Passionate About Purple

Tea Pot With A Cup of Tea - Royalty Free Clipart Picture

In a sea of unknown strangers, we meet on the only soft couch in the break room.  The silver-haired lady dressed always in varying shades of purples and lavender… and I.

Sofa buddies, she calls us.  Taking a break from rock-hard chairs and dim computer screens. Sharing words like tea from a kettle…warm and satisfying.

Someone compliments her on her matching periwinkle sweatshirt and pants of the day and she smiles, puts her hand aside her mouth and leans over to me.  “My favorite color,” she twinkles.

Bits and pieces of making conversation volley back and forth between us over the days.  She’s a retired schoolteacher.  I talk of freelance writing.  “I wrote a book once!” she crows, regaling me with her former college thesis-turned-book theme. I tell her about my stories in Highlights and currently writing a piece to submit to Chicken Soup for the Soul.

“I’d like to do that!” she cries.  I encourage her to do it, give her the web site info.

We talk of God and faith and how she tries to encourage the “young people” around her to think of Him in their everyday…  even as she playfully teases a man walking by us about just that and he tells her she is right…

And before we know it, there’s a kindred spirit between us.  Every cross-hatch line on her  75-ish face speaks to me of a lifetime of stories I wish there were time enough to hear, but this job is only for a few weeks.

Gently, I pull them out of her.

She begins with her dad.  An austere, distant man on weekdays, overworked and too spent for family chatter.  “But – oh, our Saturday nights!” she enthuses.   “That’s when Daddy would become a kid again and we’d stay up deep into the night playing cards and board games until we’d fall over!”

Her blue-green eyes mist a bit as she talks…and I can almost see them all there, her brothers and sisters and dad…bending over boards scattered across their dining room table, contemplating their next game moves, whooping at the wins, moaning over losses.  Her father tugging at her braids, giving her brothers a good-natured nudge in the ribs.  Their window the only one brightly lit with the glow of sweet banter in a now dark neighborhood gone to bed hours ago.

Then, she’s on to her own family… seven kids, I think she says… Speaking of days when she was pregnant with twins…Sorrowfully, how one of them died as an infant.

“Do you think the twin who lived ever felt… lost…without his twin?” I ask, thinking how twins have that built in closeness even in the womb.

“The kids were all so close,” she explains, “I don’t think so…”

She goes on to talk of how they lived in a sprawling home far from neighbors…How her children became each other’s best friends out of necessity…how they too, still love their game night tradition to this day. How her dad was an inventor.  She chuckles, remembering some of his craziest ideas, speaking proudly of others.

These days, she’s up at the crack of dawn, dropping her granddaughter off at school, wending her way across 45 minutes of freeways and traffic to this place.  Again, I marvel at her stamina.  I see her catching a few winks in her car at lunch, but she’s ever chipper on the job.  We laugh together over some of the funnier things these kids write on the tests we’re reading… the cute ones…  Wonder over some of the atrocious penmanship.  “Never would have cut it in my class,” she expostulates, privately.

She tells me how she works here twice a year, and at a candy and nut shop over Christmas, boasts of the best cashews in the world at that place, and plops a little bag of them in my lap one morning with a mischievous grin.

“What’s this?”  I smile.

“Just a treat,” she waves her hand dismissively.  But I see her waiting for me to take a bite, rave over their succulent taste…and I oblige, heartily.

We talk of favorite children’s books and her love of scrapbooking and crafting and my old love of drawing and painting and how she’s looking for something fun to give her youngest grandchild for his birthday.

Next day, I’m waiting on the couch.  She drops down beside me with a Hi’ya, sofa buddy! and deposits Amelia Bedelia in my lap.  I exchange three Frog and Toad books she told me she’s never read.  Two kindergartners at show and tell.

She giggles at Frog and Toad antics while I chuckle over Amelia’s mishaps, when I sneak a look at the impish dimple in the corner of her smile.

She feels me looking, glances up from the page and a butterscotch pudding cup in her hand.  “Ohhh… I bet you’re thinking,  why did I ever give that uncouth woman my book when she’s eating something gooey!” she laughs, embarrassed.  “I have to force myself to eat these days, or I’d put it down, y’know…”

“Not at all,” I assure her.  She is indeed thin as a rail, not interested in food much anymore at her age, she says.

“I’m buying these for my grandson!” she hoots over Frog.

Bulletin Board Clip ArtOne day, supervisors announce a posting of those who will continue on another project.

That makes us notice.  “I don’t know your name!” we splutter together, chortling.

Anne,” she says, as I’m wondering if that’s Anne with an “E,” like one of my favorite Anne’s…but I don’t ask.  “I’ll go check the list to see if we’re on it,’ she says. “What’s yours?”

I laugh.  “Pam…”

She isn’t on the list, but I am.  She makes light of it, saying she has something planned in the middle of it anyway…but I know she’s disappointed.

Her project is nearing close the Monday after Mother’s Day, and it is suddenly looking like it will end unexpectedly within hours.  I find a powder blue box shaped like a tiny bag with a heart cutout on top, filled with little goodies, at my computer that morning.  One of the little Mom’s Day gifts she told me she was crafting for the women at her church.  “I saved one for you,” she says with a friendly nudge, “because you don’t have to be a mom to have a mom’s heart.”

I’ve been mulling over getting her a card to say goodbye these past few days…something light and pretty, and purple of course!… and now time is running like sand through our fingers before I know it.

I muse whether I can make it to a local grocery store and back during our short lunch.  Dash there and find the perfect one – Happy Mom’s Day in flowers and lavenders.   Grab a pen from my glove compartment to pen her a few words…  tell her how her stories make me see her mother’s heart, how I’ve enjoyed knowing her…   Put one of my cards inside, in case she’d like to read some of my blog stories some time…Slide it by her computer before she returns from lunch.

I sit down to begin working, when I feel her fingers kneading my shoulders.  Thank you… she says, close to my ear, with emotion… for the beautiful card.   You’re a sweetheart.  She grabs my hands and folds her own business card into them.

Before long… her side of the room is emptying out, project done.

I think of how transitory life can be.  How God brings people into our lives for only a moment sometimes… like a brief chapter in a book…

Later, l look at her business card and smile.  The woman’s energy never quits. It’s what makes her happy.

Creative Memories Consultant, it reads.  Workshops and classes.

And I think…I like how God stamps His own creative memories across the momentary intersections of our lives…  and how He often speaks His heart to me through the elderly.  How I’ll miss meeting her each break, during the next project…

This weekend, I see a movie with a friend.  It’s about a group of elderly people feeling lost in the emptiness of their lives… traveling across the world to a third world country in search of a hotel advertised as elegant and lovely…though anything but..

Hotel for the beautiful and the elderly, the sign reads when they get there.

Laughter bubbles up inside me at that…and snapshot memories of a woman who is passionate about purple and life to the full float across the screen of my thoughts.

The beautiful and the elderly…   hmm.  Sounds  like a soap opera.  I think I prefer God’s view on that

Beautiful is He who satisfies our desires with good things so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

And makes us like amethyst, in His Hand.

©  Pam Depoyan

 Now I’m telling the world your wonders;
      I’ll keep at it until I’m old and gray.

~Psalm 71:17

Has your life intersected with a stranger for one brief moment recently?  If so, what did you find written there in that short life chapter?


I want to link this post to one of Laura’s over at The Wellspring– her lovely Divine Appointment story called There’s a Story Right Under My Nose.

After I read her piece, this post about Anne began forming in my mind… 🙂

and also to:

About Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

I love to hear your thoughts, even chat back and forth amongst comments.Won't you join the conversation? :) ..................................................................................................................... May my stories refresh you, like a whisper from our Father's Heart !
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13 Responses to Passionate About Purple

  1. lolitavalle says:

    It is funny because I do love purple in all shades. She is such a dear and beautiful person, Pam. I am so happy your path had intersected….. and you have impacted both your life, decorated them with your personalities and gifts.

    My world is like a highway….. I haven’t had intersected with one which gives a lift to it lately, except her on the blog world.

    There are a few peppering of spicy moment though, like how my granddaughter Heart wanted to do scrapbooking with me one Sunday afternoon, did not stop nudging her Pastor Dad until he gave in. This was a favorite Occupational Therapy, while recuperating from the stroke back then, that we enjoyed doing together. We used to go up a mountain cottage (owned by their friend) and spend two to three days doing just that. I encouraged Heart to do and express on her own in her scrap book. It is a little legacy I wanted her to develop.

    Thanks for provoking me to notice people who intersects in our path, Pam….. It also urges me to be intentional in finding one that benefits both ways in spirit and in character. Sigh.

    • I love that you and your granddaughter had this time together and that you leave her such a lovely legacy to continue, Lolita. Sounds like such a beautiful mountain getaway for you, especially since you needed that refreshing at that time. Thanks for sharing this story. Yes, those “intersections” come when we least expect. He brings them to us and nothing we can do to make them happen. I read a wonderful book series recently where the author called that His tapestry.

  2. Martha Herden says:

    This was wonderful, obviously written from your heart-letting us have a moment to “peek in” on this short, but fully enjoyed relationship you had with such a loving lady! We never know when a person will cross our path-and for no apparent reason, we find ourselves reaching out to spend a brief moment in time with them.

    There have been many moments like this for me-but one stands out to me the most-we were on a vacation, driving across several states and I loved to stop at “Cracker Barrel” for our main meal of the day. We sit down, our food comes quickly but I notice one lone woman, sitting by herself-as a huge weight seemed to be hanging around her.

    During our meal, I began to notice repeated glances coming my way from her-a quick smile, followed by a sadness in her eyes. For whatever reason, I could not get my mind away from her. We finished our meal and as I rose to leave, she waved at me-motioning for me to come closer.

    My husband began to wonder what was going on and I told him to wait for me, I would only take a few seconds to say Hello to this lady. Suddenly I was standing at her table, as she stands up and tells me “I could not take my eyes off your beautiful Cross Necklace!” I thanked her, told her it had been with me a long time and her shoulders dropped for a second, tears in her eyes as she said
    “I have never had a Cross in my Life-nothing that pretty,and I hope you don’t mind me taking up your time!”

    No, I smiled and assured her it was fine and I enjoyed spending this brief time with her, but I needed to go and thanked her again for the lovely compliment. I could see it was taking every ounce of courage left in her to hold back major tears. As I walked away, I stopped and saw her hands covering her face, shoulders shaking in heavy sobs.

    The next move by me still seems like something out of a movie-I turned around, made a fast move to her table, tapped her shoulders and said “Please hold out your hand” as I dropped my Cross Necklace into hers! She grabbed my hand as if it were a Life line being thrown to her in heavy seas! Tears poured from her heart and she kept saying “Nobody has ever done anything like this for me-I can’t take this from you, I just can’t!”

    I paused for just a second and said “Yes, Its Your Cross Now-just remember to Thank God tonight before you go to sleep!” With that, I turned and left. My husband never asked where my necklace had gone, and I prayed hard that night-knowing I had met a woman in deep Pain and maybe the Cross started to give her real help.

    Thank you for allowing me to share this story Pam. Martha

    • lolitavalle says:

      That was a very generous move you made, Martha. Your love shone in this.

      That was a real God appointment. You were there at exactly the time and you ministered to this grieving lade….. perhaps she misses family.

      So blessed I am both of you, Pam and Martha.

    • Oh, Martha… what a beautiful, beautiful story! I encourage you to write this as a post on your blog. I know it would touch and uplift your readers! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know more details about how that kind act changed that woman’s life for the better? Someday, you will know and God’s smile is over you both. I’m not sure I could be so generous. It’s easy to buy something for someone, but to give something of your own treasure is a bit more. Thanks for sharing this!

      Lolita, I’m blessed by you too! I just added a link on here to another Divine Appointment story you guys would be blessed by… 🙂

      • Martha Herden says:

        Thank you Pam for the words of encouragement to share this story on my Blog! Its amazing-I had that moment tucked away in my heart, and when I read your posting about the lovely Lady you met-suddenly it felt as if I were right back there, I could see the woman, and truly saw the PAIN in her heart. I must agree with Lolita-I do believe that was a God Moment! I will share this very soon on my blog! You never know “Who” might be standing in your path-needing a few seconds of Love-with no strings attached. I will never forget this woman-never.

        Bless you. Martha

  3. To Martha:

    Martha, this doesn’t surprise me in the least that you would do something like this. Confirms to me who you are – a giving, giving, giving woman – just like Jesus!

    To Pam:

    This was so precious. Thank you for sharing Anne (I like to think it’s with an “e”). I love these Divine Appointments. And you touched her deeply with your card to her – your words that she will treasure in her heart. What a gift-giver you are as well, Pam! I’m blessed by you both this morning!

    Diane Ronzino

    an encouraging word:

    • Thank you, Diane… Yes, after I gave her the card, she told me it was with an “e.” 🙂 I love Divine Appointments too… I was even thinking how when I broke my leg, I had to go to physical therapy… someplace I never would have been. And I was there to overhear situations and pray for people I will never really know or see again. God uses everything, doesn’t He? Under usual circumstances, I would not have been in this time and place with Anne, either.

  4. That’s just what I felt, Martha! I definitely think God is whispering to you to post it… very uplifting for people who may be hurting. 🙂 I’m glad he used this post to bring it back to you so vividly!

  5. I’m not gray [at least not “very”], but I AM old-ish. Her story made me smile. And the incidents discussed with you two makes me look at circumstances and children/g-children as they walk through their present lives, and sometimes is very stressful. However, my Father is the answer. I can/will/must trust Him. … and my color is purple, too. Didn’t start that way on purpose, but others started giving clothes, etc., with that color. Now, after almost 25 years, it’s the most recognized part of my personality. What a hoot!

    • Yes, I don’t have children… though always wanted to…but life does have a lot of stress these days. I couldn’t make it without Him – my peace. Love that you identify with the purple! She was so cute… every bit of her wardrobe was lavender or some shade of purple. Said it has been her favorite for many years. Age is in the heart… sometimes can’t believe I am the age I am because I still feel young inside. 🙂 Glad this made you smile!

  6. Pingback: Purple Majesty for Mother’s Day | Writing… Apples of Gold

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