So, the snow seems to have subsided. I don't know how much we ended up with, but it's probably around a foot. Yesterday morning's commute was horrible and long, but the drive home was back to normal, save for a couple of slow, slippery turns. Same for this morning's commute. Jacob's Christmas program has been rescheduled for tonight, and today is my work Christmas party. Both of those things could put a crimp on my usual (and desperately needed) Thursday workout, but it's a small price to pay for two good events. So I guess it's a good day. Last night brought another unsuccessful and moderately frustrating Christmas shopping expedition, so that's got me a little down, but hopefully luck will be on our side by the weekend. Long story short, I am immensely grateful that the snow has stopped for now and we can get back to normal.
However, life won't ever be back to normal for one family. Remember how I posted the other day about how those stressful and snowy commutes just aren't safe, and I wonder why we push ourselves in Western New York to drive in that crap? A sobering confirmation of my fears popped up in the two days since I wrote that. On Tuesday morning in the midst of the miserable commute, there was an accident on 390, which is the road I travel every day. However, this accident was way south on 390, a good 30 minutes from the part I drive, around the section I drive when I'm coming back from a Geneseo visit. Seeing the accident, a man named Ken Parfitt and his grown son stopped their vehicle and got out to help. Assured that a tow truck was on the way, they headed back to their vehicle. Before Ken could get in, another car lost control and hit both him and his vehicle (with his son inside). Ken was seriously injured and yesterday morning, he passed away. He died helping someone he didn't even know. You won't be surprised to hear that he was a committed Christian. He left behind a wife and eight children.
Sad as this story is, it probably wouldn't have registered too much on my radar. However, when I heard his name reported yesterday following his death, it rang a bell. The more I read about his story, the more I realized I knew who this man was. Years ago when I was in college, the Parfitts attended Geneseo Baptist Church, now called Christ Community Church. They left at some point when I was still in college, most likely around the time that the church had a pastoral shake-up and a good portion of the church membership broke away. I'm not positive that's when they left, but the timing seems about right. Still, even during the short time that our attendance there overlapped, I vividly remember the family. They were hard to miss, actually. Every week, five little boys, well-dressed and well-behaved, sat quietly in church. Their mother was always dressed in a long dress. At one point, the church set up a program where families would host a college student for dinner. My suitemate Bridget ended up going to their house. Bridget had a vibrant personality, right down to her clothes and makeup. It was quite a contrast to the uber-conservative Parfitt family, no doubt. I remember her coming back from dinner, impressed but shocked by the boys...how well they behaved, how talented and intelligent they were for being so young. They could read, play music, and interact like young adults, all at a very young age. It was something Bridget had never experienced before, that's for sure. At one point Jamie Parfitt, the mom, became pregnant again. And imagine the joy when she had a little girl! The church certainly rejoiced for that one, I'm sure, and I remember seeing her in sweet little baby bonnets and dresses at church after that.
In the 10+ years since, I'd obviously lost track of them. They left the church, I graduated, but I still thought of them from time to time. Maybe it was a big family or one with lots of boys, or a family that you just knew was from a conservative Christian sect. Either way, they popped into my head from time to time. In the end I suppose they remind me of the Duggars--lots of kids (albeit more than half the amount), conservative with all the girls in dresses, musical, homeschooled, and ultimately, truly faithful to their God. It was only yesterday, when I started putting the pieces together, that I came to understand what became of that family. I also came to understand the legacy their father left behind, and the faith that will ultimately guide them through the toughest time in their lives. I have no idea what God's ultimate plan is with them, because this sequence of events seems unnecessarily harsh for such a devout group of His followers, but I have no doubt that He does have a plan for them. Ken Parfitt would have wanted it no other way. I pray that God blesses this family in amazing ways despite their loss, and that this experience does not steal the joy of Christmas from them for years to come. Only God knows.
To read more about this amazing man, here are a couple links. I especially recommend reading the Bob Lonsberry one. I normally don't care for him, but this is a truly amazing story.
I said it once and I'll say it again...Just because we Western New Yorkers can drive in snow does not mean that we should drive in snow. Stay safe, everyone.