I BLEED MAROON
Once upon a time I was afraid of public speaking— then I met Christine Holcombe. Actually, she was just “Chris” to most of us. She was an extension agent, a mentor and a friend to many youth of Milam County for 35 years, including myself.
After nearly a decade long battle with cancer, we said goodbye to Chris this week. She went on her own terms and like Chris, even had every detail of her funeral planned out.
During her funeral on Monday I got to see a lot of faces I had grown up with, they looked a little older...I felt a little older.
Feeling a little older means you’ve lived a little. Chris lived, and loved, a lot. As the Milam County 4-H agent for over three decades she planted many seeds in hundreds of youth in the area with what she called “opportunities” she had for them, myself included.
It was noted at her funeral that Chris helped youth from our area receive around $865,000 in scholarships, from just the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo alone.
I first met Chris when I was in eighth grade. I became a member of the Gause 4-H Club after my aunt Wanda Lee convinced my mother that my sister and I needed to get involved. Wanda was the club manager and remains in that position today.
When it came to doing something for Chris you rarely said no. Why is that? Because she didn’t give you the chance. She knew you could do it and you were going to meet up to your potential no matter what.
Chris was thorough and loud and a “ball of fire.” But none of us minded, she was proud of us.
If you won a contest, she’d pump her fist in the air when your name was called and yelled in that way that only she could. She knew what we had inside us and was determined we knew it too.
During her funeral, all her former 4-Hers or rather “her kids” were asked to stand and we all together recited her 4-H motto, pledge and prayer:
In support of the 4-H Club motto, “to make the best better,” I pledge…. my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service, my Health to better living.
For my Club, my community, my country and my world.
Help me O Lord to live so that the world may be a bit better because thou didst make me. Amen.
As I sat down after reciting those things I looked down our pew at one of my longtime dear friends who had also been standing. We were both crying. Had it not been for Chris and 4-H we would have never met.
If it wasn’t for Chris, there are so many places I would have never gone and so many things I would have never done and I only did them because she pushed me.
Chris did make “the best better.” She will be greatly missed my so many.
I will forever be grateful to say I was one of “Chris’s kids.”