Guest post by Lydia Buetow
On a chilly afternoon in Lent, Annabelle Dale sat comfortably in her chair and read some of her favorite poems to me as I asked her for writing inspiration. I was so moved by her writing that I asked if I could share a sample with others. She agreed, teasing that she doesn’t deserve the recognition of the front page. Annabelle shared not just poetry but gifts of wisdom, reflection, appreciation and a few great memories along the way.
“Easter is a season of new life, new hope, and Love unending,
The Love of Christ, the Love of kin, the Love of friends, all else transcending!
So may it be for you, Dear friend, a time so richly blessed,
Because one time, so long ago, The Earth was Love possessed!”
Annabelle is now 105 years old, nearing 106 this July. “I don’t know how I got to be so old!” she laughs. Annabelle has enjoyed writing since she was a young girl. As we talked, she held in her lap a thick book of her poetry and reminisced about growing up on her family farm in Bergen, North Dakota. She smiled with humility and pride as she shared about hauling grain on the farm.
Annabelle values faith and family, recalling the small rural church where she attended and where her mother played the organ. She went to teacher’s college after high school and taught in a rural schoolhouse for a short time. She looks back on how life was much different then, “You couldn’t imagine it now. I only had about 4 students, I think, and I rode a horse to school,” she said. Some of her favorite memories include attending country dances with Allen, her late spouse of 74 years, and raising her boys, John and Michael, and traveling.
As we celebrate the season of Easter and as we look toward hope, I asked Annabelle what advice she would give to any person who may be facing the ups and downs of life. She answered, “You always get the strength to do what you need to do.” Annabelle tells of the difficulties of losing her mother who passed away in childbirth, the loss of a brother at a young age, the time while her spouse was serving in WWII; all this paired with the many blessings of life have helped her grow. She confidently surmised, “all of us are wise in our own way.”
“Each year brings changes we must face, but we face them not alone
The Lord is always by our side, patiently waiting to be known.
When things are dark, do not despair. Ask Him for help,
He’s waiting there!”
*Lydia Buetow is the Care Center Administrator at Lake Minnetonka Shores, located in Spring Park, MN. She has served with Presbyterian Homes & Services for 7 years.