(Farther Along)

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Ruth's PictureMy Sister Ruth was born prematurely. Surprisingly, this preemie grew up to be a normal, physically fit and strong individual.

Ruth is married to Richard. They met at the Baptist Church in Yigo, a northernmost village in the island. Rich was a young handsome sailor stationed at the Naval Air Station. After a period of courtship, he and my sister were married. Shortly thereafter, Rich was stationed in the United States, and he and Ruth left the island. They did not return for several years.

My sister has three children--Richard, Randall, and Rebecca Ruth; all are currently residing at south Florida except for Randy, an Air Force pilot stationed in Germany.

My sister has several grandchildren.

Ruth enjoys playing the piano, and sometimes she sings solo at her church accompanying herself on the ukulele.

When we were growing up, I remember my sister to be stronger and more physically fit than me. When she threw a ball or a rock, she threw it at least ten times higher and farther than I ever could. When she ran, she ran so fast, nobody could keep up with her.

My father preferred her to do the manual tasks around the house not only because she was the oldest girl, but she worked fast. She grated coconuts faster than anyone I knew. Where she would finish ten coconuts, I would still be working clumsily on half a coconut. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but that's what it seemed like. It seemed that the oiliness of the coconut kept my hands from having a firm grip on it to do the task right. The thing kept slipping from my hands into the receptacle below. Looking back now, the problem of the oiliness in my hand was caused by my eating the fruit of my labor as I worked.

To grate the coconut, Guamanian style, we used a crude instrument called komjo. The komjo was made of wood like a stool, and a flat metal device which has a neck with a semi-circular head at the tip, is fastened securely on one end of a stool. The semi-circle metal head has sharp serrated teeth which are used to grate the coconut. We would sit on this stool, hold half a coconut and grate away. I never did become proficient doing this task. Today, I thank God for food processors, juicers, and blenders.

I also remember the times when my mother would send us to the seamstress to have our clothes made. We didn't buy clothes or underwear back then; they were made. My sister Ruth and I would walk about six miles to get to the seamstress' house. We would start out together and before I knew it, she would be so far ahead of me, I could barely see her. I remember walking as fast as my little, tired legs could carry me, but I couldn't catch up with her for anything. Sometimes I would run, but my sides would ache; and I would be forced to slow down to catch my breath.

How much did we pay the seamstress? In dollars and cents, nothing. The seamstress was my youngest sister Elizabeth's Godmother, so she did not charge us like she did other people. However, we would bring her something such as a bag of sugar, cans of carnation milk, etc.

I skipped a grade when I was in the first grade, and I ended up being in the same class with my sister all throughout our elementary school.

We were taller in height than the other kids in school. People often referred to us as the tall girls. I remember how my sister hated being referred to as tall. But what about me? To distinguish between her and me, people referred to her as the 'white' one, and I was the 'black' one because I had a darker complexion.

I remember when my sister and I sat on the steps and pondered how the year 1957 was so far into the future. It seems like time flew by quicker than the blink of an eye. Many things have happened in our lives the both of us--things that are hard to understand, things that do not make sense and seem unfair. But, Sis, let's not try to understand them now. Wait just a little longer, for farther along, when the desert shall blossom as a rose, when the dark clouds are rolled back, and when we are sitting at the feet of Jesus, all would be explained and we would understand it then.

Farther Along

Tempted and tried we're oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long,
While there are others living about us,
Never molested tho in the wrong.


Farther along we'll know all about it,
Farther along we'll understand why;
Cheer up, my [sister], live in the sunshine,
We'll understand it all by and by.

Faithful till death said our loving Master,
A few more days to labor and wait;
Toils of the road will then seem as nothing,
As we sweep thru the beautiful gate.

When we see Jesus coming in glory,
When He comes from His home in the sky;
Then we shall meet Him in that bright mansion,
We'll understand it all by and by.

--W. B. Stevens

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