Elizabeth—it’s your birthday and I raise a toast to you. You’ll kill me for blabbing it out—but when you turn 89 that’s quite an accomplishment. As you know you are one of my fav-o-rite people.
We began our friendship journey back in 1975 when I became your Pastor. From the very beginning you stood out. Well—you always stood out. You were a whirl-wind at church and just about everywhere else. Whenever I wanted anything done I called Liz. And then got out of the way.
You were married to Ed and you all had a great love affair. You were about as different as two people could be—left brained and right brained. An Engineer and an Artist. But you made it work and had a great marriage and had three kids—Shelley, Dale and Jed. We drove a long way to get back to Ed’s funeral because we loved him as much as you. It was a hard time for you to say goodbye. He died much too soon.
But you kept going. You taught art in the High School here to a zillion kids. You inspired my own son who learned so much from you. I wonder how many there are out there whose lives have been touched by you. Many, many. You give teacher and art a good name. You were elected the South Carolina Teacher of the Year—an honor that is about unheard of for an artist. Usually it went to Mathematics or English. Your paintings have gone everywhere. I can spot your work a mile off—I recognize your distinct style. And your work is good—very good.
You never stopped. Still haven't.You built a new house in a wooded area with lots of light in your eighties! A couple of months ago I asked you if you had been sick and you said, “No I flew up to New York to attend a conference.” Pretty good for an 88 year old—but that’s only in body.
You called me one day and said you were getting married and wanted me and my wife to come. I asked, you, “Liz, are you sure about this?” And in your wonderful Southern drawl you said, “Of course.” And that was that. Well—it was a wonderful wedding. You and your new husband Morris. He has been remarkable in his own right. When he retired at 65 from being Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences he went back to law school and practiced until his nineties. You all have had some wonderful years. And though Morris health has slipped you all are very much in love.
So I stop what I am doing and remember all the good times we have had and all the wonderful things I have observed in you. You’ve made life richer for so many of us. Tonight some of us will gather at a restaurant and lift up a glass to a very great lady. Happy Birthday, dear Liz—and I’ll say it once more: you are one of my favorite people.