May-Beth Friday Rankin
On Thursday, October 17, 2019, May-Beth Friday Rankin, loving mother and grand-mother, passed peacefully in her sleep at the age of 94. May-Beth was born on February 4, 1925 in Dallas, N.C. to Edgar Franklin Friday Sr. and Georgia Shelton Friday. She was working with Southern Bell Telephone when she met and married William Thomas Rankin, jr. of Gastonia, N.C. in 1946 and they remained married for 65 years until his death in 2011. May-Beth is predeceased by her parents, and her siblings; Gray, E.F. Jr., Joe and Helen Cloninger. While living in Dallas, Tom and May-Beth had two daughters, Laura (Johnnie) and Mary Call (Michael) and also provided love and care to their various nieces and nephews, most of whom have remained faithfully in touch throughout the years. She leaves behind two grand-daughters, Katie and Haley, both of whom she loved equally and without conditions and who are both fantastically very much like her.
Now, I want to write a story my mom deserves so here goes;
May-Beth Friday Rankin departed this world on October 17, 2019, and tap danced her way into heaven and the loving arms of her husband, Tom and then linked arms with her sweet family who we know were all there waiting to be reunited once more. I have to add that she always spoke of her vision of heaven being a beautiful river with white lilies all along the bank. If my mom says it, then it is true.
She had no real plan on leaving at this time so it came as quite a shock because she had been in this position before, even spending 6 months in hospice care 2 years ago and coming out the other side with improved health. How many people can say that? I’m thinking not a whole lot.
She was a professional caregiver and CNA during her life and even these last few years you could find her helping others and lending a hand, many times to people younger and stronger than she was. I always felt it was wise to not mention those facts to her. But when I did slip up I received a look that could send a chill down your spine!
She was known for never meeting a stranger. Every time we went to Publix she would eventually end up sitting at the front by the coffee stand. Each time I stepped into the check- out line to pay, there would be my mother, surrounded by people she didn’t know, laughing and talking and becoming her friends. I am not exaggerating. I have heard the same story about her father, my grand-father, having that exact personality. I love it and I know it just came so naturally to her.
While living in Orlando for over 34 years, my mom came to know and love many friends and always welcomed the College Park group into our home. She would make impromptu pizza for everyone and if we were really lucky and the season was right, she would carve out watermelon teeth and entertain us with pure silliness. She loved the “kids” from our Dubsdread neighborhood.. Diana Carlander, Adrienne Kazarian, the Walters, the Kuges, Jody Wright, Greg Lee, Janice Hodges, Tracy Demoss...we had a great neighborhood full of a variety of people and she loved them all.
With the passage of the years, my mom pretty much out-lived her friends, but she continued to make new ones along the way. After my father died she became friends with sweet and spunky Shirley, a lady living on the same floor as my mom. My daughter Haley introduced them and they would have coffee in the morning and then continue with a glass of sweet wine in the evening. Shirley beat my mom to that lily lined river but I’m sure they are together again.
Another friend to my mom, Susan, sent a sweet message to me the other day about how she loved my mom’s personality, always laughing and being bad and told me how one time my mom had a ring on her finger and Susan remarked that she liked it. My mom took it off and gave it to Susan without a second thought. She always called Susan “my good friend.”
My mom has a favorite hairdresser, Beverly Drury, who would come to the condo bearing ginger ale and champagne for a ladies evening of laughing and gossiping. I know my mom shared everything with Beverly and true to the hairdressers oath, Beverly keeps pretty mum on conversations (Thank God). Oh, and my mom had a special place in her heart for Handsome Sam Drury, who sadly was already married to Beverly.
My family and I brought my parents to Key West many times for our summer vacations. On one trip my mom called me to the backyard at sunset and pointed out to me that the roosters were gathering the hens into the trees to roost. We had been taking this trip for a long time but I never noticed this taking place. I now take time to enjoy this little ritual each year thanks to my mom.
I have spent the better part of the last 9 years caring for my mom and have so many memories...a few times were difficult but all in all I was privileged to have her feel that she could depend on me to do my best for her.
Her favorite things to cook or bake:
Chicken and dumplings, pot roast, pineapple upside down cake, caramel cake, corn bread (never sweet), fudge, squash casserole, meat loaf, oatmeal cookies for Michael, some confectionary she would make with peanut butter rolled up into pinwheels and sprinkled with sugar.
Her passions were playing the piano or keyboard, her collection of harmonicas, gardening, and shopping estate sales and thrift stores, looking for treasures to bring home and enjoy.
In her memory please give generously to any group/charity/organization that believes in loving your fellow man and showing kindness to those less fortunate.
I am thankful for the kindness and support I received from John Allen of Giddens-Reed Funeral Home in Baldwin, Florida, 904-266-2337 (www.giddensreedfh.com)
I am planning to have a celebration of my mother’s life at my home in December. I will provide more details soon.
The Lord God Planted a Garden
By Dorothy Frances Gurney (1858-1932)
THE Lord God planted a garden
In the first white days of the world,
And He set there an angel warden
In a garment of light enfurled.
So near to the peace of Heaven,
That the hawk might nest with the wren,
For there in the cool of the even
God walked with the first of men.
And I dream that these garden closes
With their shade and their sun-flecked sod
And their lilies and bowers of roses,
Were laid by the hand of God.
The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth, –
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
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