Gene and Pauliena West are together again...... I’ve lived in Alabama a lot longer than I lived in my hometown of Clay City, Indiana. But, it’s still my hometown, my Dad still lives there and I get back a few times a year. Once in a while you need to walk around on some black Eel River bottom farm land. Enough time has passed that too often I see obituaries in the local paper that bring back good memories and often they report the passing of people who were important to me and my family. So this week when I saw that Pauliena West had died I smiled. Not because of her death but because of what she believed and where I believe she is now. Pauliena’s husband Gene West was a good man and a good farmer. Where I come from those are two of the best compliments you can give someone. Gene was a Sunday School teacher at Good Hope Baptist Church. He was my Mom’s Sunday School teacher and she loved being in his class. One day in 1966 Gene had been shooting a .22 caliber pistol at varmints or maybe he was just shooting for fun. He sat down on a step and was removing empty cartridges from the gun and didn’t know there was still an unspent bullet in the gun. It went off and a bullet went into Gene’s body. He called out for Pauliena and said to her; “Well, I may have done it this time.” On the way to the hospital in Brazil he told her that they’re going to have to hurry. Gene died before they could do anything to save him. We were all in shock and Pauliena lived the rest life alone. She was faithful to her church and her family but I know she must have felt cheated by losing her husband so long ago. I smiled too because of a great story my Mom told. Mom and Pauliena and a bunch of other women attended a church party for women. Everyone was given a piece of paper and a pencil and told to write down a sentence, any sentence, it didn’t matter just write something down. After everyone turned in their paper it was revealed that whatever you wrote down is your answer to the question; “What do you remember saying on your wedding night?” Pauliena read her answer out loud; “If I had known I was going to have to do this I wouldn’t have come.” Mom said they laughed for 10 minutes. In the early 60’s, in Clay City, at a church social that was about as racy and funny as you could get. Pauliena West believed in heaven as a real place where her faith taught that admission is free and that you’re ticket had already been paid for. Gene West taught that in Sunday School too. So today my smile is from remembering that silly story Mom loved to tell and from believing with all my heart that Gene and Pauliena West are together again. It’s about time. I’ll see you tonight at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00pm.