By Paula Mitchell
A surrogate mother to many young Navy families who missed their home, a “go to” person, hairdresser, medical advisor, and chauffeur to those in her community were all character traits of Verla Puffenbarger. She will be missed by every life she touched. She was born Aug. 31, 1942, in Harlan County, Kentucky, the last living member of eight children born to the late Bernard and Minnie Long. (Her older brother was missing in action during World War 11). Prior to moving to Alexandria, Virginia Verla was a nurses’ aide whilst living in Kentucky.
She worked at the Lunch Box Restaurant, owned by Harlan (Puff) and Bert (Jim) Puffenbarger in Arlington, Virginia. She met K.D. (who happened to be the nephew of Harlan and Jim) following his hospital stay, and soon after, they married on Sept. 25, 1964. Her grandmother needed care, so they moved to her Kentucky home, staying there until her grandmother went into a nursing home.
Their move to Bridgewater, Virginia, was short, after which they moved and settled in Stoney Run. It was quite an adjustment for Verla, as she wondered at that time what kind of a place K.D. had them living in. However, it wasn’t long before Verla made herself at home. Her Kentucky family loved to come and visit. She worked at the Brandywine Restaurant with “Dutch” Peer and had a brief stint working at Hanover Shoe, before becoming a “stay at home” mom. She and K.D. had three children, followed in time, with grandchildren. They were all very dear to her as she showed this time and time again by playing with them and keeping them active and happy, with her creativity.
She loved the times she could enjoy the beach. Her last visit to the Outer Banks, North Carolina, with her family was June of 2022. Verla was able to get down to the shore line and played lots of games amidst her little giggle. Lots of memories were made.
Although Verla was a very private person, she continually welcomed all her neighbors and friends. This continued even though she was dealing with a lot of medical and health issues during the last years. One of her favorite hymns was Amazing Grace, written by John Newton:
“When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.
Amazing grace!—how sweet the sound—that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”
Sympathy is extended to K.D., Danita, Beth, and Kenny and their extended families.
Life’s little lessons to help make one’s day better include the following:
- Always, always send a thank you note for gifts received.
- What one has to do, do wholeheartedly.
- Seek respect rather than popularity.
- Finish projects before they are due.
- Cut one’s toenails in private.
- Spoil one’s wife, not one’s children.
Thursday’s temperatures were in the 70s, but by Saturday they had dipped down to the 30s. The peepers have been crooning their song telling the reader that spring is around the corner. The snow drops continue to burst forth their showy, white attire, and a few robins have been sighted. But, the temperatures indicate that winter is not over! Saturday morning began with rain, followed by a sleet/snow mixture. Sunday morning temperatures indicated that winter is definitely not over!
Friday found a large sun dog in the sky. Many robins have been sighted, but as Gernon Hoover told his wife, Myrtle, they may as well pack their suitcase and head out. The winds have been quite ferocious, bringing in “loveliness” of ladybugs.
Quotes for the week are as follows:
“It is easier to do a job right than explain why you didn’t.” — Martin Van Buren
“Whenever you do a thing…ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you.” — Thomas Jefferson
“I have one life and one chance to make it count for something…my faith demands that I do whatever I can wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.” — Jimmy Carter
Brandywine Elementary School had several winners at the county level, for the Young Writers. They are as follows:
Grade 1 and 2 — “The Princess and the Crazy Frog” by Aubrey Pitsenbarger, first place; and “Ally” by Bethany Teagarden, second place;
Grade 3 and 4 — “Over the Ridge” by Addison Williams, third place; and
Grade 5 and 6 — “The Book of Lessons” by Ava Bowers, second place.
Congratulations to all the winners!
It is back by the fireplace to hear the “Talk of the Grove.”
Helen and Rhonda Nash were delighted to have a recent weekend visit from granddaughter/niece, Myah Hidalgo, and friend, Vadim Barnakov, both of Richmond, Virginia. They enjoyed finally exchanging Christmas gifts and a highlight for Myah was Linda Rexrode’s maple donuts. She also had been looking forward to introducing Vadim to her mamaw’s biscuits and chocolate gravy, which was a big hit.
Marleta Wimer was a visitor of her mother, Rosalee Grogg, this week.
Bob and Brenda Fisher enjoyed their Friday luncheon at Traditions Restaurant with Thelma Puffenbarger and Carolyn Wilfong of Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Visitors of Evelyn Varner on Sunday were Wanda Pitsenbarger and Joyce and Richard Marshall of McGaheysville, Virginia.
Shaun, Ava and Leslie Bowers spent the weekend in Thomas. They went tubing at Canaan.
This week’s clickety-clacks for the chin waggers are as follows:
- The Liberty Bell was actually made in England.
- Crocodiles cry when they eat.
- The Hawaiian language has only 12 letters.
- The cassowary bird cannot fly, but can run at speeds up to 30 mph.
- The largest jigsaw puzzle ever made was the size of a small billboard and had 10,000 pieces.
March birthdays include Tim Hoover, Ben Puffenbarger, Bradley Wilfong, and Leslie Bowers, second; Chris Lambert, third; Judy Grimm and Joy Bennett, fourth; Ruth Warner, Myrtle Mauzy, and Gail Wright-Wilson, fifth; Teresa Hott and Tina Eye, sixth; Myrtle Pitsenbarger, Linda Rexrode and Garrett Lambert, seventh; Hendrix Bogan and Alvin Pratt, eighth; Marsha Nelson, ninth; Willy Rader, Emily Kobetic, Ann Wimer and Pam Waggy, 10th; Robert Lambert, Ryan Sponaugle, Jason Rexrode, Eugene Varner and Diane Sue Pennybacker, 11th; Jeff Bowers and Carolyn Thompson, 12th; Linda Mallow, Anthony Bowers and Leah Caplinger, 14th; and Wanda Pitsenbarger, Krista Owens, April Simmons and Chloe Simmons, 15th.
Concerns for this week are many, and they are as follows: Roger and Joan Ashley, Mercedes Aumann, Vernon “Fuzzy” Baldwin, Nathan Beachler, Lynn Beatty, Rose Brackman, Jed Conrad, the Anna Cupp family, Mia Felici, Donna Fleisher, Ron Gilkerson, Lola Graham, Marvin Hartman, Steve and Armanda Heavner, the Rheba Helmick family, Gary and Jackie Hills, Virgil Homan, Jr., Myrtle Hoover, Debbie Horst, Anna Gae Hughes, Alice Johnson, Dennis Kincaid, Kim Kline, Richard Judy, Melissa Lambert, Robert Lambert, Rex Landis, Angela Lung, Linda Malcolm, Betty Mallow, Roger and Skip Mallow, Neil McLaughlin, Jamie Mitchell, Melvin Moats, Aaron Nelson, Ruth Nelson, Don Nilsen, Cheryl Paine, Sutton Parrack, Shirley Pratt, Kathy Propst, Linda Propst, Mike Propst, Stanley Propst, Sheldon Propst, K.D. Puffenbarger, the Verla Puffenbarger family, Gary Rexrode, Jason Rexrode, Jimmy Rexrode, Robbie Sites, Ona Smith, Sandra Vandevander, Pam Rexrode, Max Rodriguez, Donna Ruddle, Annie Simmons, Barry and Phyllis Simmons, Davey Simmons, Margaret Wimer, people in Ukraine and Yemen, earthquake victims in Turkey and victims of East Palestine, Ohio.
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