When I think of home, I first think of the building in which I lived, our house on Karen Street. In my minds’ eye, I quickly go through the garage door, and enter the kitchen. I see my mom on a Saturday morning, cleaning up breakfast and I can smell the delicious aroma of bacon and eggs. I see my Dad reading the newspaper, his glasses perched on his nose and his Bible nearby where he’d placed it after reading it aloud to us. I feel safe and loved in this place, even in my mind. I could linger there all day long. But, to be accurate, “home” was more than the loving family and cozy house that I knew so well. It was also a church, Victory Baptist Church. My parents have been members there for 29 years, most of my life! I say “parents”, but it’s just my mom now. Dad moved on to his heavenly home almost nine years ago. My mother has faithfully served there without him all these years. I suppose that’s why I enjoy “visiting” my family – both my home and my church – in my mind so often. I like remembering what a rich heritage I was given, I like thanking God for these undeserved gifts, and, I just like seeing them again, even if only in my daydreams.

Bro. Virgil and Mrs. Bobbie Graham
from years gone by.

Part of my family is suffering now. My pastor’s mother, Mrs. Bobbie Graham, is about to move to her heavenly home. She has lived a full and wonderful life serving her Lord, but, my heart hurts for her family. It hurts because I can understand their sorrow, having buried my own dad. And it hurts because I will miss her, too.

I was not an easy person to hang around when I was younger. I talked a lot, I talked too loud and I know I often appeared to be seeking to be the center of attention. I dominated conversations, stuck my foot in my mouth and received more than a few demerits at our Christian school for rowdiness! I believe all of the adults with whom I grew up endured my childishness without a single complaint, but I know many of them turned the other way when they saw my big mouth coming their direction! 😉 Mrs. Bobbie, as we called her, always greeted me with a smile and hug and a “how are you?” But she wasn’t just saying the words, she really cared. I saw it in her eyes. She liked talking to me, and during the moments that I spent with her, I felt like I wasn’t a bother or burden. She wasn’t offended by my verbosity, she never once looked down on me, though she could have. She is a great lady; a great Christian. She has met famous preachers and heard her husband and son preach to thousands – yet she liked me, a kid, a nobody!

There is one event from when I was sixteen years old that I often recall, and often blush at, that I’d like to share. (I may regret it later! ha!) I wanted to find a way to be a blessing to Mrs. Bobbie, so I decided to surprise her by washing her car! She had mentioned that it needed it in one of our conversations, so I thought “Go get ’em, Tiger!” I went over one Saturday morning (without calling first! Duh!) with my dad’s car wash bucket and supplies, and I guess I helped myself to the Graham’s water hose and got started. The Grahams were all so kind to me in spite of my thoughtlessness. They realized that I was trying, in my all-to-hurried-way, to be a blessing. I don’t think that even my parents knew of my plan beforehand, because when I got back home, mother said, “Valerie, you should have arranged a time with her and gotten the car here to wash! You used a lot of their water and could have been in the way!” She was right…how silly of me, yet, how typical of me, not to think first! (Placing palm on forehead) Mrs. Bobbie, or my pastor, with whom she lived, could have criticized my efforts. They could have crushed my spirit, grinding it into fine powder, but they didn’t. They chatted with me while I was there and they even thanked me! No one ever uttered a word of complaint. They were, and are, very patient people!

Two wonderful people:
Bro. & Mrs. Ken Graham

I am now living the life that Mrs. Bobbie lived, as a pastor’s wife myself. It’s a life I never felt qualified for, and still don’t. Yet, even today, Mrs. Bobbie’s example inspires and encourages me. While growing up, I watched her go through throat cancer surgery, losing part of her neck and tongue, and having great difficulty speaking – yet she was in church every time the doors were open. Her operation left her needing to have water handy all the time. Some would have used this as an excuse to stay home, but she just brought her insulated mug filled with water and came to church! She’d sip on it as needed and listen to the preaching. I watched her care for her husband as he suffered with Alzheimer’s Disease, and then I saw her willingly carry on after his death. She loved people, yes, but most of all, she loved her Lord. She served  Him in any way she could. She is an amazing example of God’s grace.

I will miss seeing Mrs. Bobbie when I go home to visit. But I will see her again. Not just in Heaven someday, but also in my memories. In that place, I can see her anytime.


3 thoughts on “For Mrs. Bobbie Graham, My Friend

  1. Masey Arnold says:

    I love and admire the Grahams as well! Mrs. Bobbie is a very sweet and special lady.


  2. Anonymous says:

    I can hardly write through my tears. Thank you for a beautiful tribute to a beautiful Christian. She is such an example!


  3. Kristy... says:

    Mrs Bobbie seems like someone I would love to know.. And hey I will one day !!! Your words are beautiful.


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