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Arnold Dyre
 
Commentary by Arnold Dyre
Good friend gone to claim her reward

   I have previously written about our good friends, Mike and Julie O’Brien. Earlier this year, Mike’s mother, Annie Marie Owens, left us just a short time before what would have been her 93rd birthday.
   Beverly and I never knew Mike’s father nor his stepfather, Mr. Owens, but we surely knew Mrs. Owens. Living on the backside of Percy Quin State Park, Mrs. Owens was resourceful and independent. Since she lived in her home before construction of the park and because the road to her house existed before the park, Mrs. Owens was not displaced when the park was created. The Park Rangers served as her own private security guards. At the park’s entrance, we only had to advise that we were visiting Mrs. Owens in order to be waved on through. On the way out, it was usually necessary to stop to give the guards something that Mrs. Owens had cooked for them.

An Expert Cook
   Mrs. Owens was a wonderful, charming, very social lady, and she was a fantastic cook. She particularly loved trying new recipes. Belonging for many years to a ‘luncheon club’ where she and other ladies enjoyed things they prepared themselves and where they shared new recipes, Mrs. Owens had the ability to be able to tell if something would be enjoyable just by reading the recipe.
   Mike is also a great cook, and Beverly and I have been often treated to something new that Mike has prepared. We ask if he got the recipe from his mother and, more frequently than not, he has. Mrs. Owens loved to look at things from magazines like Southern Living and, then, tell Mike what to do to create a culinary masterpiece.
   When Mrs. Owens was no longer able to stand on her feet long enough to cook, she became very accomplished in telling Mike how to prepare the foods that she wanted prepared. Beverly and I loved being invited over when Mrs. Owens was visiting Mike and Julie. Armed with a good knife, Mrs. Owens would do the chopping while she talked endlessly about the recipe ingredients and gave precise instruction in every aspect of the food preparation. Mere weeks before her death, we were treated to a delicious brunch prepared by Mike with Mrs. Owens calling the shots and doing the chopping. Mrs. Owens always did the chopping!

Opinionated Cook
   Even though she loved trying new recipes, Mrs. Owens did not forget the old ones. One morning while Beverly and I were there, Mike made a beautiful lemon meringue pie. It looked good, smelled good and tasted good!  Complimenting Mike on his efforts, Mrs. Owens said that the pie was good, but she declared that it was not as good as her own original recipe. Straightaway, she told Mike exactly what to do and she proved it!
   Mrs. Owens’ talents were not confined to the kitchen. She loved growing flowers. For many years active in the garden club of her small town, Mrs. Owens kept up with new plant varieties coming out every season. She had stacks of seed catalogs and gardening magazines and would pour over them for hours to find things she was interested in and wanted to try, even if it required a special order. Her yard was something to see!  
   When no longer able to get on her knees to work in the dirt, Mrs. Owens enlisted the help of her sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren and continued to grow and nurture her plants. When she wore out kinfolk, Mrs. Owens put a yardman to work and never missed a beat!
   To the very end, Mrs. Owens loved getting out and seeing what was going on in the world. The last time we visited Mike’s mother, she handed Beverly an advertisement from a local department store and said, “We should have thought about it earlier. We could have gone and checked this out.”
   Never stuck in the past, our dear Annie Marie Owens was always looking to the future. Gone on now to her reward, Mrs. Owens continues to inspire us.
adyre@comcast.net


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