where creative minds can interact
This was actually written the week after I attended my favorite Aunts funeral in 2007. It's the anniversary of her birth today and the anniversary of her death tomorrow. She's sorely missed, so I'm posting this in her memory.
Laughter through tears…
When I was a teenager. While visiting my Grandfather in Louisiana, a friend whom I had been allowed to bring along, joined myself and many of my cousins on a Friday night. Since the boys outnumbered the girls by at least a four to one ratio, our outings always turned into "Fright" night for the girls.
The typical going down the dark road, pine trees so thick and tall, you couldn't see anything except the beam of the car lights. Naturally the car would suddenly have problems, out of gas or it just died in the middle of nowhere until the girls pleas were finally answered.
Miraculously the problem was fixed and we were on our way. What made this night so different than any other was our new addition. My friend, who was not so enlightened as to what was about to happen. Unfortunately she had eaten pizza, hot dogs and all kinds of health food from the concession stand and had a severe case of gas.
Well in true form what goes up… must come down. And apparently the more frightened she got the higher the octane. So when my cousin, who was driving, pulled the old car stunt. My other cousin, sitting in the passenger seat, reached around and grabbed her ankle in the darkness. And let's just say we flew out of that car and it took awhile before we could return.
We were only a short distance from my Grandparents farm. So when we returned it was very much still the main topic of our conversation. We were laughing and of course the boys were ranking the stink factor. As we entered the main room in the house, naturally the adults wanted to know what was so funny?
Well before I thought about it, I responded to all of my adult relatives in the room, "Oh we were comin' home and they were scarin' us" I continued…"Ricky grabbed Connie's foot and she farted."
I had never heard it called anything else and didn't know my Southern Baptist Bible Totin' Republican Votin' Grandfather would think the word vulgar. He immediately told my Dad "If that was my daughter I would slap her down."
Well my Dad didn't say anything because, hell half the time he'd ask me to pull his finger… Then laugh as he cleared the room… it's a redneck thing, what can I say.
But my Aunt Estelle, when the whole room grew silent and I just stood there feeling like a prostitute in church… Frozen like a deer in headlights, she busted out laughin' and said, "Well, I think it's funny." Breaking the tension as she started belly laughing and her laugh was so contagious soon everyone was laughing and I got out of there quick.
I attended her funeral last week, she died the day after her 74 birthday. It was a very sad day, very emotional and of course it was raining and gray. So that made it even more depressing, when we finally arrived at the church.
My brother in law and myself, were the last to enter the room and it was standing room only. Literally, we were standing in the back just behind the last row. The music had just finished and we are waiting for my cousin to make her way to speak. Suddenly my cell phone goes off.
Not only is the volume all the way up. Even worse, it is new, so I don't have any idea how to turn it off, and oh it gets even better…
It was so new that I had given it to my son to set everything for me and during this process he tells me, "I can put a song on here as your ring tone, what song do you want?" To which I said, "Oh, just find a good old country song that makes you think of me."
And my eighteen year old son, finds and puts on my phone… "Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother" by Jerry Jeff Walker Recorded live in a beer joint, so you can hear all the hoopin' and hollarin'.
So now… I am standing at my Aunt Estelle's funeral in the back of the church and my cell phone goes off, not in my purse, but in my skirt pocket. As I am racing to the door to get outside, echoing through the church is… " And it's up against the wall redneck mother. Mother who has raised her son so well, she's forty four and drinking in a honky tonk just kickin’ hippies asses and raisin’ hell." Before I finally made it out the door.
I promptly put the cell phone in my car. Forced myself to go back to the service with what dignity I had left. As I walked past my Aunt Estelle for the last time, I swear I could see a grin on her face. But I am still not speaking to my son!
After all… that's life, and sometimes the best times can be laughter through tears…
Estelle Bozeman Helton- Feb. 9, 1933-Feb. 10, 2007