Joyce Smith, Columnist

Thought for the week: The ultimate choice, the most important decision you will make in this lifetime, is the choice to invite God’s son into your heart. Please choose wisely — and immediately.

My thought and prayers have been with our 2020 high school and college graduates. This is truly a year that they will remember. The following is an old clipping that was sent to me upon my graduation. Its truths still hold true after 66 years.

“As you go forth from graduation, be a credit to all those who have given so unselfishly of themselves to build character in you. Never be hesitant to say no to the unwholesome pressures of the day. You have already passed so many tests with flying colors and I only wish that with the coming of graduation, I could tell you that you won’t have to face any more, but you and I know that is not so.

“The hardest tests you will ever face are just about to begin. Those who have tried to teach you, lead you, guide and direct you, will be in the background watching a new chapter in your life unfold.”

Best of luck to each of you.

Graduates whom I am aware of are Olivia Daugherty, daughter of Lucy and Pat Daugherty, Taylor Penning, daughter of Kelly and Charles Penning, Ellie Driver, daughter of Teri and John Driver, Stacey Holt, daughter of Jennifer and Jeff Holt, Cayde Wiley, son of Mary Jean and Shane Wiley, McKayla Marlin, daughter of Christy and Tandy Marlin, Lauren Caldwell, daughter of Stephanie and Skip Caldwell, Eli Shirk, son of Julie and Chris Shirk, Robert Hassell III, son of Jane and Robert Hassell Sr. and Harrison Lackey, son of Sheri and Doug Lackey.

Katie Hickman received her degree from U.T. She is the daughter of Angie and Kenny Hickman. 

I would like to wish each of these young people the best of luck and tell them to be sure to read this week’s thought for the week.

When baby girl Harper James Sanders entered the world at Williamson Medical Center this past week, she had no idea how much excitement she brought to all of her relatives. Her proud parents are Colton and Shelby (Burns) Sanders. She weighed 7 pounds, 13½ ounces and was 20 inches long at birth.

Her grandparents are Leecy and Brad Sanders, her great-grandparents are Joe and Brenda King and her great-great grandmother is Susie Bennett. To all of these, we say congratulations!

You are all invited to Homecoming 2020 at Mt. Carmel Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It will be June 7, under the pavilion, beginning at 11:45 a.m. The visiting musical group will be Billy Wise and Mountain Time. There will be no meal after the singing because of the coronavirus pandemic. Call me if you have any questions.

I want to extend my deepest sympathy to the family of June Sweeney Hood upon her recent death. I feel as though I have lost a classmate. Her husband, Charles Edward, was a classmate of mine and whenever we got together, she was always a part of our group.

I know she will be missed at the country ham breakfasts at Cowles Chapel United Methodist Church. She was always in the kitchen, working to make sure the tables were always filled with the necessary food. She was loved by all who knew her.

She is survived by her husband of 63 years, her daughter, Shelia (David) Reed, her son, Eddie (Terri) Hood and grandchildren Casey and Ryan Reed and Tiffany and Chelsea Hood. A private graveside service was held at Williamson Memorial Gardens.

The recent storm we had in and around our communities really played havoc at the home of Elaine Bradley Thompson. It was so overwhelming to her as well as her family when they saw numerous trees that had fallen across her driveway, fence and even into the back of her car, breaking out the window.

She had tree limbs, leaves and bark all over her front yard and porches. Her son, Brad, brought in a crowd consisting of his brother, Chad, his son, Alex, as well as Jeremy Nichols and Will Noland, with their equipment, Justin Coble and son, Ethan, with Coble Logging, Danny Cotton, with equipment, Keith and Harry Hickman with their chain saw, and Allison Wiley.

Of course, there were a lot of on-lookers, such as Russell and I, who stopped by to give her moral support. When it was time to feed everyone, her grandson Alex Thompson wanted to know if he could ring the old Thompson dinner bell to gather everyone. He did just that. She wants to say thank you to each of you all for coming to her rescue.

Thanks so much to each of you who prayed for my sister, Anita Gillespie, this past week as she was rushed to the emergency room at Williamson Medical Center. After extensive tests, she was given the OK to return home. We were so thankful. She is celebrating her 89th birthday today. Happy birthday, Anita!

Prayers are being heard and answered when it comes to Joel Pedrick. He has been battling a very serious blood disease for years. He has been in and out of hospitals going through numerous types of tests.

Well, this past week we were so excited when we learned that his doctor told him that he was in partial remission and the tests were moving in the right direction. Thanks to each of you, and I know there are hundreds, who have had him on your prayer chain at home as well as at different churches. We also thank God for hearing and answering our prayers.

Several of my friends and family members will be celebrating birthdays before my next column is published.

Happy birthday to each of the following. My friend Delores Gilreath and our granddaughter Karrie Smith will be celebrating on June 6. My niece and great nieces, Kaye Johnson, Brooke Barnhill and Caroline Miyake, as well as my “adopted daughters” Anise Rittenberry Lankford and Rebecca Rittenberry Crain, will celebrate on June 8, and my friend Pam Stephens will celebrate on June 9. To each of these, we wish a big day!

Congratulations to Franklin for being one of 20 finalists in the All-American City Award given by the National Civic League. Of course, we feel as though we will soon be reading that it is No. 1.

I have learned that College Grove United Methodist Church, Bethesda United Methodist Church and Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church will not be having their ice cream suppers this year. They may decide to do something later on in the year.

With this pandemic continuing, we still need prayers for our sick and shut-ins. Please continue to pray for Dugan and Linda Reed, Jessie and Charlie Bennett, Stephanie Mangrum, Anita Gillespie, Connie Marlin, Delores and David Gilreath, Howard Yancy, Bo Slaughter, Annie Lee Farrar, Ted Waddey, Kim Ham, Tom Woodside, Dee Lynch, Dodie Hazelwood, Meredith Lay, Teresa Locke, Ronnie and Judy Pitt, Terry Marlin, May Johnson, Ellen Bogle, Harold Wheeley, Pat Marlin, Larry Marcum, Charles Gore, Charlie Reed, Larry Westbrook Sr., Otis, Marie and Sharon Bentley, Donnie Cameron, Nellie Stephens, Billy and Katie Giles, Judy Clifton, Joel Pedrick, Susan Glenn Spivey and Michael Gillespie.

Our deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Rob McArthur. He is the son of Tommy and Vicki McArthur and grandson of Mamie and Brent McArthur Sanders. Our sympathy also goes to the families of Ed Mayfield, Bob Garner, Virginia Reynolds, Fay Underhill Sweeney, Robert Boyce, Carlene Higley, Roy “Rudder” Trice, Alma Jones (mother of Bernard Jones), Mary Hurst, Jean Dicie, Sage Warren, Bill Wade, Anne Collins Harris, Billy Pewitt, Walter Lillard (father of Jerry, Larry and Carl Lillard) and Joel Tardy.

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