Charlotte and I met every week like clock work. That little Citation always found it’s way from my job in East Point to her driveway in south Fulton County every Thursday night.
If you listen to financial gurus like Clark Howard, they will tell you it’s financially smart to drive a car till it’s on it’s last leg. We had a wonderful mechanic in Peachtree City that kept our cars running no matter how long we kept them. We’d take them in for regular oil changes and maintenance and he’d always give them a once over, watching for problems before they became breakdowns, and leaving us stranded somewhere. In the spring of 1998 he found something on the Citation. I don’t remember exactly what the problem was, but it was way more expensive than the car was worth. Time for a new car! Fine with me!
We ended up in a GM dealership ordering a brand new 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix. It was so exciting! I’d had new cars off the lot before, but never had I ordered a car custom built, specifying all the colors and extras I wanted. It was late March when we ordered it and the car was delivered the second week in May. Christmas in springtime for me! That car was so cool! I can remember telling someone that coming out of that Citation and into the Pontiac was a bit like leaving a horse and buggy and getting into a rocket ship!
I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t remember ... until after about a week or two, God reminded me one morning on the way to work about my little rant the previous November. I went down the check list of everything I had asked for: It was red - check! It had intermittent windshield wipers - check! Rear window defogger - check! Leather bucket seats ... heated! - check! ... and on down the list. Everything I had asked for, I got! I was stunned and a bit overwhelmed. I had another little cry – a happy and thankful cry this time! He just amazes me!
Jack got to ride in the Pontiac one time. Later I would think about that and hoped he knew that Charlotte was safe riding around with me in that car. He passed away in August.
Charlotte and I kept meeting. But now we had more freedom and a lot of weeks we would go out to eat and then go back to her house to read and study. Eventually she ended up selling her house and went to live with her son and his family in Douglasville. When that happened, we didn’t have a good private place to study, so we moved our night to Wednesdays and I would pick her up and we’d eat and then go to the meetings at my church in Fayetteville. Sometimes on Sundays I’d either go get her and bring her back to our church and she’d attend with Bill and me, or else I would go to her church. And always out to eat afterward.
One Sunday at our church, the teacher in our class had read Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Pastor Jim Cymbala. It’s the story of the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York. Our teacher was so moved by the book that he had purchased copies for everyone in the class. Charlotte just happened to be with us that Sunday and got a copy, too. That was her favorite book. We read it together and had long discussions about it. She was fascinated with prayer and praying in the Spirit. She re-read that book often.
My husband, Bill, is all into rocks and minerals and got involved with some local rock hounds and local digs. He donated amethyst and rose quartz specimens to the Tellus Museum in Cartersville. Whenever we went to the Tellus, either for a weekend gem and mineral show or just a day trip, we always took Charlotte along.
She had always been interested in native American Indians. Her house had been filled with Indian-themed art and decor. So we were all thrilled when we discovered the Booth Museum in Cartersville, full of western and Indian-themed art. When I began doing the colored pencil portraits, I displayed at the annual art show held at the Booth for a few years. That show is filled with craftspeople and Charlotte’s favorite – native American Indians displaying their crafts and dancing! Not only a ballroom dancer with Jack, Charlotte had been a clogger. She would go watch the performances and then after the shows would corner one of the people and get them to show her how to do their dance.
Anytime we did most anything on a weekend, rides to the mountains, maybe overnight trips, we would include her. But always she and I would get together at least once a week.
In the early 2000’s Bill and I began an intercessory prayer group at our church. We held it on Thursday nights when there was less distraction with other goings-on. We still meet to this day. Through the years we’ve had members join and leave. The group has never been larger than a handful. Every Thursday for the last 12-13 years she was alive, I’d go get Charlotte after work, we’d all three have dinner, then go to this meeting, and then take her back home. She dearly loved this group and lived for Thursday nights.
One night we had a new guy join us, our friend Robby. He had moved his family – a wife, 2 young sons and a daughter – down to Newnan, Georgia from New York City. He had been a member of the Brooklyn Tabernacle! It was like meeting a movie star! Charlotte took to Robby and Robby took to Charlotte! The only time there was any trouble would be some years later when another member began bringing her 100+ year old mother-in-law with her to the prayer meeting. This lady also took to Robby ... Charlotte had to share him and I don’t think she was too happy about that. Both those ladies were a bit jealous of each other. Fortunately, Robby had two arms and every Thursday night he walked out with both of them on either side! A favorite, wonderful image burned into my memory that I will always treasure!