I mentioned recently that there have been numerous families whose lives have intersected with my parents in various states. The Simpsons, dear friends of Mom and Dad, belong to that group. Dave Simpson had the misfortune to coach my brother, Dave, and me on an American Legion baseball team in York when I was thirteen. (We fought and it was all my brother's fault.) Dave later was also my college baseball coach. His lovely wife, Pat, started in my mother's class as a student teacher and has achieved great educational prominence, including being the Education Department Chair at Abilene Christian University. Pat and Dave have remained close to Mom and Dad and now live in South Dakota. Here are their thoughts.
How do we even BEGIN to count the memories of Roger and Nelda over a forty-year period? They have been so intricately woven into every life event and every decision--yes, EVERY event and every decision, even when we lived hundreds of miles apart--that we can't even separate out the memories to write them down! We aren't even sure what people we would BE now without them! Wonderful images of moments shared with your parents have been vivid for almost a year now--ever since those precious few days we were blessed to spend with them in our home in June 2007. I can still see Roger last summer intuitively and gently guiding Nelda's behavior so beautifully by singing to her; I teach future teachers to use this technique with their young children to facilitate transitions! We have gained life skills and spiritual growth from your parents for forty years every time we have been with them! Roger and Nelda were there with us when we moved to York in 1967, welcomed a baby into the world, and began serving with them as a team couple for Marriage Encounter. I student taught in Nelda's classroom and had, of course, the best role model possible. Your parents were standing in the front yard with a welcome sign a few years later when we pulled our moving truck into our driveway in Lubbock, which through no coincidence was almost next door to the Hawley house! When we both lost our jobs at the same time through budget cuts, your parents were there for us. When our oldest son got married hundreds of miles away, they unexpectedly appeared at the wedding. They were at our house the day my mother died. Through church challenges that hurt more deeply than we could ever have imagined, Roger was there with understanding, reassurance, and psychological and spiritual health! Through all of life's changes, Roger and Nelda were always there either in person or by phone; but, more important than their presence was the GIFT they ALWAYS gave us. With genuine compassion and unconditional love, they gently stepped into our space to walk beside us on each journey. They never judged; in fact, they never even DOUBTED. Through all these years, they have just faithfully walked beside us in that lifelong transformation that is drawing us all to God and His eternity. What a gift! Roger and Nelda have taught us how to move through life on earth with overflowing love and grace! We join so many others in praying that WE can do for someone ELSE just half of what they have done for us! What they have taught us will live in us until we share time with them again--and, in that next life, the time won't END! We love your parents, and we love YOU! Pat and Dave Simpson