Sherry Kughn: GOOD SAMARITAN

Inez Smith wanted someone in need to take all of her household furnishings. A son’s death led to her decision to move in with a sister who lives in Fruithurst.

“Have decided to give my household goods away,” Inez Bush of Alexandria recently posted on Facebook.

The 82-year-old great-grandmother asked if anyone needed her belongings, especially someone who might have suffered from a house fire during the holidays.

On the morning of New Year’s Day, she sat on her couch among her ordinarily tidy furnishings. She had already packed her clothing and personal items and was waiting on someone from Cleburne County. A man had contacted her and told her about a family of eight who recently lost everything in a house fire. He was coming to pick up the needed items that day, the coldest of the year.

“I am moving in with my sister in Fruithurst,” Inez said. “She has always said I would be welcome in her home.”

Ironically, Fruithurst is where she and her six siblings were born. The family moved away when Inez was 6 years old. Only three of her siblings are still living. Inez and two of them will now live on the same road in Fruithurst.

Regarding her house, which she plans to continue owning and rent out, she thought about selling everything. However, she said she never had been one to focus on money or material goods. Instead, she and her late husband, Jim, had always focused on serving others. They used their house to finish raising their two sons who were almost grown by the time the family moved into the brick house. They moved in on Dec. 31, 1966; and she last spent the night there Sunday, exactly 51 years later. Throughout the years, the couple often cooked out in the backyard for members of their church, Ohatchee Church of Christ. She hosted Bible studies and ladies’ parties.

In 1986, Jim died from an inherited kidney disease. From time to time afterward, Inez used her house to help relatives and children who needed a temporary place to stay. Eventually, the same kidney disease that led to her husband’s death claimed her son, James, a military man and father of two. Her other son, Richard, the father of her other grandchild, moved in with Inez 15 years ago. The same kidney disease claimed his life in October, his death an event that led to her decision not to live alone.

Sitting with a cup of warm coffee, she smiled despite all she has lost and is about to lose. She talked about how she and her sister, Penny Hicks, will work together in the yard this spring. They hope to plant a garden. She admitted that “a whole new world” awaits her.

“I am not handling things really well right now,” Inez said, “but soon things will get better.”

A bright spot in Inez’s recent circumstances is that she is giving a granddaughter and her family the opportunity to live in her house. The house will be filled once again with children’s laughter.

“I often miss my sons, and their children are busy with their lives,” Inez said. “That’s the way God intended it to be. If we all stayed as close as we were when our grandchildren were young, we would never want to leave this earth.”

Inez’s focus on other people, rather than on material things, will continue to enhance the lives of others.

“I have learned to close the door and move on,” she said on the day she closed the front door of her houseful of memories. A new church, a new place to live, and new friends await her.

Email Sherry at sherrykug@hotmail.com.

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