I think the first time I saw Miss Joy was one of the many times she portrayed her ancestor at a local historic event. I’ve seen her perform many times since then. She is a regular at our local Veterans Day program each November. She dresses up as Uncle Sam and recites “The Ragged Old Flag.” Each year Ray and I watch her perform at her annual birthday party. She recites poetry, sings to her own accompaniment on the keyboard, and tap dances.
Miss Joy lives up to her name. Last Sunday I saw her at her most joyful, because her two sons were with her at church. One of Miss Joy’s boys is a minister in Texas; the other works in the entertainment industry in California. They come several times each year and almost always at the same time. I know that means a lot to her, because as a mother of grown children, I know how much it means to me (and Ray, too) on those occasions when the children are here at the same time. On Sunday Miss Joy told me that she feels better when her sons are visiting. She’s told me that before.
I had heard the previous Wednesday that Mike and Tommy were coming. A friend of Miss Joy’s had explained that the reason she missed ladies’ Bible class that morning was that she was home cooking for her sons who would be in the next day. On Sunday Miss Joy told me about the spinach balls, coconut pie, and creole okra she had made. She said that she had cooked one thing each day. Miss Joy was back in ladies’ Bible class this Wednesday. She told me more about her boys’ visit. They had taken her to get her hearing aids cleaned out and out to eat. At night they had played Scrabble. She shrugged her shoulders and talked about being lonely since they left.
Miss Joy is remarkable. Her husband died when her sons were very young. She worked as a hairdresser and later as a medical receptionist while the three of them lived with her mother and father. Today she lives alone in the home they all shared, a pretty white house with a wrap-around porch in the historic district of our little town.
Here’s a photo of Miss Joy singing and playing the keyboard at her party year before last. If you look closely, you’ll find her age on the blue balloon. She was 97. I’m looking forward to her next birthday party when she is 99! The smiling lady in the back of the picture is Miss Jo. She graduated from high school with Mike and she is the friend who hosts Miss Joy’s party every year. I need to tell you about her some time. She’s another inspiring woman.
On Wednesday mornings Miss Joy sits in our ladies class with her well-worn Bible in her lap. On Sunday mornings I hear her voice while we are singing praises. Miss Joy has shown the fruit of the Spirit in her life as she has walked with God for a long, long time–one faithful, joyful day at a time.
But the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23a, NASB