Growing up in a big family of southern folk was a good thing for me. The women of our family taught us well.
We can cook and we can sew, but most of all, we can hold our own with the best of them.
My mother Bonnie and her sister Edna ruled with iron hands and huge hearts. They expected that we would behave and that was all there was to it.
My sister Ann and I were raised with Aunt Edna’s boys, Tony and Tom. We were double cousins, the boys and us. My dad’s brother John, the boys’ dad, and Aunt Edna’s first husband.
Ann and I were protected by the boys. We knew they always had our backs.
Many of a shopping trip began with Aunt Edna cutting a switch from a bush in the yard. “You know I’ll use this,” she always warned four kids who might even be thinking about misbehaving. I’m sure we misbehaved, but I can’t for the life of me recall one time Auntie actually used the switch.
Aunt Edna passed away last week. She would have been 90 in a couple of weeks. My mother was also 90 when she passed a couple of years ago, and my dad was just a few months shy of 90 when he went last year.
Maybe that is the magic number for our clan.
Aunt Edna was tough and gentle all at the same time. We all have good memories of her. I’m hoping when it’s my turn to go, that someone might say that of me.
In later years, Aunt Edna married Fenton “Mac” McCollough from Colusa. Later yet they moved to Shelton, WA, where they retired and enjoyed a comfortable life of fishing and relaxation.
Mac went first, having passed a few years ago; Auntie lingered, but was never quite the same.
We lost Tom almost 20 years ago and Tony joined him two years ago.
There is a hole in the hearts of me and sister. We miss the boys, we miss the family we knew as children.
We didn’t have much money growing up. What we did have was love. We never doubted for a minute that we were loved.
There were huge holiday gatherings. Many of them were at my grandparents’ home, the little farm house I now live in. The funny thing is that it seems so tiny now (because it is), but then we never seemed to notice we were crowded.
I know each family has special memories. Each family has blessings, but I have been so blessed to grow up with the family I call my own.
Think about it. Is there a family member you need to reach out to today?
Life is good today. . .
— Kathy Craigo is a publicist, speaker, and life coach. She owns Kathy Craigo Media Consulting in Colusa. Contact Kathy Craigo at firstname.lastname@example.org.