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December 17, 2018
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Bridgton Health Care

May 20 2017


Bridgton Health Care is the only nursing home in our town, and they have me in to do a show four times a year.  It's a good gig, just four miles away, and I'm home before noon.  Recently I did our springtime show there, and, while it was very typical in many ways, it was also sadly different than in recent years.


Yes, it was still at 10:30 on a Saturday, and yes, it was still in their activity / dining room.  Yes, the low ceilings kept me from doing my best juggling, and yes, the audience was- if anything- more responsive than usual.  Yes, I encountered several neighbors who work there; a nice perk of local shows, and yes the audience oohed and aahed over the rabbit and doves. 


But it was my first visit there since one of their residents, Earlyne Proctor, had passed away.  Earlyne, profoundly deaf since birth, had been a member of our local congregation long before we found our way to the Alliance Church in town.  When we started attending, we slowly got to know her.  She enjoyed the times our girls and I did a special routine or illusion, and she was very pleased to learn I had a little experience with sign language.  Soon we were talking before or after church (and sometimes during) each Sunday. 


Earlyne came to our daughter Naomi's basketball games when we were playing against her alma mater, Baxter School for the Deaf.  She came to each of our older girls graduation parties and my wife and my 25th wedding anniversary.  She was a guest speaker in my class whenever I did a unit on disabilities. In recent years she was moved into the nursing home, but she always remembered us when we came to perform.


A couple of months ago we learned she had passed on.  Our 15 year old daughter's immediate response was, "How cool.  The first thing she ever heard was Jesus' voice saying, 'Well done, good and faithful servant'."  When did my kid get so insightful.



Nonetheless, I missed Earlyne that Saturday at Bridgton Health Care.  I missed her scolding me for not practicing my signing more frequently.  I missed her asking about our girls, and I missed her in the front row telling people that I was from her church.  Til we meet again, Earlyne.  No promises, but perhaps I'll find find time to practice my signing before we meet again.




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