Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Death & A Gooseberry Pie

CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith For the Years of Winter…

I have thought a great deal recently about the tragedy of sudden death and the ways people react to it. That makes me think of Eunice Snider.

Eunice was arguably the best cook in Charleston, IL, with a specialty in baking. When she was dying a couple of years ago, she would sit in the kitchen in her wheelchair and instruct her husband, Art, in how to bake. We spent a night with Art last summer and can verify that she taught him well.

Among the thousand or so people in Wesley UMC in Charleston, Art was in many ways my best friend, and in many ways my biggest problem. He was neither a critic nor an antagonist. He was much worse; he asked questions I couldn’t answer.

Art and Eunice had adopted two sons, John and Bob. I met them first when they were in middle school years. John was a kid who wanted to do the right thing, and often did not know how. He gave Art and Eunice a lot of problems. When he was 20, he hanged himself in the Coles County jail.

Art and Eunice called us. I can’t remember why, but it was several hours before we could get to them. When we arrived, Eunice was ready for us. In the midst of her grief, she had baked me a gooseberry pie, because she knew it is my favorite, and she knew I had a difficult job before me as I did John’s funeral.

Everyone must react to tragedy in his or her own way. Not everyone should be a Eunice. But I am grateful that there are those who, in the midst of tragedy, are hosts in this world, who make the way possible for those around, even in the midst of their own grief.


{I also write the fictional “Periwinkle Chronicles” blog. One needs a rather strange sense of humor to enjoy it, but occasionally it is slightly funny. It is at}

(If you would prefer to receive either “Christ In Winter” or “Periwinkle Chronicles” via email, just let me know at, and I’ll put you on the email list.)

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