Issue 253 — The Paregien Journal — January 29, 2012
Reflections on Friendships
by Stan Paregien Jr.
Ah, yes, there’s nothing quite like a friend. And Peggy and I have had a lot of very good ones over the years. Still, it isn’t often we see one of them on the front page of The Oklahoman (our only statewide newspaper).
Congratulations to our friend Barbara McGuinn, in the photo and just above and a bit to the left of the conductor’s head. Keep singing, kid.
Another Classmate Gone
My ol’ school, Fillmore Union High (Fillmore, California), lost a member of the Class of 1958 on January 25, 2012. That was a fellow Oklahoman, Thomas Wayne Swift, more recently of Norman. I had lunch with Tom three or four years ago when, somehow or other, we found out we both lived in the Oklahoma City metro area.
Frankly, I couldn’t even remember Tom from our school days. He graduated one year before I did, but we just ran around in different circles I guess. But I took a couple of my high school yearbooks with me and we had some laughs about how our friends sure had changed since then (present company excepted, of course). We spent a couple of hours together that day, having repeated “Flash-backs” (inside joke for FUHS folks) about the good ol’ days.
Our contacts with each other since that extended lunch time have been exclusively by emails. The last one I received from him, which is still in my email box, was dated December 21st and he had just been back into the Veterans Hospital there in Norman. He had a number of health issues, with diabetes being the Big One. In fact, he noted in that last email that it was dated exactly 47 years since he was first diagnosed with the disease. And he noted a new email address (one that would make the FUHS Alumni Association proud), it was firstname.lastname@example.org . You may still use it, I assume, to drop a note to the family. Linda is on Facebook.com as Linda Robbins Swift.
By the way, she loved Tom so deeply that she actually donated one of her kidneys to him some 19 years ago. They had been married 47 years and had two sons, David and Brent.
Tom and Linda were active Christians. So while we mourn his passing from this life, we celebrate his going to see the Jesus that he loved.
[You may view Tom’s full obituary at: http://normantranscript.com/obituaries_archive_url/x370173322/Thomas-Wayne-Swift ]
Another Christian Friend Goes Home
I preached for the Southside Christian Church in Council Bluffs, Iowa for two years back in the mid 1970s. We were a long way from our Oklahoma roots and friends and in a land that, in the winter time, made Oklahoma feel like the Bahamas.
Two special couples came to our rescue when we really needed close friends. The much older couple, Ray and Frances Rutledge, “adopted” us and our two young children and were surrogate parents to Peggy and me, while gleefully playing grandparents to son Stan Jr and daughter Stacy.
The other special couple in our lives was more our age. They were nearby neighbors Bob and Chris Anderson. Bob worked in the heating and air conditioning industry, working with the sharp edges of ducting material, and so Stacy always called him “Scratchy Hands”. And she still does today, with a smile. They were our confidants, our friends, our pals. And though we last saw each other more than 30 years ago, we still loved them dearly.
We got the sad news via an email on Jan. 29th from their daughter Kim that Crystal M. Anderson, age 74, passed away on Monday, January 23, 2012. Chris is survived by her husband of 52 years, Robert J. Anderson, of Council Bluffs; her four children, Henry Jay Svoboda, Kimberly Clark (and Rob), Kari Fitzgerrell (and Bob), Ronald Anderson (and Kelli); 10 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren; two brothers, Gilbert (and Virgene) and Michael (and Delilah); numerous nieces and a nephew.
On the web site for the funeral home, the family stated: “We could write a novel testifying to what Chris tried, dappled in, was passionate about, believed in. She had a heart as big as the whole outdoors and was a lifelong learner. If she didn’t know how to do it, she taught herself in whatever new venture she aspired to — retail sales, church secretary, ceramics, crocheting, and aspiring writer. Nothing was impossible in her world. When you asked Chris to do something, it got done, surpassing what she was asked to do.
“Chris had a strong faith in God and lived her life accordingly. She enjoyed, was even passionate about giving to others, helping others and living the life God would desire of her. Mom’s life verse was, ‘May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you my God.’ God was her rock, her strength, her redeemer. Mom’s most prized possessions were her faith in God and her family. Our family is deeply saddened but rejoice and celebrate that she is HOME with her heavenly Father.”
Farewell, dear Chris, until we all meet together in the biggest Reunion of all.
You may read her obituary at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nonpareilonline/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=155625210
George Burns Sings “I Wish I Was 18, Again”
This great music clip features the late comedian George Burns singing the song, “I Wish I was 18, Again” (written by Sonny Throckmorton). George Burns and his late wife Gracie Allen appeared on vaudeville (live stage) in the 1930s and 1940s, then had their own TV comedy show in the 1950s. At the time this clip was filmed, he was somewhere between 90 and 100 years of age. And still smoking cigars (don’t try that at home . . . or anywhere else).
Try to get your favorite teens to listen to this song about the time they turn 18, and suggest that they to go back and listen to it when they turn 40 and then again at 65 and, . . . well, you get the idea. It really makes you think about the twists and turns in your life. Just go to my web site, http://www.paregien.com and on the menu at the bottom click on “Stuff” and you’ll see it listed under “Videos Worth Watching”.
Well, I guess that’s a wrap for tonight. Good night, friends. We cherish each of you.