A year ago as Memorial Day approached, my dearest Sister in Christ, as she calls me, visited with her husband for days… When she arrived on Thursday, she said they would be staying until Tuesday… Quick to beat her to it, I said that’s great, there are no Tuesdays in Texas. We hugged and chuckled as we had since we met in 1992. Her shop was Upcountry Legends, and she was the story of storybooks that became transformed into a prolific writer from Maui , Hawaii. As I walked in with my four sons dressed alike, she sweetly giggled and called them “the group”… By the time I left the store, she had my address and phone number, and within a week, she delivered the book that sealed our friendship, A Parenthesis In Eternity by Joel S. Goldsmith.
We always made time to talk about God.
We were drawn to the noblest of thoughts when life closed and open chapters through the years. Her first husband, Carl, took his last breadth when we were on the phone, and years later her second husband sang in a pew behind us when they first met. Her daughter and son and my four sons all lived different paths on the same island. Our Moms stayed with us at home until the angels came to take them to the gates of heaven. We shared a friend whom we loved even more now that we suppose what she would say. We called her Hope because she was optimistic. My dear Cindy Schumacher was Love because she was truly embraced in both marriages. I was Faith because I pray as I breathe… Our tea times are etched in crystals somewhere in heaven. I know. Jeannette is there waiting to meet us arms outstretched, guaranteed.I woke up to see it was for real and the clock was ticking. We filled the hours with sacred minutes. The best of Hemphill, Texas, was certain to please them. The cardinals, the eagles, the gentle chimes, the glimmering lights on the water seen from our finger of the lake…and The Serenity Bookstore! That’s where she handed me The Way of the Pilgrim. They had both read it years before, and like a child with cotton candy in hand, I tasted the flavor of each word: ” By the grace of God I am a Christian, by my deeds a great sinner, and by my calling a homeless wanderer of humblest origin, roaming from place to place.”
After her dear husband Carl joined our mothers, we immersed in all there was to read and study to share while life and laundry and the needs of loved ones were met as mothers do though she also worked the store. One Sunday, as we traditionally scheduled a tea and scone or sandwich, I danced on the bamboo floor to Nana Mouskori’s “I Believe In Angels”… I had a gut feeling and I told her she would meet someone, that it was time… She answered…” He would have to love God, be surrounded by books, and fall from the sky!” So be it I said, and so it was two weeks later. This enchanting Schumacker love story continues.
Paul is a NASA engineer who tracks satellites in the sky, and lauds God in hymns with a deep baritone voice… In August they will be married fifteen years… Since then, she was blessed with one, then two, and now three journalist publications; she writes about all that transpires for the good of the community. Paul is writing a textbook on Mathematics and Cindy has learned to sit through conferences where scientists exchange the numbers and figures like most friends do stories about people. She has been transformed, and his sole complaint has been that she has risen them to a new tax bracket. Oh, the problems of additions!
In Hemphill, the Patricia Huffman Smith Columbia Space Shuttle Museum surprised the Schumackers, especially Paul because he knew some of the astronauts photographed in a few displays. He muttered…all of this ought to be in the Smithsonian Museum…
However, on February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-107 broke apart over Southeast Texas. The tragedy united the community to volunteer for months in assisting with the search and rescue crews, and providing meals. The story is told to respectfully honor the seven astronauts; the museum shines the mission of each life in fulfilling a lifelong dream. Visitors leave Hemphill knowing the joy in the peace to be remembered. My friends dubbed the town a treasure with its own Smithsonian.
A church couple, friends of God first, knowing Cindy and Paul were visiting from Hawaii, extended an invitation for our first Southern Hospitality dinner. Vickie and Tim Saltzman embraced us with prayer and a delicious dinner. The warm friendship was our luau in Texas… An evening to call precious with the locals’ Aloha… on a sacred land named Sunshine Valley… where wholesome hearts tend to gardens, read the word of God daily, and work to sow to reap and share because they truly care. Oh, my dear friends from Maui were simply delighted to meet the salt of the earth in Texas.
Cindy and I attended Camp Springs Baptist Church that Sunday, and as we drove towards it, she laughed and said, this is like going up Olinda Road ! We sang and heard the sermon together, sisters in Christ, side by side as we had prayed for years long ago. The sign at the Saltzman’s home was one we photographed to keep, to remember, as we knew, in a way, Jeannette too had been there.
” Of all good things upon the earth, a faithful friend is best.” __ Earl of Lytton
I miss her. We talk. We text. We understand each other. We agree on what is right and what is wrong. No problem is too big for us to tackle and none to small to dismiss.
On Monday we spoke almost in whisper as she often does… We watched time slide like kids at a playground… and after she and Paul left the next day, on my desk, written on my note pad she penned:
“There Are No Tuesdays In Texas
There are no Tuesdays in Texas
and now I really know why
I have to leave my sister with no way to say good bye
Hearts joined by our heavenly Father
long ago we saw it would take trillions of Texas Tuesdays to separate forever more.
I know her in the kitchen
In a movie and a song
I know her heart is heavy
She has taken mine along
I leave her with this message
It’s for all the world to see
It’s the Love of God between us
that lets two sisters be.
Her heart is endless with rainbows that bend
Tears of joy are shed for the love she lends
There are no Tuesdays in Texas
And now I really know why
I have to leave my sister with no way to say goodbye…
May 29, 2018
to Nic from Cindy”
Paul drove off and when I look at this moment, I know she was praying…
Are there any Tuesdays in Texas?… I think not.
There is no way to say goodbye to my sister in Christ.