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Today I'm featuring another Honorable Mention entry from this year's Write a DearReader Contest.
Gerri says she entered the contest because she likes to challenge herself. This must be true because she has also taken on the challenge of hiking several segments of the Appalachian Trail with a college friend. In addition to hiking, Gerri enjoys traveling, knitting, playing piano, painting and reading. She's glad she discovered the book club this past year.
Reading the second sentence of Gerri's entry brought tears to my eyes. Who wouldn't wish for such a gift! Thank you Gerri for sharing.
Aunt Cille was forty years old when I was born in 1958. She treated me like I was the best present that she ever received. She spent her whole life in a small Alabama town. She was the oldest of four and the only girl. Aunt Cille had a fourth grade education and had gone to work in the cotton mill at sixteen, when her daddy died. When her mama died six years later, it left her in charge of her younger brothers. The youngest was my daddy, who was a month old when his daddy died and six when his mama followed.
You might have thought this would have made a hard and bitter woman of my aunt, but that wasn't the case. I always associated her with fun. There was no one who loved telling stories and laughing more than she did. She was a peroxide blonde with blue cat eye glasses. When I was four or five, I ran next door and used the neighbors phone to call her to come pick me up. Then I hid in the field across the road. In the meantime, my mama and all the neighbors were out looking for me. When I saw Aunt Cille pulled up in her big green car with the fins, I came out of my hiding place. My mama was so relieved to see me, that after a scolding, she let me go.
Whatever we did, we had fun. She might take me to the dime store and sometimes bought me some small toy. Then we might go to the corner drugstore and sit at the big marble counter on the high top stools. We would order grilled cheese sandwiches or an ice cream sundae in a cold, stainless steel parfait cup.
Sometimes we would sweep off the graves of my grandparents and put fresh flowers. She taught me to be respectful and not walk on the graves. "One day, you and I will have a spot here", she said. She loved telling the story of me, as a four year old, responding "You can have a spot, but I won't be needing one myself." It is thanks to her that I feel so at peace in a cemetery and aside from being there to tell someone goodbye, have never found it an unpleasant place.
Wherever we went, she found something on the ground that she insisted on picking up and taking home, whether a rubber band or a penny. We went fishing one time and she found a bar of soap on the river bank. I was in college by then and visiting with my fiance. I pleaded with her to leave it there, only to discover it in the soap dish that evening, much to my embarrassment. My fiance thankfully, had a wonderful sense of humor and loved it!
Aunt Cille has been gone for a long time now, and I sure miss her. She taught me to appreciate the simple things in life and to be kind. I remember her saying, "Mmm, mmm. There aint' nothin' I love better'n a tomater sandwich". She never had a bad word to say about anyone. If she heard anyone else, say something mean about someone, she would remind them, "Be nice now, they might have a hard life, and you just don't know it." I was certainly a lucky child to have her in my life.
Honorable Mention, 2016 Write a DearReader Contest
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
KIDS BUZZ: This week, loads of book fun and buzz for middle-grade and teen readers. Meet new authors--send an email, ask a question and they will reply. Plus enter to win a free copy of INTO THE LION'S DEN (A Devlin Quick Mystery) by best-selling author Linda Fairstein; and PUCK by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes. For a chance to win, say hello to the authors and more, see http://www.authorbuzz.com/kidsbuzz.
* This month's Penguin Classics book is THE CHARTERHOUSE OF PARMA, by Stendhal. Start reading now and be sure to enter the drawing for your chance to win a Penguin tote bag: http://www.supportlibrary.com/bc/v.cfm?L=drclassqqxqR1AFEAEE9442&c=CLASSICS