Charlene Cummings is a native to Alabama, having been born in Clanton near Birmingham on September 22, 1942. She never married, but really likes kids, so she did “lots of babysitting.” As far as her work life, she did “a little of this and a little of that.”
She used to visit Athens a lot, because her brother, David, was here. “He works part time for the Sheriff’s Department,” she said. When it came time for her to be in a place where she could get full time care, Athens Rehab and Senior Care was the perfect choice. She arrived about a month ago. The Activities staff at the facility told me that “Miss Charlene is a hoot,” and so I was really looking forward to getting to know her.
Her dad was a barber, and her mom stayed at home. She grew up as a Baptist, and also has been to Calvary Assembly in Decatur. We talked about times we had both been to Calvary Assembly for various events, and how much we enjoyed it.
I asked about her favorite song, and she thought for awhile before she said, “Reach Out And Touch The Lord As He Goes By.” I sang the one I thought she meant, and it turns out, it was indeed her favorite.
Here are the lyrics:
Reach out, and touch the Lord as He goes by
You’ll find He’s not too busy to hear your heart’s cry
He is passing by this moment, your needs to supply
Reach out, and touch the Lord as He goes by*
She really enjoyed baking, especially pies and cakes. “These days, though, I have a feeding tube, so I don’t get to taste anything,” she said. One of her favorite foods is banana pudding, and she loves the way food smells at the facility.
Speaking of Athens Rehab, she really likes the care she gets and says, “The people have been good to me.”
We moved on to favorites. As a child, besides the Bible, her favorite books were the Little House series. “I think I read them all,” she said, and I told her they had been some of my favorites as a kid, too. As an adult, she has really enjoyed reading Debbie McComber.
Her favorite color? “Purple.” That was also the color of the T-shirt she was wearing for our time together.
Favorite celebrities? Bob Hope and Minnie Pearl.
President? JFK. We talked about a day we will never forget, November 22nd, 1963.
The biggest change that has occurred in her life? “Rockets and Space.” To this day, she is still enthusiastic about everything that happened during the Space Race, especially here in our area.
Favorite Scripture? “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Jn 14
I asked her what her advice is for young people. “Trust in Christ. Don’t do alcohol or drugs, and be good.” Then I steered her in her wheelchair back to one of her favorite places in the facility. As we maneuvered down the hall, I bent down near her ear and sang “Reach Out And Touch The Lord…” I am glad that here in Athens, Alabama, we have a care facility where that would not be frowned upon.
*Words and music by Bill Harmon
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner