A tribute to beautiful lady of Milton

January 2, 2014

I am so sorry that I did not speak at Gladys Wilkins' funeral Sunday. It was not like me. Maybe it was because only one person came forward, or perhaps I was too close, meaning, I have lived next door to Short's Funeral Home for 25 years. The fact is I did not. I had my notes all ready; “The Poem” typed out, and still I just sat there. Well Gladys, this is what I was going to say:

I want to share a long kept secret with the good people of Milton. This is a lovingly well-kept secret, “I was Gladys' “other” hairdresser;  sorry John. Every year at the fundraiser for the Milton Historical Society at Salon Milton, Gladys would be the first one in my chair for a “new” look!! She said it empowered her 50-50. At any rate, we dearly loved each other.

One breezy autumn afternoon several years ago, I was coming into Milton on Cave Neck Road, and just passing “Gladys Wilkins Lane” (hopefully to be called one day). I saw Gladys hanging out her laundry to dry. Made a quick U-turn and drove to her clothes lines. As I was holding sheets for her to pin with wooden pegs, she asked "Why are you so dressed-up? I explained that I had just come from Christ Church in Wilmington and had read a poem at the funeral of Jane Stalzer. Gladys asked “What poem?” I replied, “It was Tennyson’s “Crossing the Bar.” She responded, “ I love that poem!”

Still I sat frozen in my seat. Gladys, it is not too late, Here is your poem from Alfred Lord Tennyson:

Sunset : and evening star,

And one clear call or me,

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea.

But such a tide as moving, seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam.

When that which drew from out, the boundless deep,

turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell, and after that, the dark,

And may there be no sadness of farewell.

When I embark.

For tho’ from out, our bourne of time and place, the

The flood may bear me far

I hope to see My Pilot face to face. When I have crost the bar.

Sail on, beautiful lady of Milton!

Roi Barnard

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