Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Legacy

100 years ago today, a sweet little bundle of joy made her first appearance into this world.  Ushering in a new year and a new legacy, donning the name Margaret Catherine meaning "pearl".  I can only imagine how she would have been as a little girl growing up in the humble southern Illinois town of her roots.  Photos show a beautiful petite little girl with ringlets of dark hair in hand-sewn dresses wearing the little black boots of her time. But her character fostered over the 93 years of her life reveals so much more.

Raised in a Christian home, she met and fell in love with Phillip Sheridan (Sherdie) at an all day church revival in their small town.  After a lengthy courtship, they married in March of 1939 and had two children: Brenda Joyce and Roger Lee. Beginning their journey at the close of the Great Depression, times were tough and jobs were scarce.  I know that for awhile they lived in South Dakota where Sherdie worked as a farm hand.  But far away from family was not Margaret's flair, so back to Illinois they went.  For several years they owned and operated a feed store in their home town, but that too was not enough.  Finally relocating a little further north, Sherdie was able to secure a little more permanent source of income.  They built a home, and settled down to raise their family.

As my Mother tells it, Grandma was never one to sit still for long.  Lovingly referred to as 'Firefly' by her husband, she constantly had her hands busy at something.  My mother has stories of times where Grandma would take time to set up intricate play houses.  She would create stoves and refrigerators out of boxes and trinkets on hand.  Mom laughs that it probably took more time for her to set up these areas than her and Roger would spend playing in them, but no matter.

Her love of the outdoors was evident in her elaborate fruit, vegetable and flower gardens.  Cultivating flowers, faith and love kept her joy alive.  But I'm pretty confident she could hold her own if come up against an obstacle.  She was known to take care of many a snake with a garden hoe and even had a fierce battle with some bees,  all done with a calm, fearless grace.  

Her love for shoes and shopping was no secret.  After returning from a shopping trip her husband would always ask, "How many shoes did you buy today, Firefly?"  She always stayed up with the latest fashions and loved things of beauty, but always with quiet discernment and moderation in her spending habits.

I remember her as a sweet, spunky little thing.  She continued to keep her hands busy through the years sewing and crocheting.  Her house was always immaculate and in order.  And she gardened up until the last year and half of her time with us.  Her beautiful blue eyes always had a spark that brandished so much joy and life.  Her faith in God was secure and I know she was a mighty prayer warrior for Him.

Though no longer with us today, her legacy lives on through 6 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great Grandchildren.  Today I pause and say Happy New Year and Happy Birthday Grandma.  I thank you for your example of love, strength and perseverance.  May you celebrate your life here on earth today with your Master in Heaven.  And someday, I'll be there to celebrate with you.

Praising Him Always,

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