Good-bye, Jeff - Of our
Jeff’s friend finished her
term of service to V.I.S.T.A and returned home. It was strange to have
worked daily with these kids and then, they were gone. Jeff was the only
one who kept in communication with his acquaintances when he returned home
after his duty was completed. Velma’s son-in-law pieced together an old
car for him and he drove it home. Jeff was almost like a child in some
ways. He knew nothing about an automobile engine but with tutoring was
soon talking gaskets and manifolds with the best of them. It was fun to
see him absorbing the mechanics of his old automobile. He wrote back that
the car died once and completely in his parent’s drive-way.
He sent a letter once more
and told that he was on a motor bike traveling over Israel. He had learned
to ride and enjoy motorcycles while in Oklahoma. This newly learned skill
he learned was being used to see the holy land.
“Tell your Dad the old
adversary has been busy in this part of the world,” he noted. As much as
the Vista volunteers gave, they got back. Lee had already raised his five
children and a nephew and niece before that. He had a way with kids.
Patience and accepting them as adults created maturity in these young
people. He was only more severe with one grandson and who can understand
the way of families. The boy had a disability, but also, had a way of
tormenting his grandfather. He knew just what to do to rile Lee. Such
things as Roly Poly bugs beside his plate on a white table cloth taxed his
grandsir’s sensibilities to the edge. Lee wouldn’t say anything to the boy
but would draw himself up and call Velma’s attention to what he obviously
felt was a disgusting thing for the boy to do. She would have to hurriedly
correct the situation. Jeff, on the other hand, was a well behaved young
man so he had all the positive treatment he could receive from Lee and
politely sent a message to him regarding his remembrance about what he had
been told of the “old adversary,” one of Lee’s favorite expressions and
Once more we heard of Jeff
and it was from his mother telling us he had passed away with a rare form
of cancer. They were having a memorial for him. It was a sad note and it
told of a mother’s love for her son. We wondered if the death hormone was
working in Jeff’s body while he was working in Oklahoma and if that was
the reason he seemed so bent on achieving his goals. But then, who knows
about the mysteries of the body and mind? There was the privilege of
knowing him, if but briefly, and that was enough. The beauty of his values
and love for humanity was to be etched on their hearts, forever.
One Vista was left with
them and it was little Patty. She was a quiet, gentle person, who seemed
little more than a child, but was actually very mature with strong
character and a good background. Her father was a person of notable
achievements in television and the filming of well known and popular
children’s shows. Lee took her under his wing and saw to it she was always
protected. It was a natural, grandfather and daughter kind of relationship
and they were comfortable with that. Patty especially seemed to be
experiencing an easy time of her life, free from worry or anxiety. It was
a pleasant thing to watch.
The vacation trip Velma was
planning for a foray over the country side to Colorado, Springs was
supposed to be for relaxation, but in reality, she was always working.
Patty was to go with their family and it would be her ultimate experience
with the American Indian pow-wow. She would be learning more about Native
culture in one week than ever to be experienced for her total life time.
Preparation was necessary.
Lee and Velma along with Velma’s son-in-law and daughter were all in
agreement about the trip. Everyone worked together to make it happen.