Remembering Hazel – Open Heart Story

Story By Cynthia Lee De Boer

I joked with Hazel once, saying her name was perfect because she was enjoyable, and a little bit nutty.  She loved it.  Hazel was always so candid and I loved her for that, and her wonderful sense of adventure.

One year long ago, there was a Halloween Party held at our church.  We had games, prizes and entertainment.  My daughter, Tia came to demonstrate and teach a few Belly dance moves. Well, Hazel (then in her late 60’s) was right in there.  She said she hadn’t moved like that in years and was sure she wouldn’t be able to get out of bed the following morning.  But to her, it was worth it!

Later, when I became engaged to my second husband, a bridal shower was held in my honor.  During the party each lady offered a tip to a happy marriage.  Hazel guaranteed success with her tip. She proudly advised with a smile, “ When you want something you’re not sure your husband will agree with, ask him when he’s watching television.  When he argues that he doesn’t remember agreeing — say yes you did, you were sitting right in that chair!”

And yes, I have to admit she was right, it works like a charm!

Dann and I decided to get married at a “Picnic In The Park”.  We wanted to invite our friends and surprise them with our wedding ceremony — no gifts — no fuss.  Just good food, fun and games.  A three-legged race, watermelon seed spitting contest and water balloon toss with fun little prizes were planned.  But soon the proverbial “Cat was out of the bag!”

Our friends ask my soon to be, father-in-law what we would like for a wedding gift.  He told everyone to get us a toaster.  He was joking, because in reality we were joining two households and really didn’t need anything.  Still, several of our friends took his advice to heart and we received several toasters as wedding gifts.  Some new and some used from the church’s rummage sale as gag gifts!

But Hazel’s gift stood out — It was beautiful, a gorgeous gift bag with tons of flowing colorful ribbons and a beautiful card.  Inside was a toaster.  Now this wasn’t any ordinary toaster.  No, it was truly special!  It’s cord had been cut off and the top was stained from decades of use.  It proudly displayed a $1.00 price tag penned on a torn piece of masking tape, and was so full of burnt breadcrumbs that even the slightest movement caused an avalanche of crumbs celebrating its toasting days like confetti at a parade.  Everyone roared with laughter at this little beauty, while Hazel proudly displayed a sneaky little grin.  What a wonderful treat!

To say this wonderful woman brightened our world is an understatement.  Hazel will forever be missed and always remembered with a smile!

Author’s Note:  Remembering the special people in our lives keeps them alive.  Please take a moment to reflect on the wonderful people that have touched your life, as you read about the joys Hazel brought to mine.  The photograph was taken by me in Sydney, and is fitting for Hazel and her love of flowers!

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