ok, where was i?
oh yes, grandma and grandpa...
here's an interesting portrayal of a beautiful story as i have understood and put together details i've heard over the years......and as always, if my parents find that i have inadvertently falsified anything, they will let me know, and i will make corrections.
My Grandpa Barker wasn't actually from the small town of Fairview. In fact, the genealogy of that part of the family is very difficult to decipher. We've figured out that he was from Ohio, and we know that town, and we know his dad's name, but after that, some things are kind of weird and hard to understand----------but i digress....
...Grandpa Barker wasn't actually Mennonite either. The entire town of Fairview in those days (and largely in these days) was Mennonite. Or if not Mennonite they were the stricter version of Amish (you know the folks up north in horses and buggies? those are my cousins.) I don't really know the timeline of Grandpa's salvation, etc., but i do know that he loved the Lord and that he had a very clear encounter with the Lord. When he first got saved, i'm told, he was addicted to cigarrettes, and he prayed to the Lord and asked the Lord to remove from him whatever displeased Him. And that very night, as my grandfather slept, he sweated very badly, and when he awoke, his sheets were yellow. He had sweated out the nicotine, and he was delivered from his addiction and no longer smoked....just like that.
Later in Grandpa's life, when he lived in Fairview, the Lord gave him a vision or a dream, and it was one that he felt he should share with the church. I don't know whether the pastor ever let him share it, but as i understand it was not well received...and apparently some word of it spread because my dad remembers people who called Grandpa "Crazy Barker," apparently (in our minds) relating to this. I've never met Grandpa. He died when my dad was only 16 years old, and my dad's younger brother, Alvin, was only eight. But every time i've heard any of my dad's siblings speak of him, it is with great love and admiration, as he was a man who loved the Lord.
One such story, my dad has told often (and always with eyes full of tears) is as follows. This version is written by my mom, as told by my dad....
'Daddy's story: When he was about 13, I think, his big brother, who was his hero, treated him badly and he thought: 'If Johnny doesn't think I'm any good I might as well do away with myself." He went up into the hayloft, got a rope, and when he was about ready to do the job his sisters came in and caught him. They of course ran to the house to 'tell Papa'. So he thought," now I don't have to, Papa is going to do it for me." He went up to his room expecting to hear Papa call him. And soon he heard Papa's voice:"David, come down here!"
And he slowly came down the stairs expecting the worst. Papa reached out his hand, but instead of taking his head off he gathered him in his arms and wept. And he said: "Son, don't you know I love you?"'
And thus my grandfather left a legacy of a good and Godly father and one who loved the Lord.
When Grandpa died, he had been unconscious for some time (weeks i think) after having had a stroke. The story my dad told me is of one day when Grandpa woke up from his sleep but didn't acknowledge anyone in the room. He looked straight ahead to the end of his bed and sat up--still looking straight ahead. With great joy, Grandpa exclaimed, "Jesus!," and momentarily went back to sleep.
That was the last time anyone on this earth heard Grandpa speak. He never woke up again, and we believe that moment was the moment that his spirit actually left this earth to be with Jesus. His body finally acknowledged his passing some time later.