Remembering Doug Grubbs (1929-2011)
By Terri Burton
Most of all I
remember his voice. He sat in the back of our church and I sat across the aisle
from him. Every Sunday the whole congregation prayed the Lord’s Prayer aloud.
Each Sunday I heard this male voice, just a bit louder than all the other men
and just about one-half beat off from the unison. The voice was connected to
the prayer in a way that was different from the rest of us. My first thought
was that he personally knew whom he was speaking to and was not on rote.
Finally, my curiosity got the best of me one Sunday and during prayer I opened
my eyes to see who this unique voice belonged to. Later I found out that it
was Doug Grubbs.
Months passed, perhaps a year or more and then he came
over to me before church started. He looked me straight in the eye for a moment
before speaking. With his finger pointed at my face he asked, “Are you the
woman that tells stories?” Immediately I was a child again with my mother
asking if it was the truth or did I make up a “story”?. I said nothing. I was
stunned trying to figure out what he could be talking about. He asked again,
“Well, are you or not? You know the woman that tells stories in the paper?”
Ahh, the articles for the church newsletter. I answered, “I am”. And still
pointing at me, he said “You’re good, really good. I read them every time. Do
you know what makes them good? They are from your heart. Do you know how I
know they’re from your heart? They touch my heart!” as he started beating his
fist on his chest.
“Don’t you ever stop, you hear? The world needs
your stories, I need your stories.” Very quickly he turned and walked away. I
told him “Thank you. Thank you.” as he left me. He may have been embarrassed
by my tears but I believe he knew he had just given me a gift.
him, I miss his voice, his heart.