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December 14, 2014 – Nita

December 14, 2014…it’s been one whole year since you left our presence and received your newest home. One year ago today, Robert Dale called me and told me my precious Aunt Nita had given up her human form and went to be with God.

Today, on this first anniversary I received yet another call from him and we lovingly remembered your smile, the music of your laughter and the memory of a loving aunt and mother; just Robert Dale and me…

Nita, I begin this memorial today with a short story of a funny instance you related to me over the years and hope anyone reading it will experience just a little giggle at the imaginings of an old woman and know she dearly loved you and our times together.

When you married and went away for a while when Robert’s father was in military service, there is a hole in my memory but I clearly remember when you came back to us and brought Robert as a tiny infant. This was the beginning of such a lifelong love with you and your son, I’m not sure you or possibly anyone else will ever fully understand.

You told the story of one night when I was not feeling too well, I gave you a gift you never could forget (unfortunately)…

I can see the bunk beds which we shared in the little bedroom on Fifth Street and I can remember climbing up the ladder to go to bed but I also remember hearing you telling stories of our time together in that little bedroom. After my own mother would tuck me in with a sweet kiss, you would give me a little kiss, a “good night Dell” and a “sleep tight, don’t let the bugs bite.”

It seems we were both in our respective bunks, me around the age of 5 on the top and you on the bottom bed. I assume the beginning of the evening was uneventful there is no way of knowing now after all these years. However apparently sometime in the middle of the night I began feeling sick and suffered with a hot and feverish malady I can only imagine either the flu or a simple upset stomach. Who knows what childhood gremlin had control of me that night.

 I remember you telling me later in our lives (you were laughing at the time so I guess you got over the horror!) that I was crying and moaning quietly and thrashing in my sleep. Obviously something was going on with me but you had no way of knowing what was the problem.

 You leaned out from the bottom bunk to ask me if I was okay and were probably getting about ready to get out of bed to check on me. “Dell Anne, what’s wrong? Are you okay? Do you want me to get your Mama”? I can imagine you saying.

Probably at that point I was not really ‘saying’ that much but nature began to take over…

At the same time you were peeking out from the bottom bunk upwards to where I lay, apparently I was peeking OVER the top bunk.  It was at this unfortunate instant that I unfortunately hurled the entire contents of my stomach and apparently my toenails as well right into your face!  (I have never been very successful in keeping a ‘ladylike’ repose when this unfortunate relieving of one’s stomach contents arises and therefore could not control the actions.  I have since that time unfortunately had this exact same thing done to ME by my own children so can only attest to the discomfort you experienced. Yes, it’s truly grotesque!)

I can remember seeing you re-telling that story to me over my lifetime and I can also remember the queasiness you sometimes experienced when you relived the memory! Yuk…I’m so sorry. If I could rewind that incident I would.  However, we both know history is history . . . is history . . . and so on and so forth. At any rate, I’m so very sorry!

I have relived so many funny stories with you, Robert Dale, Lisa and Sandy as well and one of the funniest I can remember is when Robert was taking you to the numerous meals out you so loved. The two of you told the story so well and it’s one of the funniest memories I have of you and him together.  Unfortunately it’s totally at YOUR expense!

You related that later in your life and when you were a resident of the nursing home, his numerous outings were to take you to your favorite eateries.  I know he always tried to make sure you were fed well since there was a time in your life you dearly loved to partake of good food! I’m so proud though that even during those years when you REALLY enjoyed your food your body seemed to metabolize your enjoyment quite well since you never seemed to WEAR it especially. You were always trim and petite your entire life.

At this time in life your short term memory was becoming fuzzy and between Robert, Lisa, Sandy and Larry, they teased you unmercifully when you would forget yesterday’s happenings. It was amazing that you could not remember what you ate for breakfast that morning but could remember an instance from fifty years hence. You could reveal every instance from your childhood, all those happenings from MY childhood and your own children’s as well!

You were such a great sport during these times, your laughter still rings in my soul and I loved to hear your giggles!  (Not to mention Robert’s outright belly laughs!)

One afternoon Robert drove you to your favorite restaurant there in Franklin where you were to share a meal on your weekly Saturday outing from the nursing home. I know there was lots of laughter in that car and lots of giggling since I also KNOW Robert. He wears a perpetual giggle near the surface at any given moment!

He related delivering you to the front door of the restaurant as he felt you were ambulatory enough to take care of the ladies room yourself  while he parked the car.

Upon his entrance into the restaurant he patiently waited by the ladies room and when you emerged, he took your arm and began herding you toward the entrance of the building.

You were willing to go with him but had a slight question in your mind at the time…

“Robert…did we eat?”

(Early in their lives Robert, Lisa and Sandy gave their mother the name ‘Mother Goose’ and it has remained for all three their entire lives.)

With a solemn and somewhat concerned expression on his face he replied to you “Well, Goose, of course we ate…you ate steak and potatoes, corn and rolls. Goose, you even ate MY pie when I was talking to the waiter there…   You embarrassed me to death!  I couldn’t believe you cleaned your plate AND mine! My heavens, you can’t tell me you’re still hungry, can you?” (All the time he was trying to convince you that you both had actually eaten your meal, he was ushering you back to the entrance of the restaurant!)

You allowed him to escort you out but were still unconvinced your belly was full!  “But Robert, are you SURE I ate? I mean, I still FEEL hungry…” you lamented.

By that time, the jig was up and Robert began giggling uncontrollably. But at the same token by that time you KNEW he was yet again teasing you! “Oh Robert…you stop that and let’s get in there and order our dinner!” you demanded.

At this point in your relating the story of course Robert is now in fits of laughter and giggles and has to relate ALL the food you put away (of course expounding on the excess!)

I can see your smile, see your beautiful eyes crinkling at the corners and hear the tinkle of your laughter at his exuberance. “Oh Robert…you are just SO silly!”

The two of you finally enjoyed your meal and this time your belly WAS full and it was again time to go.

Robert escorted you to the entrance, told you to wait for a minute while he retrieved his car and you patiently waited.

Apparently Robert was not quite finished with the game-playing though and when his car arrived, as he grinned at you from the driver’s seat, you were reaching for the passenger door handle.

Unfortunately at this point in his mischief he decided not to allow you to get close enough to actually grab hold of the car door so each time you got closer, he would inch the car forward just a couple of inches…

 “Robert Dale…you stop that right now!”

Of course this only set him on a further course of irritation and for the second time and just before you reached the door, he again inched forward just a few inches.

“Now I’m getting angry Robert, STOP that!” You loudly demanded. I’m sure by the the second time you were getting louder and louder and surely others in the restaurant entrance must have been noticing his antics. (Not to mention your ire as well!)

By the third time he inched just out of your reach of the door handle he related you screamed out in your loudest and best ‘Mommy voice’ “Robert Dale Smith… you better stop that or I’m going to have to beat your tail!”  Imagine that…that tiny little ole woman dragging out all 6 foot 2 inches of his frame from that running car and spanking his butt…!  The vision is priceless and of course he STILL could run faster than you!

I can only imagine his ‘hootin and hollering’ by this time (as is his normal behavior in times of mischief) but I can also remember YOUR laughter as well so I am thoroughly convinced that by the time you and he related that story to me, you were well and truly OVER YOUR ANGER!nitapix

I am remembering these stories today; there are so many more to tell of our times together but on this day, the first anniversary of our loss of your presence, I just wanted to honor my time with you and let others know I’m missing you.

However I can also say I am honored and pleased to say my time with you for the last 64 years of my life have truly brought me joy, pleasure, laughter and love and those many memories are my greatest treasures.

Sweet rest Aunt Nita, and I’m sure you are enjoying one heck of a wonderful reunion with my Daddy, Charles Henry, your sisters, Maude and Stella, Grandmother Ola Dell and Granddaddy William Henry. I miss you tremendously but will always love you…

Your loving Niece, Dell

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