There were many kids that I started the first grade with, and we were together with, all through high school. There was one girl, I was close with, was Phyllis Jean. We were close, as we went to the same church and her family was one of four families, who were friends and spent every Christmas Eve. with them.
It was a bit boring for us, but it was a long standing custom. Phyllis and I wondered each year which of our Dads would get drunk first and would either of them get to Christmas Eve worship with us. Most time they did not.
After high school we were off to college, graduate school, marriage and work. Phyllis became prominent in her community, in Kansas, for her service, and she was a devout Christian and very active in her church community.
We reconnected for our 35th and 40th class reunions where we reminisced with some of those same people we had gone to grade school with. Even in those conversations Phyllis stood out and many were eager to visit with her.
We did not make it to the 50th reunion for Phyllis was diagnosed with cancer. Shortly before she died, I spent a couple of days with her and I watched and experienced a person dying with dignity and grace. We remembered the Christmas Eve's of the past and some of the long lasting relationships we had, with some whom we had taken naps with in Kindergarten.
I was unable to attend her funeral, but her remains were returned to our home town. There we were able to have another service with those old friends. As we put her ashes in the ground, we said the Lord's Prayer together, and I whispered well done, good and faithful servant.