Saturday, March 19, 2005

Loving Good People....

So if I had to pick my two favorite things in this world it would love and people. Oh the power of both of them! And you know what, there’s nothing better than the power of the two of them together: the love for good people!

I love just down-right good people! And I love loving just down-right good people! And the best part is that good people tend to share the love of loving! Think about it…you’ll agree! ;)

I’ve been blessed with so many good people in my life! I can’t even being to list them all here whereas the length of blog space as well as my memory would fail me, but I do want to dedicate the rest of this blog to a recent blessing I’ve received from a good person in my life!

It two weeks ago today, March 5th, that I got the following voicemail on my cell phone…

Kimberly….if this is the Kimberly who wrote that beautiful letter about daddy in the Optimist, I’m Phyllis Trevathan and I just wanted to do something for you or sent you something….

It’s just been beautiful….i read it a lot…

And if you’re the one who wrote it…I called St. Louis, but I didn’t get an answer, because I thought that was where you were from.

If this is the Kimberly Smith who wrote that big article in the Optimist about Charles Trevathan, I just would love for you to call me for a minute, then I could call you back, I don’t want you to have to spend money calling me, but I’m in Abilene at ###-###-#### and I’m Phyllis Trevathan and I’ve just been so proud of what you wrote and I just wanted to do something for you or send you something, if I could.

And if you have any time to call me that would be wonderful. Thank you so much and I hope you’re happy in Irving, Texas. Bye.

Now I must say, I was NOT expecting a voicemail like that when I punched in my pass-code on my phone. That call had come out of no where. How had she gotten my number!? She had gone out of her way to track me down to thank me for an article that I wrote at 3:30 AM in the middle of the night after hearing about the passing of a good friend. While that article was written as a tribute to a great man, it was as much as a form of therapy for me as anything.

So, out of shear honor of being called by Mrs. Trevathan herself, I sucked up my nerves and called her back the following day only to miss her and we ended up playing phone tag for the next couple days.

Finally, a few nights following her original call, I got to speak with Mrs. Trevathan. What an honor to hear her talk of her husband and the love they shared for one another! Oh how in love they were! How precious it was to hear her refer to him as “daddy.” I wouldn’t have wanted to spend those 26 minutes on the phone with anyone else at that time being! She had my eyes watering at one point, though she never knew it. I made myself get under control of course though, not to let her hear me choked up in my responses. [I tell ya…good people and love, especially the love they share for one another, gets me EVERY time!]

So, she got my mailing address as she wanted and I got her email address as I wanted.

This week I came home from my spring break road trip to a package in the mailing awaiting me. Inside I would find two Optimist newspapers and a book. The newspapers included a clipping from the Optimist that covered Charles’ funeral, in which she had written on and identified all the people in the picture for me. The second was the entire Optimist which was put out the Friday following his passing which included all the articles that were submitted as tribute to Chuck, including my article….

“Chucky T” Will be Remembered by All

“If you don’t know me by now, [pause], you will never, never, never, know me…” these oh so familiar lyrics to the Lionel Richie song have always been my joke theme song that I tell people I will have played at my funeral. If you know me, you know I do my best to find humor in all situations, even death as you can see in that case, and while it might be considered my way to cope, it is apparent that I would be using humor in a time like this in just that manner, a way to “deal.”

While Richie’s lyrics might ring out to me as an appropriate setting for my funeral, they would have no meaning in Charles Trevathan’s because like oh so many of the greats in our country’s history, Chuck’s legend will only continue to flourish after his passing. No, maybe you won’t be able to get that firm hand-shake or friendly hug when you would go to visit him in his office anymore. And no, you won’t get to hear that distinctive, deep, raspy voice bellowing out throughout the corridors in the basement of the AD building, but you will still hear his stories and through them, others will still get to “know” Charles! Chuck’s stories will always live on!

If you’re still reading this message at this point you are most likely one of two people: you either had the blessing of getting to be a part of one (or more) of Dr. Trevathan’s classes and you find yourself truly missing him right now, or you are someone that knew of his recognition through other students and you found yourself wishing you had registered for your classes earlier than you did that semester because you found yourself, like many other students, looking at an already full class roster next to any of Charles’ courses within hours of registration opening.

If you are in the first group, you have heard the wisdom filled stories Dr. Trevathan brought to his classes and you know they will not end here. His stories will be told for generations to come. You realize that while here on earth we might have lost one of the most humble and loving servants in this world, but you know that through the many individuals that he blessed with his presence, he will live on for many years to come.

If you find yourself in the second group, I bid you my sorrows. If you were not able to get to know Charles Trevathan because you were unable to get into one of his classes, I will be honest and say you really did miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime, but as Charles would want you to know, there are so many other wonderful professor out there, especially at ACU, so take advantage of every opportunity you have to get to know your professors, they really do care! I was just so blessed that I took advantage of my time with “Chucky T!”

Kimberly R. Smith
2004 ACU Alumnus

She chose to sent me a book because as she had said on the phone, “Daddy loved books”…and oh how true was that! He had a passion for reading and learning, which made me truly honored to receive a book in his memory.

The book is entitled A Little Bit of Heaven, and it is a book of stories, quotes, hymns, scriptures, and poems. Inside the cover she had written this:
Dearest Kimberly—May God richly bless you as you serve others.
In Christian Love, Phyllis Trevathan

Had this not been enough, she also enclosed a card. Little did she know that cards are always my favorite part of anything I get! She had expressed during our phone call together how my article as well as all the other notes and things she has received had meant so much to her and how written words can have such power—I couldn’t agree more! Why else would writing an article in the middle of the night have helped me therapeutically?!

So the card which I treasure as much as the book said…
Kimberly, your love and care for my precious husband Charles was such a blessing to him—and me and our family. God bless you and your family. I would love to have you visit me if you can come to Abilene. In Christian Love, Phyllis
(Charles always wanted to give books—and talk about books. Since we are thinking so much about heaven, I thought you might appreciate this book. Charles loved to talk about heaven!)

Wow…she’s just like her husband…those were the last words I heard from him the last time I got to go visit him at his office. He walked me all the way outside the building and as I walked away he reminded me (for about he third time just during that one conversation that day) that he was serious about his offer for me to come stay with him and his wife at his house sometime.

So….she got my mailing address to send me this treasured gift and I got her email address. Why you ask? Because I wanted to share with her the paper I wrote for my graduate school class after her husband’s passing. It was a paper that was to be based on an “older” person’s life story. While we were suppose to interview the person and then write the paper, I wasn’t able to get the interview with my person, but knew enough about him from the stories he had shared with me previously.

I passed my “Life of Charles Trevathan” paper on to Mrs. Trevathan attached to a long email thanking her for contacting me and sharing a part of Charles’ love for books with me. My email shared with her just a small portion of what her husband had meant to me….

Your husband was amazing (as if you didn’t know that already)! He was easily one of the most, if not the most, brilliant and intelligent men I have ever met. As a person who is almost always confident in herself and pretty stubborn, I seldom will ask others for help and advice, always thinking I know best, but your husband was one of the VERY few individuals I would turn to when I wanted advice, because I knew he would always have some words of wisdom for me. I admired his intelligence!

In the classroom I saw him as a grandpa, always willing to share his stories with us “kids” and always wanting to let us in on his life experiences, but in his office I always saw him as a father figure always willing to lend me his guiding hand and words of wisdom when I didn’t know who else to ask for advice from. It’s funny because when I would be having a bummer of a day and couldn’t really get into a good mood (which is actually a pretty rare thing for me) I ALWAYS knew who I wanted and needed to go talk with. I would just show up in the sociology office and your husband would never be too busy to talk (though I knew he always had TONS of other things he should have been doing). And it NEVER failed that I would leave there on a natural high and feeling great! He truly had a gift for making others smile and happy!

Charles helped me so often with questions I had about classes at school, but he helped me the most with making decisions and helping me along the way for choosing and going to a graduate school. He actually wrote my letters of recommendation for graduate school and gave me copies of them. Those letters mean the world to me and I actually have them framed and up here in my room. If there is ANYONE who is great with words, it was Charles!

The Trevathan’s represent “good people.” There’s no doubt that I love and admire people like Charles and Phyllis!

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