A Truly Beautiful Lady

There’s a lady living between Granger and Bartlett, Mrs. Joyce White.   Lord, I don’t know where to start.   Joyce recently celebrated her 85th birthday.   We met in late-January, when I was covering a BBQ cook-off in Walburg.   The barbecue photos done, it was time to head home.  One of the organizers, however, said I might want to stay around and meet Mrs. White.   So I did.  Here’s the thing.   This sweet lady and her group, which I can’t mention, is a wonderful, positive story.   Although we’ve visited several times, she still balks at the publicity.  Her great-aunt, who helped raise 5-year-old Joyce after her mother died, made one thing clear:  you were not put on this Earth to serve yourself.   Joyce listened.    So I’m not mentioning any of that here.   But Mrs. White did study journalism at University of Texas in Austin, earning both bachelors and masters degrees. She taught high school for many years, in Houston for nine years, but mainly in Granger.  A lady at her church, First United Methodist in Bartlett, calls her Saint Joyce.    Last week, during a visit, I asked her if it would be okay to just take some portraits of her … no mention of a story.   She agreed.  These photos are the result of her kindness.  On the personal side, Mrs. White reminds me of my Great-aunt, Addine Bradley, who, for reasons I never knew, was called “Bip.”   She was my mom’s aunt.  Aunt Bip, a farm girl from northeast Texas, was special to me.  Growing up in Texarkana, I spent copious amounts of time in the “country,” the family farm 16 miles south, near Queen City.   She lived there with her two siblings, my great-aunt Sal, and their brother, Harry, my great-uncle.  None ever married.  Bip lived to 94, Uncle Harry passed at 97.   Bip and Harry were more like grandparents than aunt and uncle.   Bip’s countenance comes to mind when I’m around Mrs. White.   Even if she doesn’t allow a story, she needs to know a lot of us see her as special.   We need more like my Aunt Bip and Mrs. White.  I’m posting these in color, but on Facebook, I’m offering them in glorious black-and-white.  Joyce and I are both fans of that method of presentation.

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