Monday morning Linda had a chance to do her exercise routine since there was a CURVES in Taylor where we had spent the night.
We then traveled to visit Bill & Alma Bunting at Summersmill Retreat & Conference Center near Belton TX (just of I-35 between Austin and Waco). Alma is my1st cousin. Her father Clifford was one of my Dad’s brother’s and was one of the 3 uncles that I was named after (Charles Clifford Franklin is my full name) . My granddparents Howard & Ruby Whitfield settled in the North Livingstone area near Thessalon Ontario (60miles east of Sault Ste.Marie) in the early 1900’s.
Anyhow, Bill was a preacher for 35 years in a number of places in Canada and the US. He is a native of the Detroit area and their last church was in Livonia just out of Detroit. When he decided to retire 8 years ago he was put in contact with Paul J.Meyer http://www.pauljmeyer.com/ who is a wealthy business man in the Austin area. He had a the property and hired Bill & Alma to start a small retreat center for churches to use. They have done a great job of building this into a “world class” operation and are now expanding into general use by businesses for planning sessions and seminars. Their daughter Julie is now the Sales manager and is doing a great job in that capacity. Since preachers often don’t have much of a retirement fund this opportunity was a God send for them.
Unfortunately, Alma has developed lymphoma and has had to undergo chemotherapy. She is a little weak because of that but was in good spirits. She has one more round of chemo but at this point the doctor says the cancer is in remission. We pray that this continues.
We had a pleasant surprise in this visit. We got to see Lloyd & Eunice Whitfield. (on left in picture - Alma & Bill are on the right). Lloyd is Alma’s oldest brother and he & Eunice are longtime members of the church and good friends from “back home”. As Eunice said it was a great to see each other because we had more time to visit than we do in our busy schedules when we are at home.
(From Linda’s journal) Monday night we had supper with Ken and Shirley Foster very close friends of Bill & Alma’s. Real Texas supper –potato salad, beef brisket, baked beans and various pickles –very enjoyable time They had visited at Alma’s “home” in Canada and Shirley brought out a photo album showing a picture she had of the one room school house where Alma had attended with Linda, I also attended the same school but Alma had moved to a nearby school when we moved to the Maple Ridge area. with
On Tuesday we went for a driving tour to see the blue bonnets. For some reason, the place that is usually just covered didn’t have any. Alma was very disappointed since she wanted us to see this place which is featured on the cover of Texas tour guides.
It was a good visit . One is left to wonder about God’s purpose in leadng them to this place and then having the pain and turmoil of cancer but as so often we do we turn to Romans 16:16 with the confidence that God will work good no matter the outcome.
p.s. We learned Wednesday evening that Bill Garside had passed away. His wife Marjorie is a dear friend and long time member of the Pinehill congregation in Sault Ste.Marie where we attend. Although he has had heart problems for a number of years, we are saddened by his sudden death and extendour sympathy to the family. Our prayers are with them.
Charlie & Linda