Joyce's dad, Allen, died Wednesday morning, April 9, around 9 a.m. We immediately prepared for the trip and left. As we left, Fort Smith had beautiful blue skies, lots of sunshine, and rising temperatures. In an hour we were under solid overcast with a cold wind.

About 2 p.m. we were traveling in an Interstate construction zone with one lane [per direction] restricted driving. A rear tire disintegrated. Traffic was heavy. The well graveled shoulder sloped downward significantly. Instantly I pondered how to change the tire in that circumstance. Immediately a man who worked on the local roadways appeared, turned on flashing lights, changed our tire, and told me where to buy and mount a new tire quickly. How blessed we were! In an hour we were again en route.

Allen was a collector. He loved yard sales. His passions were tools, the old and the unusual. He rarely discarded anything. Through the years he acquired massive collections of everything imaginable--and he could tell you what most things did.

After the funeral, our children and grandchildren [Allen's only grandchildren and great-grandchildren] made a "supervised" inspection of grandpa's collections. Each selected something that he or she associated with grandpa. Joyce, Jerry [Joyce's brother], and I watched as curious eyes and hands explored grandpa's "treasures."

Allen loved to buy, sell, trade, and give away. He often gave things to others. Many, many times he said, "You never know when someone might need this." Thus he bought the single crutch at a yard sell to go with the ten pair he had [or a hammer when he had a dozen, or one more of his countless screwdrivers, or a wrench to add to wrenches galore].

He was not greedy. He just loved "possibility" thinking. After he retired, two things occupied his time--tinkering with his collections and using them to help others.

As I watched grandchildren and great-grandchildren examine his collections, I witnessed the beginning of a progression. His collections became their memories. Soon his collections will become merely things to be "disposed of."

Often our valued "treasures" in life become "things to be disposed of" when we die. Within less than six months of our death, someone will ask, "Why did he like that?" "Why did she buy that?" Our valued becomes meaningless. Our treasure becomes a thing.

The only enduring treasures we leave are relationships of love. All else become merely "things." Thanks, Allen, for the relationships of love.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 20 April 2003

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