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Neva’s Peace and Joy
Ronda Rich
There was a woman and her husband I loved most of my life. Many people loved them because they were merry, kind and loving to all. Russell was a barrel-chested man with eyes that twinkled and a constant smile. Neva, also with sparkling eyes, was small, unfailingly sweet and never critical of others. During my college matriculation, I dated their son, Philip, whose blue eyes, smile and sweet nature were a carbon copy of his parents. They were a pleasing family of gentleness and calm. Before I knew them, Neva’s and Russell’s 11-year-old son, Ricky, born with challenges, died. The family maintained their sweet natures and did not become bitter or hard. Even when Philip died of an illness at an age much too young, they carried on with smiles and joyous spirits. For a few years after, I called Neva on his birthday. There was a tinge of sadness but she steadfastly resisted wallowing in pity. She always found something to laugh about and her lilting laugh was like a salve to my spirit. She made me feel good even when she felt bad in her heart.

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