Saturday, January 20, 2007

Turn the Page

My Aunt Edith passed away last night. It occurred to me as I write that I no longer have any aunts or uncles. My mom came from a family with 13 kids and she was the middle child. Her baby brother Marvin Lee Ferguson was the first soldier from Walker County to die in WWII. He was on the USS California, one of the ships that went down when Pearl Harbor was attacked in December 1941.
Three of her siblings died before I was born and the others passed away through the years.
Aunt Edith lived on a farm up in Saragossa which is a community up above Jasper. She had two sons that were near my age and I spent several summers at their house. The work was hard but I got to ride horses and each afternoon we would go to their farm pond which was stocked with bream and bass and we'd fish until dark.
We used to celebrate the 4th of July at Aunt Edith's house and there would be a yard full of firecracker toting hair brain cousins. You had to be very careful because one misstep and someone would put a bottle rocket down your pants. Believe me, I've seen it happen more than once.
She always had a crew of kids turning hand cranked ice cream freezers full of peach, butter pecan, black walnut, strawberry, and of course vanilla ice cream. If you ate it too fast, you'd get brain freeze and stand there dazed.....if you were immobilized for too guessed'd get a bottle rocket down your pants. So I was always mindful when I ate ice cream there.
Aunt Edith grew frail several years ago and she spent the last part of her life in a nursing home. The last time I saw her she didn't recognize me.
She loved to hear Jilda and I play and sing. Many years ago, Jilda and I were asked to play at an event in the parking lot of the hospital in Jasper. Don't ask me why because I cannot recall for the life of me why were were playing there. It was in August and hotter than a skillet on that flat bed truck stage, but when we looked out in the audience, Aunt Edith was there cheering us on.
She had asked us to come and play for her but for one reason or another we could never work it out. I regret that now.
The photo above is of Aunt Edith, Uncle Howard, Chubby (the little kid), Jimmy, and Junior. It was taken almost 40 years ago.
I'm saddened by her passing and the realization that this chapter of my life is now closed....forever.

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