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Velma's Work
Valiantly Velma - Page 23


Good-bye, Jeff - Of our heart

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 warnings.

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.


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