Why is it always the fruitcakes that teach you the most? I guess I’ve had a cheering section most of my life but it comes from the oddest duck. Sometimes she makes me laugh, sometimes she makes me smile and sometimes she infuriates me but that’s what interesting people do. No, no one will ever accuse her of being dull.
Everybody has a nut in their family. My family happens to have several but one in particular has been a major influence on my life. From her I learned not to care what other people think. Go ahead and paint the front porch in multicolored stripes. Become a poet in mid-life. Keep a zoo in your house and don’t forget to laugh at yourself.
When I was around nine years old I came to really know her. Daddy had left the army and decided to move back to Arkansas. All four of us moved in with Aunt Faye, Uncle Jerry and little Jennifer in a three bedroom, one bath old house. Sure tempers flared in tight quarters but this is when I began the road to understanding my Father’s side of the family. I hadn’t actually spent a lot of time with any family members since the Army kept us moving. Here began the opportunity to figure out where I came from.
I have so many memories from that little house. Uncle Jerry would sit at the dining table pouring lead into molds for fishing weights. Little Jennifer was still quite small (I’m guessing around two years old) and was known to run around the table at supper time snatching food from the plates of anyone who wasn’t paying attention. When the sun went down Aunt Faye would grab a mason jar and we ran around the back yard catching lightening bugs. Faye always did know how to have fun even if we didn’t have any money.
Later in my teen years I lived with my Aunt Faye again. By then she had divorced my Father’s brother after being given a little angel from heaven, Amanda. Amanda had cerebral palsy and needed lots of special care. Faye and I took turns taking her to the doctor in Hope, AR as we were frequent visitors of that place. We didn’t have much money and sometimes had to wash our hair with dish soap but we made it through. Amanda was only on this earth a short while but as a teenager I was able to enjoy this special little gift from above. You would think having a child with such a severe handicap would bring a person to their knees but not my Aunt Faye. She takes life as it comes and still manages to encourage those around her.
When I decided to marry the crazy Pete Fisk the first person I told was Aunt Faye. I knew she wouldn’t judge me and would support me no matter how insane my decisions. I wish everybody had an Aunt Faye.