(Please bear with me. I do not excel at writing essays.)
Lady LaVerne is what I like to call her in my mind. Because she was a lady in the best sense. She exemplified grace and dignity. She was always courteous to others, no matter what their status. Wisdom was always in her speech, and her children will arise and call her blessed.
Witty is another name I'd use to describe Mrs. Rayburn. Her dry humor was constantly a source of amusement to many of us, I'm sure. One day I was astounded to hear her say, (I hope this doesn't sound inappropriate or distasteful, because she was such a lady) after she made a slight burp, "Well, must have been the beer!". It probably was her sublime intent to have me on the floor, rolling with uncontrollable laughter. Because she succeeded, not only that time, but many times. She could say anything, and not step away from the role of a dignified lady.
I have grown from Mrs. Rayburn's wisdom, wit, and steadiness of character. She had absolutely, the most even temperament of anyone I've had the pleasure of getting to know this intimately. I think I'm learning to not feel so sorry for myself, when I might otherwise indulge in lavish pity, because I never witnessed LaVerne taking such liberties.
Immensely grateful is how I would describe Mrs. Rayburn's prayers. Petitioning the Lord to aid us in being ever mindful of our blessings, and to be grateful to He from whom our blessings flow was a constant refrain. Her example of prayer, in its execution and content, called me into more reverence before God as we lifted our voices to Him. I hope to carry that mood with me always as I pray.
It most certainly goes without saying that LaVerne was an intelligent lady! She was not only an English major (and taught for a year), but was an avid reader of the classics, a connoisseur of opera, and an absolute "Bird Lady" (she said that in younger years, she would tuck a bird book into her house apron and carry it around during the day, so that when an interesting bird alighted near the house, she could quickly pull out her portable identifier and name the sweet creature).
As an English major, LaVerne knew the principles and etiquette of our language. She taught me, through example, the proper use of pronouns and the significance of diction.
Cleanliness and order were HIGH on Mrs. Rayburn's priority list, from linen closet sheets, folded so well, you could bounce a quarter on them, to such order in the pantry, that everything might have been alphabetized. Any speck of dirt on the floor might receive a cluck from LaVerne's tongue and a scowl.
Patience is the strongest character trait I would give Mrs. Rayburn. I saw this exemplified especially in my relationship with her. Not only did she accept my very clutter-filled disorganization, but she strove so graciously with my less-than-perfect temperament. Her overall manner toward me was so implicitly accepting, that I believe few have won me over, as did she.
Some particular special memories I have of her include: Seeing her eyes enjoy a blue sky (with her blue eyes), seeing her perfect contentment in eating a ready-made, microwaved dinner each night (most of us know how she loved to cook and entertain), letting me chose our Friday night movie - every Friday night, our reading together after dinner each evening, hearing the delight in her voice when she spoke of her grand children and great-grand children, and witnessing her fellowship with loved ones.
In a certain measure, Lady LaVerne's grace will never die. The impression she has left on us will (has) become a part of who we are in Christ. Oh, to fellowship with her in the Heavenly realms! The thought is so joyful and promises such fulfillment. I will practice her patience and wait for a sweet reunion at last.