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"Other Colors"
by Orhan Pamuk

by Nathaniel Philbrick

March 6, 2009


It has been a year since Eunice, or Junie as we called her, went to be with the Lord. I know that her children and grandchildren miss her even more than we, her sisters, do. It is interesting that the things she did for us and for so many others are still active forces in our lives. She and David stayed in our house one year for six weeks, ostensibly to tend the cat – and they didn’t even like cats! While they were here, they painted and papered and refinished and rearranged and decorated the house. It was wonderful. Eunice reframed pictures and put things in just the right places. She had a wonderful gift that she generously used for others.

She had a wonderful sense of design and proportion. She was also a marvelous seamstress. Once I helped her decorate an apartment for some missionaries that were returning for furlough. What fun it was to see her pick out sheets in just the right color and see them transformed into curtains for the windows. It was amazing to be with her as she chose the bed linens, rugs, and accessories that were just right for the rooms – and very inexpensive too. I don’t even know if she had a budget from the church. She often bought things for others, using her own money. At the end the apartment was charming and attractive; in fact it made one want to move in!

When youngest sister and her husband moved back from their many years in Japan, Junie was in her element, taking decorative items and placing them into an attractive grouping. She considered the elements of style, color and subject and hung pictures and they looked just right. My youngest sister says that when their house is painted, she is going to put little pins in the nail holes so that she knows just where everything should go. My sisters all seem to have this gift in one degree or another, but I think we agree that Junie was the maestro. I carefully dust the objects she arranged on top of the hutch and return them to the place Junie put them. As I contemplated remodeling the kitchen, the foremost thought in my mind has been, “What would Junie do?” “Would she like this idea?”

I think Junie must have inherited this talent or gift from my father. He was always changing, rearranging and remodeling. My mother was too. My father installed a bathroom in our house. He added a sink in an upstairs bedroom – a wise thing with six daughters. He actually got a contractor’s license and built a house – just because he always wanted to. It still sits on the lane named for him about a block from where he lived. Junie was always remodeling and had an instinct for design. I can see her sitting, looking around at a room and then saying, “I think that would look better there.” And it would.

So a year has gone by. We are happy that she is no longer in pain or frustrated by the disease that finally took her from this life and are grateful to God for the years we had with her. I am sorry that she didn’t get a chance to see great-grandson Owen, or anticipate the arrival of another new little one this year, but what she is experiencing is so grand and awe inspiring, that we can only imagine what joy she has. I am so glad that we have been given this assurance that if we are absent from the body, we as Christians, are present with the Lord. II Corinthians 5:8

Junie Sept 2007

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