To My Brothers

we shared
rooms and bikes,
christmases and
vacations,
love, fear, and
exultations.

do you remember
planning a nativity
skit?
The only girl,
I was always Mary
while you two were
shepherds or kings,
never baby Jesus.

while we never
actually performed
the play
we could have,
maybe.

how about the time
in New Mexico
when Daddy stopped
the car in the smack dab
middle of the road
to get close to a
black bear?

did we all scream
or was it just
me when he got out
of the sedan to talk
to said bear?

remember cousins?
going on road trips
to California and
back?
baby brother damned
near drowned at San Juan
Capistrano.

Mama worried
that she and I would
need head scarves to
tour the
mission there.

where are we now?
far, yet close.
set free by parents
who knew we had to
be strong.
I miss them.
I miss you both,
little brothers.

City Girl/Country Girl

  
City girl always
dresses for dinner,
has drinks at six
at a cafe
by the river.

Country girl still
cooks biscuits
and gravy each
Sunday morning for
breakfast with family.

Come live here
in the big metroplex
City Girl pleads
to her rustic
relative.

We’ll dance ’til dawn,
and see the sights
chitchat with
politicians and rich
socialites.

No thanks, said the
Country Girl, I’m
happy out here,
but you come see me
and we’ll share a beer.

I’ll fry up a chicken
with all of the fixings
then we’ll sit on
the porch and solve
all the world’s issues.

I think I’ll pass,
City Girl said
I don’t think I’m
suited for a life
that’s so bland.

  

Aunt Nanna

Every child should have a favorite aunt. Growing up, mine was my mom’s younger sister, Nedra, or as I dubbed her early on, Aunt Nanna. Only when an elementary school friend teased me about her name (Aunt Banana!) did I begin calling her Aunt Nedra.

Beautiful, teen-aged Aunt Nedra spoiled me rotten. She was the softer, more lenient, counterpoint to my strict mom and when I was with her I got away with all sorts of mischief. 

Of course once Nedra married and had children of her own our relationship changed. She had to act like a mom herself then, but her children were as close to me as my own siblings back in those days. We all lived in Floydada, Texas, and not much was off limits or out of bounds. My life was good. 

Then life changed. Nedra’s bunch moved away and she went through a divorce. All of us grew up, married, lost loved ones. And now, not a single living member of my mom’s family lives in Floydada anymore.

My Aunt Nedra married a wonderful man, my Uncle Richard many years ago and they settled in Canyon, Texas. I hadn’t seen them since my dad’s funeral in 2006. Until today. And what a happy day! 

My mother-in-law (Saint Helen) and I drove to Canyon to Nedra and Richard’s home. They knew we were coming, so Nedra was waiting at the door to welcome us. My Aunt Nanna. And there was Uncle Richard sitting in his favorite chair. Nedra had cooked lunch and we had a wonderful visit. It wasn’t nearly long enough, but two years’ worth of talk wouldn’t have sufficed.

We forget, I think, the important places in our hearts that have been claimed by these favorite aunts and uncles until we can see them and hug them and have all of those emotions and memories come rolling in and crashing over us. We have a shared history of family loved and lost, of experiences both profound and silly. Nothing can ever replace that. No one can ever replace these loved ones.

Love you Aunt Nanna and Uncle Richard.