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Childish Wisdom

March 25th, 2013 | Posted by David Brenneman in All Posts - (0 Comments)

Little children have a way of expressing themselves that is not only amusing but gives us food for thought.

There were two little boys in their bunk beds about to say their prayers. The one in the top deck asked the other one if there was anything that he wanted real fast. He felt that since he was higher up that his prayers would get to heaven quicker. Sometimes we are inclined to feel that way too. The higher up we are in church offices the closer, we suspect, we are to God. This may or may not be true, of course. The simple fact is that each of us is as close to God as we allow ourselves to be and we do need the prayers of others. In fact, we need all the help we can get!

A little girl prayed, “Please God make all bad people good and all good people kind.” Think about that for a moment. I am sure that good, decent people are not always as kind as they could be. No matter how busy Jesus was He always had a kind word or deed for those who needed help.


Another little girl, at the ripe old age of three, was over- heard to ask God to bless the devil. When she had finished her prayer her mother asked why she had prayed for the devil. In her childish language she answered, “Me is supposed to pray for the bad people too, and the devil is a bad people”. Often our faith is not big enough to pray about what we think is an unsolvable problem. I don’t think that God is going to bless the devil, but He is going to handle him in His own way.

A little boy went to church one Easter morning and noticed a rough cross in front of it. On the way home he told his parents that they had a cross in their backyard and pointed out the clothesline post. We all have our crosses to bear, but all too often we are so busy with this or that that we miss the cross in our own backyard. 

–Russell Wilkerson

What is Happiness?

March 18th, 2013 | Posted by David Brenneman in All Posts - (0 Comments)

Can things make us happy?

This month I thought I would ask King Solomon to write my article, so here is what he has to say, quoted directly from Ecclesiastes, Chapter 2, verses 1-11 (NIV).

1. I thought in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. 2. “Laughter,” I said, “is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?” 3. I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly — my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives. 4. I undertook great projects: I built houses for my- self and planted vineyards. 5. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well — the delights of the heart of man. 9. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. 10. I denied myself nothing my eyes de- sired; I refused my heart no plea- sure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. 11. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. 

Isn’t this just the way it is? We try to acquire money and things, but what do we have when our lives are over? — “Oh that we would look to Jesus for happiness and joy.” 

-Clair Hershey 

How We Got Our Name

March 8th, 2013 | Posted by David Brenneman in All Posts - (0 Comments)

Stuarts Draft, one of Augusta County’s oldest settlements, derives its name from the son of a British fugitive and a local geographic feature. Stuart was the family name of the offspring of a Scottish dissident who came to settle the area in the 1730’s after fleeing religious persecution in Britain. Archibald Stuart was a Scotch Presbyterian, living in Ireland with an Irish wife in the 1720’s, during the reign of King James I, a Catholic who took part in a movement to fight religious harassment in 1725. Ironically, Stuart was persecuted by the royal government for this act and fled Britain for the American Colonies, leaving his family in Ireland.
Settling in western Pennsylvania, Stuart found safe haven. When a general amnesty was declared for fugitives like Stuart seven years later in 1732, he sent for his family to join him in the new world. Promises of protection from Indian raids on the frontier by Virginia Governor William Gooch drew settlers like Stuart to Augusta County, which was created by an act of the Colony’s House of Burgesses in 1738, the same year Stuart arrived in the area. Two years earlier, William Beverley, one of the county’s founders, received a patent from Gooch for 118,491 acres in what had been part of Orange County and became Augusta County. Beverley sold parcels of his land to settlers like the Stuart family, which bought several hundred acres from him in the Stuarts Draft area, about three miles east of Tinkling Spring Presbyterian Church, near the intersection of U.S. 340 and Northgate Avenue, in what is now southwest Waynesboro. He helped build Tinkling Spring Presbyterian’s first meeting house in 1744.
Records in the Augusta County Courthouse indicate Thomas Stuart, Archibald’s son, obtained a deed for 353 acres in the Stuarts Draft area in 1749. He is acknowledged as Stuarts Draft’s founder. The name Stuarts Draft was first used nearly 100 years later in 1837, when a post office opened. The origin of the term Draft is disputed. Some authorities say the word describes the wide, flat plain adjacent to the South River, where several industries are now located, others say it refers to the narrow valley just north of the village. Others say it is because of the constant breeze blowing through the area. 

-Sue Hamilton 

One Master Piece of Nature

January 1st, 2013 | Posted by David Brenneman in All Posts - (0 Comments)


This month’s star is Geneva Beryl Wilson who is now celebrating her ninth decade of life. As we began our visit, we talked about her preference of the middle name, Beryl. Defined in the dictionary, Beryl is a transparent precious stone of either pale green or blue or yellow color. Beryl had heard that her name was in the Bible. With a quick search in Exodus, chapter 28, we read God’s directions for making priestly garments. Four rows of precious stones were to be mounted on the breast pieces worn by priests. A Beryl was to be on the first row along with a Ruby and a Topaz.


Beryl’s parents were Roland and Nell Cooke. She was born May 22, 1921, in Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, one of many places where her father was stationed during his 42 years of service in the U.S. Army. They lived in Atlanta, Georgia, and she recalled school days in Oahu, one of the Hawaiian Islands, with Dad stationed at Schofield Barracks. The family really enjoyed Dad’s assignment in the Panama Canal Zone with their home up the hill from the Canal in Quarry Heights. She completed her last two years of college at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. At Cornell she met Tom Wilson whom she married in November after their graduation in May, 1942.


Tom lived in upper New York State with family roots dating back to 1805. Beryl thought it was wonderful to live in one place for so long a time. Tom was an electrical engineer with General Electric Company and Beryl found herself making many moves with Tom’s transfers. They lived in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and long enough in New York for the arrival of their two children, Sharon and Charles. About 1955, Tom was transferred to Waynesboro where the family first rented a house on Maple Avenue. In time, they built a home above the golf course. Beryl loved this home and spoke of it as “my place”. After many years in Waynesboro, Tom had his last transfer to Binghamton, New York. When Tom retired, they returned to live in Waynesboro.


No doubt Beryl’s father passed his “travel gene” on to her. She has a long history of traveling. To admire and study birds, she has traveled to Arizona, Florida and Great Britain. Beryl and her daughter enjoyed their trip to Australia. Friends traveled with Beryl to Churchill, Canada for visiting the polar bears. One trip vividly described with priceless memories was the 15 days that Beryl and Tom traveled 666 nautical miles around the Galapagos Islands, Darwin’s enchanted islands. Before they left Ecuador, Tom stood at the Equator with one foot in the northern Hemisphere and his second foot in the Southern Hemisphere! From their home ship, they stepped each day into a panga, which is like a small motor boat, to explore the islands closely. Beryl has recorded this trip with a detailed diary and photographs galore of birds, animals, reptiles and plant life.


Early in 2003, Beryl and Tom stood with Rodney Martin, ankle deep in mud, to choose their home at Stuarts Draft Retirement Community. She is happy with “my house” and claims it as a lovely place to live. Beryl has multiple interests. She enjoys birding and is a member of the Augusta Bird Club. She finds butterflies fascinating and increased my interest with her gift of a glass bowl containing milk weed and a caterpillar for watching its growth into a chrysalis until the butterfly emerged. The butterfly was taken to the Center’s butterfly garden to find a home. Even today, we wonder where our butterfly might be flying. When the butterfly garden was designed, Beryl added many ideas. The plaque on the backside of the Skyline sign has Tom Wilson’s name, one of several residents memorialized after their deaths.


Beryl, Bunny Stein and Pat Freed shared their thoughts for beginning a village newsletter. Bunny told Rodney Martin their idea and he gave his cooperative permission. Their thoughts and diligent work resulted in the first issue of Village News, January, 2004. Through all its seven years, many residents have added their talents and abilities to the monthly newsletters which now appear on the Center’s website. Beryl, one of the editors, enjoys contributing to the newsletters and wants them as free of mistakes as possible.


Meet “Panda”, a Japanese Chin, who is Beryl’s beautiful dog, a gift from a niece. Beryl describes Panda as a lovely dog, great company, and somewhat independent. He and Beryl sneak out after midnight with a flashlight for his last run of the day. Beryl is a night owl with a late bedtime hour and a morning rise whenever she awakens.


For having lived 90 years, Beryl is grateful and fortunate for her good health, a close family, and relatives with long lives. She may not do much birding now, but she checks the computer for the  Augusta Bird Club’s current news and trips. She is a book junkie as is visible all around her home. She loves to read and spends hours with favorite books and magazines. Beryl shares this wisdom: “Make the best of wherever you are and enjoy all possibilities”. Her most precious memory is about Tom and their mutual love, his kindness and generosity. “He was a fine man.” 


At the beginning of this story, you were introduced to Beryl whose name is the same as a precious gem stone. As Beryl’s story ends, descriptive words by Ralph Waldo Emerson are recalled: “A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature”. Beryl Wilson is such a friend.


– Marian Posey

Miss Lilly White

June 29th, 2011 | Posted by David Brenneman in All Posts - (0 Comments)

Miss Lily White can be found at Skyline Terrace every afternoon in the sitting area staring out the door or stretched out on the rug with her head between her paws. She is a four legged resident that keeps guard alone or sometimes with her friend Cassandra. Like two sentinels, one on each side of the room they sit patiently for someone to come through the door.

Miss Lily White is a West High- land Terrier known as a Westie. She has long white hair, big black eyes and a black nose that twitches from side to side, trying to pick up a scent. The door opens and her tail begins to wag and paws lift off the floor. Maybe she will get a pat or a belly rub. She gives a quick bark to let the person know she is waiting. This time it is a belly rub and she sighs; “doggie heaven”. A quick sloppy kiss to say thank you.

She will stretch out, catch a quick snooze and wait for the next person. Come see the antics of this white bundle of joy.

– Betty L.