Monday, April 21, 2008


My Grandmother Syble is 93 years old. She still has her cognitive faculties and is very aware. I had the wonderful privilege to live in the same town with both sets of grandparents (maternal and paternal) . My Grandmother Saunders had a profound effect on my life. She was always the happiest person I knew. She has a wonderfully optimistic attitude about life, even to this point. At this writing, she is in the hospital in the cardiac wing and denying any "extraordinary" interventions. My father says that she has a smile, even through the pain. She faces the spectre of death with the same courage as she has faced life. The family is waiting and watching.

Syble Saunders passed away peacefully in her sleep early morning on April 24, 2008.

Syble was born in 1914 to a privileged southern family. She grew up, upper middle class for the time, and attended college (unheard of for her generation of women). Her father was the first to have an airplane in the county and her grandfather opened the first peanut oil mill in the State of Georgia. Her father was a traveling salesman most of his life. Her mother also worked at the local Jewelry store. The great depression hit her family very hard. Her Grandfather spent most of his fortune helping the town stay afloat and he even underwrote the local bank so it would stay solvent. While many small town banks went belly up, no one in town lost their money thanks to the goodwill of Syble's family. She married my Grandfather Bartow in 1934 and moved to Bonifay, where she resides to this day. She was certainly the power behind the throne and even managed my Grandfathers companies (which included a small-town Bank) for a number of years until she retired at 85. She taught me to play golf, to paint pictures with oils, to cook, and was the most progressive Grandmother in the universe. When I was a young teen of 16, she gave me the key to their beach cottage because, "A hotel was no place to take a young lady, so you all go to the cottage and have a nice visit there instead." But more than anything, she gave me the courage and strength to believe I could make the most of myself; believing in me when I didn't know if I could even believe in myself.

Some of the Things That Make Me Happy
by Syble Saunders
written on February 11, 2004 in response to a letter I sent her asking "Why have you remained so happy all these years?"

1. Joy and peace that Jesus gives me that passes all understanding.
2. Happiness from being loved by all my family and friends.
3. Happy Memories of my life with Bartow.
4. Happiness my grandchildren have always brought me. To watch them grow up and have children of their own. My great grandchildren, now this is Happiness that is indescribable.
5. I have a happy attitude toward life. I guess my mother taught me this, she was always happy. I can remember her singing as she dusted the house!
6. Happiness means being contented in whatever you do----no matter what it is.
7. Happiness is believing in myself and what I can do----with the good Lord's help.
8. Enjoy each day of life, and live by the golden rule–Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
9. I live by the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:16-23), Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, and Gentleness, and Self Control.
10. Ephesians 6:10-18. Every morning it makes me happy all day to have a quiet time in which I can put on the Whole armor of God. I also set this time to read my devotional, clear my mind of Earthly things and pray. Paul says in Chapter six of Ephesians, to put this on so you can fight off the schemes or on slaught of the devil and stand firm against him.

These are a few of the many things that made me happy. I feel so blessed. I never feel lonely, I never feel alone. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. I hold each day's gifts in my heart with Joy. Realizing the shortness of life, and Joy brings peace, and Peace brings Happiness.


Tom said...

Very nice, Steve.

I was fortunate enough to meet Bart and Syble when Steve invited me to stay in Bonifay with him for a few days back in 1993. Syble must have been a contest winning cook in her day, because boy can she bring it in the kitchen. Hang in there, Syble.

Dude said...

I'm sorry to hear you lost your grandmother, though it sounds as if she went peacefully. It's always nice to know that somebody was ready to go with no regrets.

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