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08) Gayle Griffin


Gayle Griffin

Gayle Griffin

 Life is hard sometimes - crazy, mixed-up, and confusing.  Yet, there she is in the middle of it all, just doing her thing...being strong, brave and lovely...like it's no big deal....throughout her life. 

Losing a military father and raised with a sister by a widowed mother in a small town was a huge bump in life's road, but she gathered her 'muster' and  after graduation from Walhalla High School, with college degree in hand, answered the call to teach.  Over the years she didn't 'just teach'...she led her students to learn to love to learn.....the true meaning of education...loving to learn.  Her students knew from day one they held a special place in her heart. Her plan for the school year was that each one would experience success.  Boys and girls experienced her respect and returned it. Her tender, compassionate heart and sense of fairness allowed students to blossom and gain confidence in a happy atmosphere.  Discipline in her class was simple: order, good manners, respect for the rules and each other.  Third grade students always kept fingers crossed and hoped that fourth grade would find them in her class.

Then came the years the mother-daughter roles were reversed.  She became  loving caretaker of a dear mother until her death.  With a sad heart and now in an empty house, once again she 'gathered her muster' and faced life with grace and strength.  To help ease the loneliness she became parent to Gus, a feisty German Schnauzer puppy.  Every day, winter, summer, spring and fall, she and Gus walked from the house on West Main to West Union and back....classy lady with her sassy dog.
There are those sad souls who never experience the partnership and love between dog and owner.
Gus was her canine child and his death left another hole in her heart. Then came Snickers, another precocious schnauzer puppy.  Snickers now has companions - Lulu  and Devil Dog .  Watch for this 'gang'  as they still make the daily walk. 

A recent project reveals her inner strength, love,  and commitment.  When her sister was diagnosed with cancer, she became caretaker once again. During the long days and nights of chemo and its dreadful side effects, she designed and began to create a lovely, soft afghan to comfort and warm her only sibling. Sadly, the disease won before the afghan was completed. But she continued to work on it....for over two years! The beautiful, soft afghan was mailed to a friend  battling the same disease.

Why is all this important?  Life really is hard sometimes. Life really is crazy, messed up, mixed-up or crazy at times.  But there are those special people who keep going, staying strong, brave and beautiful like it's no big deal at all...with quiet dignity and grace.  Not everyone can do what she's done.  Not everyone can handle things the way she has.  While she might wonder sometimes if she's doing okay...the rest of us are just watching her in wonder.

Wonder who she is?  She with her sense of humor; classy- yet - sassy personality; the most tender heart for kids and animals; loyal friend; loyal, loving daughter and sister; steadfast faith in God ; talented, creative hands; dedicated
Tiger fan; discerning listener; patriotic to the core; helpful neighbor; generous and giving nature.... it is  difficult to find all these qualities in one person, but there they are - for all the world to see-  in  Gayle Griffin.

Psalm 31: 24 says "Be strong and let your heart take courage all you who hope in the Lord."
Fits our Gayle to a tee.





A Gift from a Friend


To have a good friend is the purest of all God's gifts...it's a love that has nor requires no exchange of payment.

Have you ever received an unexpected gift which touched your very soul? One that is perfect, lovely and created by someone just to give away to help another or bring happiness? The gift is a huge, soft- as-a-cloud, creamy-colored hand knit 'blankie.' Actually most people call it an afghan, a throw or bedcover. To me...it's a 'blankie' because it will be my cocoon. On cold wintry days, snuggling in this wonderful gift will warm me down to my bones. As with many cancer patients, chemo has destroyed my internal thermostat and even on sunny days sometimes I shiver. Nothing warms like a soft, snuggly blankie. This gift also warms my heart! The story behind this gift will warm yours too.

A dear, precious friend with whom I taught and attended the same church for years (more than either of us will admit!) became sole caretaker for her mother. Then she found herself sole caretaker for her only sister and nursed her through the stages of cancer until the dreadful disease won the battle - though her sister was a fighter to the end. As my friend visited her sister in Hospice House the last months of her life, she created the design and made the knitting needles do her bidding. A few months into the creation, she realized the "blankie" would not be finished in time for her sister to use. In my mind's eye I can see my friend sitting faithfully and lovingly beside her sister's bed, revisiting memories and knitting.

Losing an only and beloved sister is painful, so sad and mourning takes time. The knowledge that her sister went straight into the arms of the Savior is reason to rejoice, but her forever absence had to be devastating. The "blankie" was put aside for a while. My friend's character is profound and her faith oh-so steadfast. During the next 2 years she worked on the "blankie" with plans to donate it to the Hospice House in her sister's memory. After thought and prayer....the exquisite creation arrived in yesterday's mail....to me! And exquisite is the word to use.
I literally began to hyperventilate reading the note of how it was created and found its way to me. Hands shaking and knees knocking, I found the closest chair and wrapped the beautiful creation around me... instantly feeling the love with which it was made. Tears....happy, humble tears flowed. Oh yes....the gift touched my soul.....the gift itself and the gift of self. I posted 2 photos of it in the photo section of this site, but neither do justice to its beauty. This 'blankie' will be a family heirloom and the story behind it will be required in passing it on to daughter and granddaughter.....and on. I am oh-so blessed!

Some words to my friend:
" I'd like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me.
I'd like to be the help you've been always glad to be.
I'd like to mean as much to you each minute of the day
as you have meant, old friend of mine, to me along the way."

Thank you, thank you, Gayle.