Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Laugh Bigger Than Dallas

She has a laugh bigger than life itself. She always has a sunny disposition and a come-back for everything. She is my Aunt, my friend and my playmate.
I remember being five years old and hearing the Green Hornet pull into the drive. I would run through the house and out the door to greet my Aunt Francis. Now she wasn’t really my aunt but she was. Confused? She was married to my dad’s best friend. My dad didn’t have any brothers by birth but his best friend Monroe had become his brother. I would know it was her because I could hear her laugh from inside the house. She would great us all with hugs and kisses. She would come in the house and her booming voice would resonate and brighten up my world.
She and Nurse Meme worked at the hospital together and would often be caught tormenting some poor orderly or fledgling physician making him run from one floor to the next for some made-up procedure kit. They would take unsuspecting foreign nurses and fill them full of chicken fried steak, gravy and cold sweet iced tea in a Mason jar. The foreigners would then want to know what made the tea taste so good. Would Francis tell them it was the fact that her water was not only purified but softened too? Would she tell them she steeped her Lipton loose leaf black tea for exactly 5 minutes? Oh no she would tell them it was the Mason Jars that made the difference. Next thing you know there would be a run on Mason Jars down at the local T G & Y and everyone who wanted to put up peas would have to do without.
Our families would go on vacation together. She would grab us kids up early in the morning fling us off into the cool lake water and they is where we would all stay all day. We would bob up and down and paddle around until our flesh pruned and our bodies became water logged. She would make up games and join in the fun. Never a dull moment or an unimagined time.
When I was in high school they purchased a lake cabin which I visited as often as possible. We would sit on the screened in porch staring out over the red muddy water of Lake Fort Phantom. She would serve us tea and regale us with stories of double dating with my parents. She would laugh and tell stories of young Trooper Bob and Monroe getting into trouble and starting all kinds of fracases. We would sit in the cool darkness of the porch and I could just imagine what it would have been like to hang out with her as a teenager. Always laughing and always playing.
It is her laughter and love that reinforced me when things got ugly. I could call her or drop by at a moments notice and there she would be all smiles and laughter. She would tell me and still does “don’t take yourself too seriously, no one else does.”
I just wanted you to get to know a little something about one of my favorite people.


Anonymous said...

We all need an Aunt Francis in our lives, we should all try to be Aunt Francis for someone else.

The Texas Woman said...

I agree with Joanna. You were a lucky little kid!

Gladys said...

Joanna one can only hope to walk in her shadow

TTW yes I am a lucky kid

Katherine Aucoin said...

What a gift she was to you and your family! Beautiful tribute to your dear Aunt.