I Remember Oda

by Polly Fuller Griffin

My sister-in-law, Oda Willis Fuller, died this past summer. Whenever someone I love passes, I start thinking about that person and the events we shared. And so it was with Oda. Since Oda married my brother, Arvil Fuller, before I was born, I never knew a time when there wasn't Oda in my life. Today life seems very empty in knowing that she is no longer there. While I could write about many things in remembrance of Oda, I want to share one very special event with you.

I grew up in a deeply religious family. My parents were not "talkers" of religion. Instead they were "doers." To this day I still hear stories about how they touched the lives of others in so many ways. Today, many years after their deaths, people are still relating stories of the good things they did.

As an adult, I have a great appreciation for my parents. I treasure their memories and their influences that taught me to care for others. However, as a child, not everything they did pleased me. For one thing they did not celebrate Christmas with giftgiving, etc.!!! Christmas came and went at our house with very little said and done. I knew what other children were getting for Christmas and could feel the pain when I got nothing.

One time, it was Christmas eve and I went to spend the night at Oda's and Arvil's house. Oda had a large Christmas planned for her family. There was a decorated tree with many beautifully wrapped gifts for the family under it.

The time came for distributing the gifts. She passed out several gifts for each child. It was a very happy and joyous time!! After the gifts were passed, Oda came over to me. She said she had a gift for me. I was totally surprised!! This was the first Christmas present that I can ever remember receiving in my entire life!! I was overjoyed!! I decided then and there that I would also spend next Christmas eve with them because I knew that Oda would have another gift for me!!!