Barbara Holley Has Died. We Called Her Grandma.

Where is your Camelot? And, if you can name the place, can you then say what made it Camelot?

Our Camelot was a dusty old company town in North Central Texas just south out of Dallas. One supposes you had to look hard through the cement dust to see the pennants unfurled, unfettered, flying in the sooty breeze.

Midlothian, Texas. What are the citizens most proud of in Midlothian? They claim the title Cement Capitol of Texas. Take that, Tyler, with all your roses.

Midlothian is the home of not one but two cement plants. Midlothian has the rock and God help the Downwinders.

And, for us, for the Rick Davis family, Midlothian is our Camelot. Ask any of our children where they are from and, even though none of them were born here (two in Cleburne, two in Big Spring) they will say, “I am from Midlothian.”

Now, they may squint and they may cough. This is how you know they are from Midlothian.

What made this place our Camelot? A church that could put up with my workaholic behaviors and my, well, sense of humor. They not only got me, they liked me.

And they loved Joan. And they loved my kids; most of them, most of the time. Where else could you take your kids where they grew up believing the Chief of Police was their other grandfather, the former Sheriff was their Lord High Protector and their church family mostly loved them most of the time?

Where could you take them where the little gray headed lady at the end of the hall in the Children’s Wing was everyone’s grandmother? That was Barbara Holley.

Now, do not think Barbara was a person so sweet honey would drip from her. I do not know how long she was married to the late, great Bill Holley, but anyone who could call him to heel was tougher than a Midlothian sand storm.

And we loved her. And she made the church a better church, the town a better town and, well, the world a better place.

One story, please. and I will stop.

Joan and I were at a wedding rehearsal dinner a couple of years ago. We had been gone from First Baptist Church for 18 years at that time. The young man we were marrying that weekend grew up in our town, in our church, in our little dusty Camelot.

His mother gave her speech at the dinner. She remembered how I strong armed her into joining the church all those years ago, before her son was even born. She remembered a lot about the church and all those years raising our kids together.

And, then, she paused. She teared up a bit before she continued.

“I really cannot remember her name, but there was this older lady who was the best Sunday School teacher a boy could ever know. She took my mischievous boy and loved him until he turned into a really good little boy. I can’t come up with her name but we all called her Grandma.”

Joan and I both yelled, “Barbara Holley!”

We did not have to ask. Our shout out was not a question. We knew the Queen Mother of the Children’s Ministry.

Barbara Holley.

Rest in peace, dear Grandma.

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