Angie Long. The name itself puts a smile on my face. When my family moved to Juneau, in 1957, and began worshipping with the small church of Christ, located in the little white building on Glacier Avenue, Angie was my first Sunday school teacher. Angie was a story-teller like none other. We sat in her little cubby-hole of a classroom (actually, a changing room for baptisms) and listened to Bible stories pour out of her. She didn’t use visual aids or teachers’ manuals. We didn’t do crafts. But we were spellbound by the stories of David, Moses and Joshua; Peter, Paul and, of course, Jesus that she brought to life for us. The visual aid that she did provide for us was a walking, talking, hugging model of the love that is spoken of in I Corinthians 13.
Not only did Angie tell Bible stories, but she had an unmatched talent for performing “recitations.” I remember giggling during church talent shows, as Angie entertained us with long, humorous, dramatic poetic narratives, memorized when she had been a child in school, and still fresh in her mind, decades later.
Angie was famous for her baking. A potluck meal, in Juneau, wasn’t a meal at all without Angie’s lemon meringue and chocolate cream pies. Although most of Angie’s famous recipes were kept in her head, she was always willing to write them down for someone else. My recipe box contains several cards with recipes gleaned from Angie. One of my favorites was her chocolate sheet cake, which is a hit whenever and wherever I serve it. Dan and I remember going to the home of Angie and Maurice (her devoted husband) for dinner one evening. The meal was one of the most delicious ones I think I’ve ever eaten, and then came dessert. She offered us a choice of three kinds of pies that she had baked that day. Having trouble deciding which one we wanted, she solved the problem. “I’ll bring you some of each!”
Although Angie was famous for her story-telling and her baking, what I remember most about Angie was her smile. I can’t even picture Angie, in my mind, without that smile. She smiled when she spoke, she smiled when she listened, she smiled when she worked, and she smiled when she sang. And sing she did! Her clear, strong harmony was a signature element of the Juneau church’s congregational singing.
Angie passed on to her reward, yesterday, after a long and difficult spell of ill health, which left her, I’m sure, longing for Home, where she’ll be harmonizing with that mighty chorus and smiling into the face of Jesus.