How our church registry birthed a new friendship

A few years ago, 2019 to be exact, I was sitting in church in one of our smaller pews.  Just before the service started a lady I had never met before came to join me on my pew. We have a practice at our church of signing our names in the church registry and then passing it along for others to sign so everyone can see who is sitting near them.  I noticed that the lady signed the registry  as Barbara Jones and that she was a winter resident guest.  That prompted me to ask her after the service where she lived in the summer.  We began talking and soon realized that we both lived in the same part of town only a few minutes from one another.  This was quite amazing considering the church was almost an hour away from where we lived.  She had been attending the church as a part time winter resident for several years, but our paths only crossed on that day.  We became friends and even rode to church together on occasion.  Wildly enough we even had some mutual friends in common but yet we had never met before that Sunday. One day Barbara called me up and asked me to come and meet someone. I of course agreed and said I would be right over.  The person Barbara introduced me to was Tamiko. Tamiko was to become my new best friend. Barbara and Tamiko had a long history together through Tamiko’s son, Ronny.  Barbara and Ronny both played golf together and were very good friends.  Sadly, Ronny died from a brain tumor in his mid twenties, leaving Tamiko childless. Barbara and her sister Margery had become like family to Tamiko and her husband.  Tamiko became a widow in 2017 and Barbara and her sister were the only ones left to really look after Tamiko. Since they both spent the summers in New York, Barbara asked me if I wouldn’t mind checking in on Tamiko every once in awhile. I immediately said yes, for Tamiko was a spritely 92 year old lady who lived alone and still managed to take care of herself. I started visiting Tami (as we call her) once a week.  She would always have a cup of tea ready for my visit and usually some other treat as well.  Over the weeks and months she shared with me her history of how she got to Florida from Japan, the sweet love story of how she met her Air Force husband after the bombing of Japan at the end of World War II, and how she learned English from watching American movies.  I once asked her if she wouldn’t like to go back to Japan to live the remainder of her days among her few remaining relatives.  She answered by saying “I’m not Japanese anymore, I’m an American!” Who was I to argue with that? Tamiko may have become an American, but she still loved to eat Japanese food. I eventually started doing her grocery shopping for her and trying to find the Japanese products she loved often proved to be difficult. But she would patiently explain why they were superior and I learned that she was usually right! She taught me how to make sushi, tempura batter for shrimp and vegetables and how to crimp the edges to perfection on gyozas (potstickers). Tamiko is also an incredible artist. Her paintings of flowers are so life like that you swear you  can smell the fragrance from her lilacs. She has a wonderful sense of humor and loves to laugh. Whenever I would leave her house she would cry and tell me how grateful she was for my visit.  I would get in my car and have good little cry myself.  I am always amazed at how God weaves people together as if He were a master puzzle maker, fitting people together in the just right way at just the right time. Since my mother died when I was young and I never knew my grandmothers, I think this is God’s way of giving me back something that I would have never experienced otherwise…the gift of caring for and learning from someone much older than I am.  Tamiko now lives in an assisted living facility and no longer needs me to buy groceries for her or to pick up prescriptions, or figure out why the cable bill is always going up.  She always thought it was sacrificial on my part to be doing those things, but really it was an honor. I will likely never get to have another 94 year old friend and I am so grateful that God put our hearts together through the simple act of signing a church registry.
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.