me red and black dish towels.
One time she asked me to decorate a hat she had for one of her trips. which I did and I also had another hat that I thought she could also use and she was so pleased. Not to be outdone the next day to my great surprise, the florist arrived with an amazing floral arrangement, in a hat with a beautiful butterfly in it
While we were visiting last I showed her how we had moved the laundry room up into the kitchen and we joked a bit about how it was hard getting older and I reminded her to be careful on the narrow steps.
As she left she reminded me that she was just ten minutes away and if I ever needed her she would come running. I felt that was so kind and thoughtful of such a very busy lady.
Geneva was a thoughtful, kind and giving person and I love her and I am sure I am not the only one.
This occasion has caused me to be alerted to the fact the we do not know when we will have a last opportunity to show love to someone else.
“You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).