Hey Jack; my youngest first, first, first cousin. Jack, this is a tribute to your mother, my Aunt Girlie, and my mother's baby sister. Jack, your mother was something – loved by many, oh, I should say – by all who passed her way. I have so many fond memories of Aunt Girlie; you think she was my favorite?
Well, let me go back to the 1941 black Ford, the 1948 green Dodge, and then there was the 1950 something Oldsmobile Rocket 88. That was Aunt Girlie's car. She didn't think it was nothing to hop behind the wheel of that Rocket 88 and jet on down the road…usually it was down Hwy 18 from Jackson to Pachuta. And back in that day – women just didn't do that. But Aunt Girlie wasn't scared. No, not Aunt Girlie.
Back in the early 50's I was in high school and spent a lot of time in Canton working at the State 4-H Club Camp. There were many times when I would hitch a ride to Pachuta in the back seat, I sat at just the right angle to see the speedometer because she liked to go fast and I wanted to eye witness the speedometer. Sometimes she would have the speedometer up to 75 MPH. I had never ridden that fast…my daddy's top speed was 55, 60 if passing another car.
Like I said, I spent a lot of time at 1319 Dearpark Street in Jackson – time I didn't have to be at camp. Well, on one of those occasions, Aunt Girlie had gone to work and left Juanita in charge. Long about mid-day, Juanita asked me if I liked squirrel – yes; greens – yes; cornbread – yes; rice – yes; gravy – yes; squash – no. Juanita said, “Oh thank Heaven” in a mumble to herself as she left the room for the kitchen. She thought that I had not heard her, but I did and asked her why she needed to know. Her reply, “mama told us not to eat anything until you had eaten what you wanted and we could eat what was left. After that I could not help but conclude that I must've been way up on her list. Love you Aunt Girlie.
Sometimes after high school, things happen, y'all moved to California and we didn't see each other very often. But, about 1970 I came to San Francisco to an education conference. Aunt Girlie was living in East Palo Alto. I believe you picked me up and I had a chance to spend the weekend with you and Aunt Girlie. Since 1970, I can only remember once coming out to California and not seeing Aunt Girlie.
Somewhere along the way, she started calling me “My Boy”. I cannot describe how pleasant her countenance would be upon our seeing each other after a long absence. “My Boy”; then we would talk. We could have some of the best conversations…Did I tell you about our checker playing? Oh! Don't let me forget the love she had for backgammon. Jack, did you ever play those games? Probably not! Aunt Girlie's Backgammon playing was superb! I think her backgammon game was better than her checker playing – but, she was good at both. We played backgammon more in recent years. I liked to watch her mannerisms during the game, especially when she was in deep thought. She would take her index finger and mockingly scratch her chin while talking herself through her move options. She was scientifically methodical, and if you blinked – too bad for you.
Aunt Girlie loved her God (bible), each and every family member, and finding the good in everybody and everything. She lived an exemplary life – a model for all to follow. She never had a discouraging word and when you left her presence you were uplifted, inspired, and you knew, if you didn't know anything else, she loved you. Love you Aunt Girlie.
Dear Aunt Girlie,
You finally got your wings. Rest in peace and give all of our departed family there a big hug for me. Love, ur great niece Sheila.