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Sunday, September 4, 2016

My Aunt Marge

Margie Mobbs Lucey, the baby daughter of Johnnie and Pearl Mobbs. She was a beauty back in her young days and is still a very beautiful elderly woman now. Her mind is still spry, yet a little slow at times with speech, due to a slight stroke she suffered a few years ago. She walks with a cane, but one can tell she would really like to throw it down and take off without it. Sometimes she wants to walk a little faster than what her mobility allows. Her hair which was once as black as midnight oil and long and straight as an arrow has long since turned to shades of gray and is now at shoulder length. I focused on her high cheek bones, and thought, "that is definitely her Indian genes that she inherited from her mother, my grandmother." 

I stood off to the side observing, as I watched my one and only Aunt of 89 years, (that is still living), look through a photo album that a cousin had brought with him to our first family reunion in many many years. The entire album was a collection of cemeteries, tombstones, and flowers of family members who had passed away. Some were several years ago and were really great photos that are definitely worth keeping. I had to turn away though and take a deep breath to keep the tear from falling from my eye. It was such a sad scene. 

"I wonder what she is thinking, she is the only one left.  Her mom and dad are gone. Her brothers and sister is gone. All of these people in this album are gone." 

She was the baby of the family, and here she is looking at all of these photos, of her aunts, uncles, and cousin's tombstones. It had to be sad for her, but then again, it was probably good to remember all the family that she once felt close to. She would stop ever so often and tell a story that she would recall of the one that had passed.  I could tell that through the sadness she was also thoroughly enjoying the memories and this reunion. The fact that these cousins had driven over from Union City, Tennessee was like icing on the cake to her, I know. So glad they made the effort.

All of this made me think of myself. Yes, selfish, I know.  I am the baby of 5 kids. Mom and Dad are both gone.... and so it starts.  So for, all 5 of us are still living, although some are not in great health. The oldest sister is in her mid 70's, and I know that if  I live long enough, some day I will be where Aunt Marge is now. Even though her children love her dearly, there has to be a loneliness that I am sure no one would understand until they reach that point in life for themselves.

I wish that I had took the time to tell my dear Aunt just how much she meant to me. Although I am sure that she knows. I spent many hours of my childhood running in and out through her front door. In the summer months my cousins and I were together nearly everyday. Such great memories that will always live near and dear to my heart. She was almost like a second mother to me and I suppose that is why I felt such a connection to her when I saw her yesterday. It was like a little piece of mom had come back to me for a few hours.

We are planning another reunion for next year and hopefully many years after.  I pray that my dear Aunt's health holds and we can enjoy many more days together as great as yesterday was.  We never know what life may have in store for any of us, but we can all look forward to that Great Reunion in the sky where no one ever grows old, no one ever dies. What a reunion that will be.

To my cousins...I love you, and so glad we got to spend the day looking forward to next time!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Whistle Blows

Laying there in the quiet peaceful darkness of the early morning hours, just before sunrise, as the birds began chirping their springtime melodies, all was calm.  In the distance I heard the rumble. I first thought it was a plane but, no, I had heard this before, many many times. Then, the distinct sound of the old whistle blowing.  For a moment I was confused.  A train in the city? But yes, there is a railroad close to the airport, which is not to far away from our house. I just lay there, listening to the lonesome sound of the long drawn out whistles, and it took me back in time, to that small little town that I grew up in. I was overcome with a homesickness, and a loneliness that I had never felt. Once again memories of days gone by................

In my young days families would gather at our house ever so often. All of the cousins, probably at least 12 or 15 of us, would go walking around town and it always ended with a hike down the railroad tracks. Like ducks in a row trying to stay balanced on the rails. Or skipping in between the rails on the boardwalk, as we called it. Laying rocks on the tracks to see if the train would smash them to pieces. Just being together, having fun and enjoying life. Many times we would have to jump off the tracks and let a Cotton Belt train go past us.  So big and powerful. The rumble would almost make my heart jump in my chest. Being raised in a town that had a busy railway in its midst, we were taught at a very young age that trains deserved respect, and not get to close to one that was passing by. Looking back, it almost gives me anxiety to think how close to it some of us probably were.

I lived in that small railroad town most of my life. Raised my children there, and taught them the dangers of the trains, just as my parents had taught me. I remember many nights of being awaken by the low steady whistle off in the distance, rumbling and screeching as it would make its way down the winding tracks from one end of the county to the other.  It was always such a lonesome sound. Almost like a cry. There were times when it even brought a tear to my eye. Sometimes is was almost  haunting and eerie sounding and would make a chill run down my spine. There were times when it would be so loud I would think it might be coming through the middle of our house.

Not to long ago we went back to our home town to visit family and had to stop at the crossing to let a train go by.  Again, as it rolled slowly past, hearing the clackity clack of wheels on rail, I was hit with nostalgia as soon as I heard that lonesome whistle blow.
I'm sure that I will probably never live in this small town again, but seeing and hearing this train just added to the memories and love that I have for it.  It is my home town. It is my childhood. It is where I am from. It helped make me who I am today.  It is where my mom and dad are laid to rest.  It is where I have family. It is where I have friends. It is where I owned a business for a decade. It is where a piece of my heart will forever be.

And so hearing that faint whistle blow early this morning brought floods of emotion back to me in a way I haven't felt in a very long time.  I wish I could have just one more day with cousins on a railroad track, not caring about tomorrow. One more day of my dad telling me to be careful and watch for trains. One more day of  my girls learning to drive and cautioning them vehemently about the trains and what could happen if they too did not respect them. The sound of that lonesome whistle is forever etched in my book of memories and I will visit it from time to time as The Whistle Blows.