Through the years Opal and Gertrude remained close friends. They grew up on farms whose acreage backed up to each other. There was a small creek with a bridge in between. Mother spoke fondly of the times they would plan to meet at that bridge. I am sure Gertrude was at a party Mother went to when she was a teenager. She told how she had such a good time she was late coming home and as she tip toed down the long front hall of their big white house on the hill in Bullard, she kicked a washpan that had been set outside a bedroom door and woke everyone. Gertrude shined her patent shoes like Mother did, by rubbing a cold biscuit over the toes!
Both were strong women whose faith was apparent in the way they lived life in their communities, raised their families,and served in their churches. Gertrude was an active member of First Baptist Church Bullard.Opal was a longtime member of First Baptist Church Jacksonville. Both were married for over 50 years. Howard Teal died in 1982. Herod Bickerstaff died in 1987. So both women were widows for many years.
Gertrude was born August 30, 1913 lived in Bullard all her life and died in Jacksonville (less than 15 miles away) on April 15, 2002 after a couageous battle with cancer. Opal was born October 20, 1913, lived all but 2 years of her life within a 15 mile radius of her childhood home, and finally left her home in Jacksonville when we moved her near us the same year Gertrude died, 2002. Often in those last few years, she would tell me she was ready to "go Home." On that night, September 21, 2006, as I grieved her loss, I smiled through tears and said,
"She is meeting Gertrude at the bridge."