Ramblings from the Cove...
By Lars Gren
No doubt that some on hearing of this event would close the eyes, raise the eyebrows, or perhaps with forehead furrowed shake the head and utter "lugubrious" in utter distain at such, but not I. My reaction brought the thought, "How dear, kind and appreciative it was to celebrate a life in such a way."
That I was able to be there came about in a strange way. It was a day in which I had several things to do, one being not to my liking- that of seeing a dentist- and following I had made an appointment with our friend John Sanders who was to duplicate some of Elisabeth’s Gateway to Joy programs for me. John is a remarkable blind man who for years did the taping of conferences and lectures at Gordon Conwell Seminary. It was Elisabeth who once walked into his office/workspace and exclaimed, "John why don’t you have some lights on, it is so dark in here?" His reply was something to the effect of, "It’s all the same to me." He once said that the only thing he did not enjoy was Television.
The meeting took longer than I expected, which put me past the time to meet Lisa at the Seminary. She is a wonderful woman who we met, I guess in the early eighties, through my brother-in-law Tom Howard. That developed into a friendship that brought her into a secretarial relationship with Elisabeth who would dictate letters on tape and then send them to Lisa. She would type them and return them so that all Elisabeth had to do was to proof, add notes and sign them. Along with that, she and her sister Karen would come and help with special parties such as the Christmas sing gathering which was, if memory serves me, pretty much a standup affair. When Elisabeth was in convalescence from a fractured femur it was petite Lisa who more than once arrived with a basket or two about as large as she, containing the proper cloth, china and flatware, (never mind paper and plastic settings). It was served as near to how she would do it in her own home and always delicious, cheering up the rather depressing area.
Alas, on my late arrival I learned Lisa had left but I stayed to chat with Semme, who also works at the Seminary and she expected Lisa to return in a short while and true to her word she did. Then I found out the rest of the story. When I failed to show up in time and my phone call message had not come through (for the phone system was down) she had left to join her sister Karen and four others at the cemetery for a planned luncheon celebration of Karen’s 50th birthday. Lisa had hoped to have invited me to join them. I offered my apologies to which her quick reply was, "It is not finished. If you go now you’ll see them they were just starting their dessert, chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream."
I bid both good-bye and hurried out, in fact a bit too much in a hurry for I made my left turn as a police car was coming around the curve causing her (in this case) to apply brakes "lightly." I did the wise thing and stopped right away in the road adjacent to her with my window down and said, "I’m sorry."
"Ok, but watch it before you pull out into the road."
"Yes, I’ll do that."
Another 10 minutes saw me going down the cemetery drive past the old military section and other graves from the early eighteen hundreds toward the very rear of the neatly kept place. As I turned left at the end of the entrance road I could see the table with proper table cloth, set with china and flatware, no shortcut paper plates and such, and four women plus Karen’s eight year old daughter, who early in life sat in Elisabeth’s lap at the Cove. All were smartly dressed and wearing similar classy straw hats.
As I walked towards them they came close to cheering me on, for not knowing anything other than that I was a no-show for lunch with Lisa, they hardly expected me. At last the end of this vignette. While enjoying my ham, chicken, veggie sort of Cobb salad I said to Karen, "What in the world ever made you have a sit down lunch in the cemetery?" Her answer was heartwarming.
"I asked myself what I would most like to do for my 50th birthday. My answer was to have lunch with Elisabeth Elliot and so, decided that that is what I would do." My response simply, "That’s great!" About to choke up I turned to my delicious chocolate cake with the dollop of vanilla ice cream and said, "Thank you for including us. A one-of-a-kind day!" A day for us all to remember, just a week prior to the anniversary of Elisabeth’s leaving us.
God bless y’all and, for now, that’s it from The Cove,