Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Heading for New Mexico

When I came home this evening after church music rehearsals, I had a message from my cousin Jim, who lives in Bryan, Texas. He was calling to relay a bit of bad news in the family. Our Aunt Chick, as she was called by family, died yesterday after many years of life in a nursing home with Alzheimers'.

Chick, whose "proper" name was Geneva, was my dad's last surviving sibling. With her death another generation of the Smith clan is gone. This loss makes me and my cousin the senior generation. Since I have no descendents, my entire line will die with me on both sides of my family. Such morbid thoughts -- it's the same with many of my cousins as well. Very few on either side had children.

Jim did tell me that he is heading for Hobbs tomorrow and will piggyback a visit to a new grandchild on the way. I'm glad there's someone who will know the joy of passing on a portion of our history.

Like any unexpected emergency trip this one comes with a handful of headaches. It's a nine-hour drive from here to Hobbs and I have no air conditioning as you all know from previous posts. No chance that I can get it repaired in time for the trip. Can't afford to rent a car, I don't think. I should check on that before dismissing the idea completely. I have an 11-year-old hot car. Perhaps that is an option. Hmmm.

UPDATE: I checked and I have reserved a rental car. Just under $60 for three days. SO worth it not to drive a hot car! Woo hoo!

One tough thing is that payday is Saturday, too late for a bank run for cash. So the whole trip will have to go on plastic, something that sickens me. I thank God that I have that option, however.

Also grateful for having a cell phone available. That's new, too, and has become more important to me than I had expected.

Let's see. Chick's life was very interesting, but I want to wait until after the service before I say much about that. I will tell you her nickname came because of her lack of height. When she was a child, she was short enough to run around under the dining table. Family said she looked and acted like a little chick, constantly in motion. Heh, I turned out to be the tallest one at 5'. We didn't stand a chance, though, because Grandma Smith was 4'6".

I last saw my aunt at the home she shared with my Aunt Emma and my grandmother in Amarillo, Texas, on April 25, 1987.

She was the epitome of the phrase "tough broad." She was a registered nurse married to an oilfield mudder. When she made family visits back to Oklahoma from New Mexico, she drove alone across barren West Texas with my cousin in the back seat. Chick sat on a thick phone book as she drove. I remember one reunion at my grandparents' house where we all waited nervously for her arrival. Her big ol' car had betrayed her with vapor lock, which left her on the road crippled until things cooled enough to allow her to get running again.

She was a smoker and a beer drinker, tough as nails. No one would dare mess with her.

When I saw her last, I was struck by how much she looked like my father. Since he died in 1976 it was shocking to me to see her again, looking like him.

This could well be the last time we cousins get together, I'll not kid myself about that. Several years ago I held a cousins' reunion here in Oklahoma City and everyone but Jim was able to come. His sister Jane has since died. I suspect we're at the age now when we'll start getting calls or notes about this one or the other dying over the next few years. I'm the baby at 51.

Tomorrow will be a tough day because I'll have plenty of work tasks to compress into one day instead of two. I hope I can do it. If I make this trip I will have to leave early Friday morning.

Well, there are a few things I can get ready tonight, and I want to get a good night's sleep to gear up for what's ahead the next few days.

I suspect an afternoon start for my return trip Saturday, so I may spend Saturday night on the road, depending on how tired I am. I am almost counting on it at this point, coming on home Sunday. I might have to call this weekend my fall "vacation."

I'll catch up with everyone when I'm home again. I hope you have a more pleasant weekend.

3 comments:

FrenziedFeline said...

My sympathies to you and your extended family. Travel safely and be sure you stop if you get tired. No taking any chances.

I think you should still plan cousin reunions, though. My dad and his cousins are still doing it and he's 76.

Erudite Redneck said...

Godspeed.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear it, Trixie. I hope you have a safe trip and a good visit with your cousins, despite the sad circumstances. Take care and God bless.