Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lee Anne

The coming of fall always puts me in a somewhat contemplative mood. Most people make New Years resolutions. I prefer quiet autumn reflections.

Holidays are a big deal at the Smith house. Labor Day usually kick starts the season with a good BBQ (This year hubby smoked a turkey to perfection!) followed by dragging out the boxes of red and gold leafy garlands, pumpkins, and scarecrows. We decorate the house and talk about who's going where this year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, the girls try to decide what to be for Halloween, and of course, there's football!

Around this time is when I like to get away for a little quiet thinking. Introspection. Evaluate who I am, and how I got here. I don't have to go far - just sit on the porch with a cup of coffee, or take a stroll around the yard. I love these solitary moments. Just to take a deep breath and feel the world around me slow down.

This is not meant to be a time of deep melancholy, but as I'm sure you're aware, not all memories are good. And even good memories are sometimes marked with despair.

I have carried this photo around for years. It is torn and tattered and more precious to me than gold.
Lee Anne. She was my college roommate, my singing partner, and the dearest friend I've ever known. She was amazing. She had more maturity in her christian walk than you would ever expect from someone her age. She was sure of herself, yet humble. She had a quiet strength.

We were at Campellsville College together and spent a summer with the Campbellsville Singers performing in churches and counselling at children's camps. I cherish every hot sticky day spent with rowdy kids, and every buggy night doing bible studies in the cabins. From hiding undies in the freezer (in a block of ice, of course!), to trying to save a baby bird, we had a blast!

Lee Anne, Billy, Bill, me, John, and Jana - The Campbellsville College Singers. This was one of the best times of my life. Those of you who knew me in high school know what a big deal it is that I ever took the stage and tried out for this group. I couldn't believe it when I made the call-backs.  And being chosen in the end was a dream! There was a beautiful harmony between the girls, in every sense of the word. And how could you not melt for those guys; the teddy bear, the flirt and the comedian with his 'fun-glaftifs'!
There are very few moments in my life that I'd wish to re-visit, but Singers summer, maybe . . .

Time marches on, it always does. The six of us moved on to new places, new faces, new experiences.

Lee Anne flew to Arkansas to visit one summer. We took up like we'd never been apart. She joked all week about us 'hillbillies' trying to sell rocks.  

I joked about the 'yankees' who actually bought them! We talked about our hopes and dreams. We talked about all we wanted to accomplish in life. And when the time came;

I was in her wedding,
 (With Kathleen-1993)

                                                                                    she was in mine.

I'll never forget the day I got the call. Singer buddy Billy said, "We've had a tragedy."  I didn't want to hear it. Didn't want to accept it.
It was late fall 2001. America had been attacked. I had a 4 month old and a 27 month old and my husband was heading off to war. And now Lee Anne was gone. And for what? What conceivable good could ever come from this? Everything happening around me seemed so senseless.

Is it possible, I wonder, to have too much faith? Not in God, but in men. When do you say. "Enough!!" and walk away?

Lee Anne's faith was unwavering. She believed there was good in every man, even the man who took her life. And she believed that good was worth fighting for. Like I said, she was amazing.

Lee Anne is on my mind and in my heart every day of the year. But for a week or so at the start of  every fall, thoughts of her consume me. I remember the person she was and the experiences we shared. I think of her three handsome boys and long for them to know her as I did. I pray for her amazing parents Tom and Mary Anne who are now raising those boys.

Sufficient time has now passed that most of my remembrances are happy. Oh, there are the scattered tears, but mostly - smiles! Smiles about her penny loafers, her mushroom hair, and her no-make-up natural beauty. Smiles about climbing in dorm windows after missing curfew, picnics with friends at the lake, flirting with the cute doc at the blood drive. Seeing her face light up over Mickey Mouse, the Dallas Cowboys, or when talking about her family.

There's no question that I'm a better person for having known Lee Anne. She was, and is, an inspiration. And I dream of the day when I'll see her again.

Goofing in the dorm
Working one of our summer camps

Reception after our final concert -
someone was goosing me!

                          "I thank my God upon
                     every remembrance of you . . ."
                                         Phil 1:3 


  1. Thanks for sharing your heart today. I know the emotions come from a place that in some ways is still very very raw. May the peace of our precious Jesus just drip all over you. And may the sweet memories of your friend fill the air.

  2. Ang,
    Good, thoughtful blog! What happened to her?


  3. How sad! What a comfort to know you'll get to spend eternity with her!

  4. When I hear of you singing in college, I remember all those hours in the car together, the two of us trying to attempt to sing with Sandi Patty. Come to think of it, you always did sound better. :) Good memories.

    I am thankful in this post that you were able to remember and reflect on all your precious memories with a dear friend. God puts special people in our lives along the way to help us grow, as well as having fun. So sorry to hear of her passing on, but so happy to know you will see here again one day.

    Awesome post. Prayers as you continue to reflect and remember during this time.

    Love ya!

  5. Thank you for sharing that with all of us, Angie. I wish I was close enough to give you a big 'ol hug!(Here's an "air" hug from me...)

    Some friends will always hold special places in our hearts for sure!!

    Love you,

  6. Ang,
    This has been an especially tender day for me. The last couple of days have been somewhat trying (dealing with my emotions and getting used to my new challenge... sugar problems.)

    But you have reminded me again of God's promise that He never operates without a purpose. Our purpose is to trust, serve, yield, and serve Him. Tears are often God's gift to help us cleanse our mind ,heart,and spiritual eyes that we may see Him more clearly, follow Him more nearly, and love Him more dearly.

    Great Blog, Paddy