Monday, October 05, 2009

Family Reserve

We're all gonna be here forever
So Mama don't you make such a stir
Just put down that camera
And come on and join up
The last of the family reserve

This is my mama (on the left) with her twin sister, taken when they were about 18 or 19, I think. Mama was slightly taller, so they nicknamed her 'Biggun' and my aunt was 'Runt', although she always called Mama 'Bidgie'. Mama called me Friday morning to say Runt had passed away suddenly, early that morning. She has had health problems for years so it wasn't a terrible shock but still hits close to home, especially since Mama has so recently been in the hospital.
Runt was one of my favorite aunts and could always be counted on to attend all weddings, graduations and anything else. She only lived a few miles from Mama so we saw her fairly regularly when we were younger. Of course, in recent years everybody gets so busy and strewn far and wide across the state that you just don't see your family much anymore.
You can see in the photo that Runt is the one laughing and it seems, she was always laughing. My brother said today that if you had never heard Runt laugh, it was hard to describe but once you did, it was hard to forget. She was one of those people that you could always locate by following her laugh.
I remember, for graduations and birthdays, she always got me subscriptions to some really cool magazines like Smithsonian, National Geographic and so on. I have always loved to read and the gifts made me feel grown up when I was a kid. I think most of Daddy's side wouldn't have believed that I could even read, much less get me something like that but Runt always thought I was smart.
This is my cousin Rita with my brother that is deceased also. Reet, as we called her, was Runt's only child and she died a couple of years ago on Christmas Eve, while I was working on the railroad job. Reet and Jerry were about the same age; she was only 46 when she died. She laughed just like her mama. Our families always got together for Christmas and I believe that is when this was taken. I remember Rita helping to serve food at my wedding reception even though I had not formally asked her. She just thought I could use the help. I remember her at the funeral when Jerry died. She just sat with me when no one else would.
I have only one uncle and one aunt left. A few cousins on Daddy's side but they don't associate with me. Most all of our family is gone.

There was my great Aunt Ozella , another loud and boisterious woman, but what fun! She could make anybody laugh. Then Granny Bird, so named because as children we could not quite prononce our last name. Usually a rather stoic woman, she always kept a full change purse of ice cream money for us when we came to visit and I remember at least two occasions when she let me and my sister push her maniacally up and down the road in her wheelchair, all the while wearing some absurd wig we had found. She seemed to think it was great fun.
And our Aunt Corrinne, a saint who I have written about before. She died just days before I graduated from high school. She had cancer and knew there was no cure for her but let the doctors at UAB experiment on her for sake of other patients whom they might could help.
Then Uncle Lewis, my daddy's twin brother, he died early too. He was a welder in the air force. My Uncle Howard who won the Bronze Star in WW II.
Oh! and Mama's mother, who we just called Granny. She made the best biscuits ever and let us kids drink coffee when we spent the night with her; something we couldn't do at home until we were older. She had long silver hair that she kept in a bun and when she cleaned her brush, she would always throw all the hair out into the yard; for the birds she said. For years after her death we would occasionally find a bird's nest that had fallen out of a tree, so intricately woven with long, silver hair.

And there are more I remember
And more I could mention
Than words I could write in a song
But I feel them watching
And I see them laughing
And I hear them singing along

We're all gonna be here forever
So Mama don't you make such a stir
Just put down that camera
And come on and join up
The last of the family reserve.

*Lyle Lovett


Caroline said...

So sorry...the picture of your mother and your aunt is delightful, what a nice way to remember her.

HermitJim said...

What wonderful memories...I thank you so much for sharing them with us!

Island Rider said...

Great post. I love family stories and you have some good ones. I am sorry about your aunt. I'll be praying for your family.

Beau said...

Beautiful remembrance. I'm sorry... stay well.

edifice rex said...

Hey Caroline! thank you so much and thanks for stopping by. glad to have you.

Hey Jim! thanks for your comments!

Hey IR! thank you.

Hey Beau! thanks man.

Woody said... sorry for your loss.

Your recounting of your family passed did bring a smile to my face. It shows the love through memories.

Anonymous said...

ER, sorry to hear of your Aunts passing, she left you with some wonderful, loving memories, ones you will never forget, thats how each of us live on:)

edifice rex said...

Hey Woody and Molly! thank you both very much.

Floridacracker said...

Thank you for sharing your family with us. I love those pictures, the moment of sheer happiness with you Mom and aunt, and then the sweet expression on your cousin as she peers right into the camera.

So sorry for the loss of your aunt.

countrypeapie said...

What a great post. Your family has so much character -- so much life!

edifice rex said...

Hey FC! thanks buddy. I appreciate it.

Hey Pea! thanks! yeah, we got character all right! lol!

Rurality said...

Hey, just trying to catch up a little... I know I'm really late on this, but sorry to hear about your aunt. I can't tell you how much she reminds me of you in that picture!