As members of our church council, Adam Drake and I volunteered to look into a gift for Jean Peppard; good and faithful Jean who has been one of the organists at Immanuel Lutheran in Grand Forks for 43 years.
It called for a very special gift and we found it — in Tulsa, Okla.
Jean has three sisters who also are members of Immanuel: Ruth Mattson, Doris Jensen and Irene Anderson. We consulted them and they gave us a great idea.
Five years ago these siblings plus two more, purchased a picture at the Christian Bookshelf in Grand Forks for Doris when her 50-year-old daughter, Wendy, died in a tragic lawn mower accident in Hallock, Minn. The picture was given to Doris as a keepsake in lieu of funeral flowers.
Divided into three segments, the picture is of sheep resting and grazing in green pastures on each side of the 23rd Psalm from the New Living Translation. This translation with those images makes for beauty beyond belief. When it was given to Doris, the rest of her siblings recalled how much Jean loved it as well.
So, off we were on a mission to find that picture.
The Christian Bookshelf no longer carried it so I went to Doris’ house, took hers down from the wall and there on the back was the name of the maker complete with phone number and item number.
The sticker said, “Carpentree, Tulsa, Okla.” I learned Carpentree has been producing Christian artwork and inspirational gifts since 1976.
But alas, I was told by a woman named Paula, that Carpentree had discontinued this particular picture.
I must have sounded pretty disappointed because she said, “Hold on. Let me check to see if we could make that up special for you.”
My hopes soared!
Paula was back on the line in no time with good news: Yes, they would make one especially for our special Jean.
I placed the order on March 26 and Carpentree shipped it the next day.
In the meantime, I stopped at Signature Jewelers in East Grand Forks, owned by Nancy Eklund, to order a nameplate. What a beautiful job her engraver, Todd Radermacher, did on this message:
Jean Peppard – In appreciation for 43 years of dedicated service to Immanuel Congregation as a cherished organist.
We presented the gift to Jean on Palm Sunday morning. She was moved nearly to tears.
Sometimes things must go like clockwork – and sometimes they do!
It takes so many people to make a world – and as it turns out, our little corner extends all the way to Tulsa.