Saturday, August 20, 2011
A Lady Passes
She died last week. At 88, she'd lived a good long life, so her passing came as no surprise. She was my daddy's little sister, and my middle name is compliments of her. She was not famous - or infamous, but she was a kind soul whose concern for others marked a life of neighborly-ness and service. Aunt Frances took her Christian faith seriously and put it to work everyday.
The first vivid memory I have of her was at a clean-up day at the cemetery next to our family farm in Henrietta, Tennessee. I was perhaps 4 or 5 years old. She gave me little jobs to do and seemed pleased that I stuck to her side. Then there was the time that her family visited us in Chattanooga and came to our elementary school fall carnival. Aunt Frances won a large turkey platter at one of the carnival raffles. She'd always point that platter out to me when we'd visit her home in Bordeaux. My growing up years are filled with summer and Christmas memories of her and being on the receiving end of her kindness.
Her favorite color was blue. I think everyone in our family makes some subconscious connection between Aunt Frances and the color blue, even today. She had three wonderful sons - my cousins Jack, Tommy, and Terry - whom she loved to no end. They lovingly looked after her and my Uncle Horace, who died in 1998, throughout years of declining health.
However, another part of Aunt Frances' mythology is the fact that she always wanted a daughter. I'm not speaking out of school on this, because everyone I talked to at her funeral - family members, neighbors, church friends - mentioned it. Cousin Tommy even talked about it in his eulogy (he was supposed to be Beverly, not Tommy, by the way). My sister and I were the recipients of her mother/daughter attention whenever we visited, ranging from home permanents to hand-made clothes. Fortunately, Aunt Frances had marvelous daughters-in-law and three lovely granddaughters, in addition to two fabulous grandsons, so she ended up with lots of girls.
So I honor, with much love, my blue-loving, daughter-envying, card-sending, Christian-living Southern Aunt Frances. Make way as a lady passes.