Friday, May 7, 2010

Phyllis LaRae McKinney Minyard

A Service of Witness to the Resurrection
and a Celebration of Life
May 6, 2010 at Fain Presbyterian Church in Wichita Falls, Texas
Phyllis Minyard
May 4, 1928-May 3, 2010

We drove to Texas in Gran's car, Daryl and Gran in the front, Lee Ann and I in the back. As is always the case when I'm not in charge, we got to the church 30 minutes early and were the first ones to arrive. Cousin Doug from Stillwater arrived 15 minutes later and the rest of the family was there 15 minutes after that.

It was a small gathering of family:
Phyllis's son, Don, and his wife, Donna, and their daughter, Avery
Phyllis's daughter, LaRae, and her husband George
Phyllis's granddaughter, Kelli, and her husband, Wade, and their son, Noah (see yesterday's post---2 week old Noah was the hit of the gathering)
Phyllis's grandson, Christopher (He was the last one there, so like me in that way)
Phyllis's sister, Virginia (Gran)
Phyllis's nephews, Doug and Daryl
Phyllis's nieces, Lee Ann and me (I'm actually a niece-in-law)

The tables in Celebration Hall were decorated like a lovely cafe. The church ladies served a delicious and healthy buffet of foods with several drink choices. There was a piece of cake by each plate. When Gran ate her first bite she said, "This cake is pretty, but it tastes three times better than it looks." It must've been good. With my sugar addiction, I didn't taste it.
It was evident that the church loves Phyllis and her family. The love of God flowed through them and all over us.

The service started at 1:00. I was seated in the front row of the sanctuary. The first thing I noticed was the high ceiling behind the pulpit. It went up, up, up with two small stained glass windows at the top. My first thought was the nablopomo theme, "Look Up." I prayed for the opportunity to take a picture of it. I wasn't sure if it would be appropriate to take pictures at a funeral. As we were about to leave the sanctuary, Gran asked me to take a picture of the flowers that she'd sent. I did, and then snapped a quick one of the high ceiling and windows.

The service took me back to my days as a Presbyterian in California, especially the music. Gran commented on how the organ covers up any mistakes you might make singing. I had LaRae's beautiful voice behind me, Daryl's beside me, and mine combining with the 100 or so others who filled the church as we lifted our voices to the Lord.

Everything was uplifting---the flowers at the front, the pastor's voice and his words, a special piano piece, a vocal solo, celebrating Phyllis's life, hearing that death came peacefully as a friend transforming Phyllis from an 82-year-old woman in a nursing home to a vibrant saint in heaven, and experiencing all this with other people who loved Phyllis.

It was so good to see and be with Phyllis's family. I love to laugh and they love to tell funny stories, a winning combination. It makes me glad I married into this bunch.

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