My Friend, Helen

Helen and I met at church, where I was the Children's Pastor and she was a volunteer. We struck up an immediate friendship because she had the most infectious laugh known to man. She was the kind of person that just lit up a room with her laugh.

Helen was always getting on to me and telling me that I was naughty (which, of course, was TOTALLY not true . . .) and that I was a bad influence on her, and didn't I KNOW that I was a CHILDREN'S PASTOR and there were certain expectations of my behavior. Again, I don't know WHY she said such things to me.

One time, we were walking into church from the parking lot, where they had recently poured these huge concrete speed bumps. To be safe, they had painted them bright yellow so people wouldn't trip over them. So as we were walking, Helen approached the BRIGHT YELLOW speed bump and just went FLYING over it. I know I shouldn't have laughed, but it was funny. I mean, one second we were talking, and the next, Helen was airborne! She did skin herself up pretty badly, so I felt bad for laughing, but she laughed too, which made me laugh all the harder because as I mentioned before she had a very infectious laugh.

That afternoon, when I got to AWANA (where she volunteered), she took my Sparky pin (it's a little mascot character for AWANA) and turned him upside-down and said that until I did a good deed, I had to leave my Sparky upside down. She said that was my punishment for laughing at her in the parking lot. From that day forward, anytime I didn't something she considered "naughty" she would turn my Sparky upside-down.

Fast forward several years, when Mike and I were moving to Georgia. She made me a beautiful red scarf, attached an upside-down Sparky to it, and told me that she wanted to give me something that would always remind me of her, my "Upside-Down Sparky Friend." I still have that scarf, which does always remind me of her, but I have so many other things that remind me of her as well.

Yesterday, my upside-down Sparky friend went to be with Jesus after a lengthy battle with cancer.

All that to say, I love you Helen. Have fun at Jesus' birthday party and I will see you when I get there.


  1. Thank you for sharing this Carol. It made me smile.


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