“A Eulogy to My Grandmother. My Mom’s Mom.” GREENVILLE -- Mrs. R.T. (Mareen) Mercer, 91, of Ky. 181, Greenville, Nebo community, died Friday, Feb. 12, 2010, at her home. She was born Sept. 3, 1918, in Muhlenberg County, the daughter of J.B. and Betty Noffsinger. She was a homemaker and retired as head cook at Longest Elementary School. She and her late husband owned and operated Mercer's Grocery in Nebo for many years. An active member of Duvall's Chapel General Baptist Church, she served as a Sunday school teacher and loved to sing in the choir. Mareen Mercer, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great grandmother, and servant Christian, my grandmother was all of these and more: a good wife for more than 60 years to my Granddaddy, R.T.; mother of six children, two sons and four daughters; grandmother to 14 grandchildren, great-grandmother to 30, and great-great grandmother to eight smaller souls. My grandmother was known and loved by many, many people. She was all about Faith, Family, and Favorites. The dictionary defines “favorite” as a person or thing regarded with special favor or preference. You see, we were all her favorites. I never saw her treat any of us without regarding us with special favor or preference. Because each of her children; all of us grandchildren, her great grandchildren, and her great-great grandchildren; each one of us was her favorite. Jennifer asked me to share this: Until I See you Again Until I see you again I’ll keep memories in my head Of each hug and kiss you gave And all the wise things that you said There truly are no words To describe how much I love you A teacher, a mentor, a hero All these things are true of you My childhood was magically molded By your love each summer day Making chocolate pies and licking the bowl Pausing at night to pray You kind words and your love for all Touched people near and far Now you’re looking down on us An angel from a shiny star You are where you longed to be With our Heavenly Father above Seeing family and friends you’ve missed And R.T – your one true love Until I see you again In my heart is where you’ll be A bear tight hug, a greeting on the phone That always began, “Hidey” This earthly world seems so lonely With you gone and not being here But Heaven’s gained its sweetest Angel One that’s beautiful and dear You’ve lived the perfect example Of what we all should strive to be To give your heart and share your love A smile for all to see Until I see you again I will miss you each day that goes by Now I have my own guardian angel Watching over me from God’s blue sky I cannot say good-bye Grandmother Though your eternal life just began I will cherish each moment we shared Until I see you again My memories of Grandmother begin at her house… being in her kitchen; having picnics behind the garage- drinking sassafras tea and eating watermelon; throwing a ball back and forth over the garage or playing kickball in the front yard with my cousins; picking strawberries; knocking apples off the apple trees and eating them; or getting in trouble for climbing the trees in the front yard. I remember collecting eggs from the chickens in the chicken coup and getting into the corn crib back by the barn. Spending hours on the front porch, waving at the cars going by... shucking corn… snapping beans… these were regular events at Grandmother’s house. I remember sliding down an old car hood like it was the biggest slide on the playground. There used to be a stripper pit next to the house and I remember going swimming in it. Her house is the only house I know of where people just walk in the door and holler to see if anyone is home. In over 50 years of going to visit her, I can only remember the front door being locked once – and that includes the times when I would stop by and there was no one at home. Many of my memories of her occurred on the front porch or in the yard or at “the store”. I have a vague memory of taking my first steps at her house. I don’t know if I did or not – but my earliest memory is pulling up to walk on the leg of her kitchen table. And who can forget her kitchen, bright and warm and filled with good food smells and the table was filled to the point you had trouble getting an eating plate on it. Grandmother knew how to cook just about anything… my personal favorite was her chocolate pie. I told Laura when we got married that one thing she had to do was learn how to make chocolate pie like Grandmother. And no one ever, ever, left her table hungry because Grandmother was one those women, no matter how much a person ate, who always tried to get you to eat more… another slice of ham… another ear of corn… another dessert… she always wanted you to have one more helping of everything. I wonder how many people ate at her table over the years? Thinking about it I would imagine there are hundreds, maybe thousands of folks who sat at her kitchen table over the years and enjoyed her cooking. I’m sure the kids and staff at Longest appreciated her cooking during the time she was head cook there. My Mom is the oldest of grandmother’s kids and, as I was thinking about what I wanted to say, I called Mom to ask when Grandmother and Granddaddy got married. She said June 17, 1936 and shared a story she had told me before. At school one day, as a young girl, Mom told someone that she was born on June 11 and her parents got married on June 17; which was true, because Mother was born on June 11 of 1937. Grandmother wasn’t too happy about the way Mom had said it and made sure Mom straightened it out the very next day. You see, my Grandmother was a strong Christian woman. The passage in Proverbs about the Virtuous Wife comes immediately to mind when I think of grandmother: verses 26-28 says: 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; You could always find Grandmother at church – any time the doors were open. When she was at home, it was almost rare to see her without a Bible more than two or three steps away. Unless she was working, it was usually on her lap or in her hands. She loved to sing in the church choir and I remember watching her from the back corner of the choir, while Granddaddy would try to teach me how to sing bass. She always had the most worshipful look about her. I didn’t understand it then, but now, as a Music Minister, I watch for that look on the faces of my choir and congregation. It helps me to know when they are really connected to God in worship. I remember riding in the back of Granddaddy’s truck home from church for Sunday dinner at Grandmother’s. I look back now and still have no clue as to how she could get so much food prepared having been at church all morning. My grandmother was one of the hardest working women I have ever known, with every day filled with; a garden to plant, weed and harvest; canning; chickens to tend and eggs to collect; cooking and house chores of all types. And then there was Mercer’s Store… Grandmother and granddaddy gave me my first job – working at the store. I would stock shelves and put prices on merchandise. When I was a little older, I got to help pump gas. Later, they let me pick strawberries at harvest. I remember how cold it seemed to be out in the field before sun up and how quickly it warmed up once the sun got above the tree line. I would pick a little, and eat a little, and pick a little more and eat a little more. When Granddaddy paid me with my tickets, I would take them up to the store, where Grandmother would cash them in. She would tease me about eating more than I picked on a regular basis. Our annual Christmas Eve gatherings were always special at Grandmother’s. It was a time for all of us to get together and celebrate Christ’s birth and our love for one another… a time to catch up on the newest additions to the Mercer clan and meet the new boyfriends and girlfriends – or husbands and wives – of our extended family. I think if everyone was there, there were close to a hundred of us. I remember Christmases when uncles would bring fireworks and let us shoot them off the front porch. I remember trying to catch my parents sneaking off to go to our house to hide presents for Santa and never catching them. And if you think the kitchen table was full at regular meal gatherings, you can only imagine how much food was there for special get-togethers like these. As I got older, Grandmother got… well, shorter. I used to tease her about how she was getting shorter every time I came home. She would point her finger at me and say, “Well, I think I might be, but you’re taller than you used to be, too.” Grandmother was one of the greatest human beings I have ever known. She was born at a time when so many other famous and familiar people were born. Some familiar names of others born in 1918 include: • Oral Roberts • John Forsythe • Joey Bishop • Mickey Spilane • Howard Cosell • Pearl Bailey • Sam Walton • William Holden • Jack Parr • Mike Wallace • Eddy Arnold • Ann Landers • Ingmar Bergman • Nelson Mandela • Leonard Bernstein • Ted Williams • Paul Harvey • Rita Hayworth • Art Carney • Spiro Agnew • Billy Graham Yet none of them can hold a candle to Grandmother Mercer. Another thing I find very interesting, is that she lived to see the world change in ways, most of us, cannot imagine. During her life, she saw 17 different Presidents in the White House, beginning all the way back with Woodrow Wilson. She saw the presidencies of Coolidge and Hoover… of Roosevelt and Truman… and of Eisenhower and Kennedy. Some of the changes and events in our world that occurred from 1918 to the present include: • In 1918 o World War I ends – Nov. 11 o Daylight Savings Time introduced • In the 1920’s o Women Granted the Right to Vote in U.S. o The Car Radio, Television, and Talking Movies invented o Sliced Bread & Bubble Gum invented o Winnie the Pooh is published o First Mickey Mouse cartoon o Insulin & Penicillin discovered • In the 1930’s (Grandmother is a teenager) o US officially gets National Anthem o Empire State Building completed o Air Conditioning invented & Cheeseburger created o Social Security enacted o World War II begins • In the 1940’s (Grandmother in her 20’s) o Japanese attack Pearl Harbor o Mt. Rushmore completed o Bikinis & the T-shirt introduced o First Computer built o Microwave oven & Polaroid camera invented o Slinky hits toy shelves o Dead Sea scrolls discovered o State of Israel founded • In the 1950’s (Grandmother in her 30’s) o First Organ Transplant o Polio vaccine created & DNA discovered o World War II ends & the Korean War begins o Color TV introduced & TV Remote control invented o Car seat belts & Velcro introduced o Segregation ruled illegal in US o Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus o NASA founded o McDonalds Corporation founded • In the 1960’s (Grandmother in her 40’s) o Lasers invented o Berlin Wall built o First man in space & First man on the moon o Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech o Civil Rights Act passed o US sends troops to Vietnam o JFK & Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated o ARPANET, the precursor of the Internet, created • In the 1970’s (Grandmother in her 50’s) o Computer floppy disks introduced o VCRs & Pocket Calculators introduced o Microsoft founded o First test-tube baby born • In the 1980’s (Grandmother in her 60’s) o First woman appointed to US Supreme Court o First American woman in space o New plague identified as AIDS o Personal Computers introduced by IBM o DNA used to convict criminals o Berlin Wall falls • In the 1990’s (Grandmother in her 70’s) o Hubble Telescope launched o Collapse of the Soviet Union – end of the Cold War o World Trade Center bombed o Scientists clone sheep • In the 2000’s (Grandmother in her 80’s) o 9/11 bombings & dotcom crash o Ipods, Skype, Xbox360, Texting o Google, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter o Obama elected President But the legacy she has given us won’t be found in what she saw during her lifetime… it's found in the heart, and in the family that she leaves behind. There is no way I can express how much her love and her prayer support has meant to me over the years. It didn’t matter what was going on in my life, I knew that my grandmother was praying for me and for God’s will to be done in me. She's always been great to talk to – with her wonderful, loving spirit. Her love was always well conveyed in every message. I know she kept us in her prayers, just as we will always keep her in our hearts. We can take comfort in the sure knowledge that, at long last, Grandmother is where she has longed to be … in the warm and loving embrace of her Savior, Jesus Christ. She's reunited with her beloved husband R.T., who’s been waiting for her in heaven since he went Home to be with the Lord 12 ½ years ago. Stacy asked me to share this: A Sweeter Place Heaven's a sweeter place today For a new angel strolls along the way She's fair and kind and full of grace A grand addition to that wonderful place She meets her Heavenly Father, Brandon, and Doug who've gone before Mammy and Pappy are there waiting with brothers and sisters galore Still she searches through and through as she walks the streets of gold Roland Thomas is waiting down by the river she is told She heads that way with no delay, sure to find him there For that was to be the meeting place the two of them would share And as she looks across the way she is sure that it is him Surrounded at the river bank by angels seraphim They kiss and hug a warm embrace He winks and says, “You’ll love this place” And though I know she surely will My earthly heart is breaking still I wasn't ready to let her go How much I’ll miss her she'll never know The old house will be empty now – no laughter in the air Oh how I wish just one more time I could visit with her there But God has called her now to worship at His throne To make heaven a sweeter place and know as she is known In all my years to come I know – there will never be another Who could in any way compare to the one I called Grandmother Although she worked hard every day and was always busy when I or someone else came to visit, she always asked about me and my family and remembered all her grandchildren's names and what they were doing in their lives. Yes, grandmother was loved by many people. One only has to look at the family gatherings we used to have and how folks would come up to her and ask how she was and how, in the last years of her life, her children were always there, caring and providing for her. Grandmother was 91 years of age when she died and really was a remarkable woman. She has influenced the lives of many, many people over the years. I will miss her hugs, her quiet wisdom, and most of all, her prayers. Going to Grandmother’s house has a whole new meaning, because Grandmother lives in Heaven now. I know she wants to see each one of us again. But where she lives is a perfect place, where no sin can enter. The only way to see her again is to have your sins washed clean through the blood of Jesus Christ. We read in John 19:30 that, just before Jesus died on the cross, He said “It is finished.” In the original Greek text, the word John records that Jesus said is the word “tetelestai,” which is an accounting term that means the account has been paid in full – no more is owed. Jesus died for the sins of the world… my sin and yours. You see, in order to see Grandmother again, you must be sinless. And the Bible teaches us that we all have sinned. So I urge you, family, friends… If there is one thing you take away from here today… Know that God loves you… that Jesus died to pay the price for your sin… and that Grandmother wants, more than anything, for you to come to see her new house.