Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Memories Of Patti (and Rees) Bryant

Dear Steve,
Our condolences on the loss of your dad. We also love your dad and your mother. Our love for them goes back to Harding days. (I was Patti Mattox and I married Rees Bryant on the day we graduated in 1952.) We remember visiting with Roger and Nelda in New York City in 1958 when Rees and I were on the way to Nigeria as first time missionaries. They showed us around New York City--Times Square, Wall Street, etc. Then they served us a home cooked meal in their apartment and took us to the airport to see us off. They were the last American Christians to tell us goodbye before we flew across the ocean. We had a two-year-old daughter and a six-month-old son then. We realized while with your parents that our son was afflicted with a cow's milk allergy just as his sister had been. Your parents helped us to find a store that sold powdered goat milk. I packed my suit cases with as many cans as possible. Your dad promised to send to Nigeria a whole case of goat milk by airfreight. He kept his promise and that goat milk kept my baby healthy and growing until a larger order could reach us by seamail. I am attaching a picture of your dad at Idlewild (now John F. Kennedy) airport. For some reason, I don't have one of your mother. We have always remembered how they blessed us in the final hours before we left the States--with prayers and best wishes, and with a very, very practical expression of their love. I can empathize somewhat with your experience of having a mother with Alzheimer's. My mother had that cruel disease before she died in 1989. It had come on her gradually over a period of 15 years. When she died, we realized that we had lost her sometime before, but we hardly knew when it had happened. She had left us by bits and pieces. There was never a clear time to grieve. When we went to see her during her final years, Daddy had to explain over and over who we were. Once she told her neighbor that her mother had come to see her (her "mother" was me). I am looking forward eagerly to meeting her at the big party where we will all know one another. All my memories of your mother are when she was young. She was such a pleasant person to be around and had such a beautiful smile. I treasure those memories. May God bless you and your family as you work through your grief. You have been blessed greatly by such parents. Lovingly,
Patti Bryant

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