Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Gift That Keeps On Giving



I grew up in a time when things were alot different than today. I was raised in a family of six kids, me being the oldest. I have four brothers and one sister. We never was much for celebrating birthdays, just an occasional happy birthday or something of that nature. One reason being there wasn't any money to buy gifts and cards. We were lucky to get an apple or orange for Christmas and birthdays were no exception.But one paticular birthday I'll never forget, I turned six years old that year and something very special happened. Now at that age it's hard to remember details but some things just have a way of sticking with you like it was yesterday.
My uncle and aunt ( mama's brother ) lived up the road a piece within hollering distance of our house. They had six kids as well, the two oldest boys were twins and then two more boys and two girls. The girls being the youngest.With this being back earlier on they only had the four boys at the time.. What time they weren't at our house playing we were at theirs..
Back in those days people had a hard time trying to get to the store. They only went when they had to or got  the money to go with. That's why the old store truck ( also known as the Rollin Store ) became such an asset to people living out in the country and they depended on it for alot of things, mostly the basics. It came around once or twice a month. We always had to walk out to the main road to meet it.
This paticular Hot July day my aunt Kathleen and her four boys came walking down the road while I was playing outside. She hollered and told me to run in the house and ask mama if she needed anything from the store truck and to ask her if I could go with her and see if the boys could stay and play with my brothers. Needless to say, I ran in the house as fast as my legs could carry me and asked mama.. When she told me I could go, if I'd had wings I couldn't have flew any faster out that door and down those steps.. While we were walking out the road she said I heard it through a little birdie that today is your birthday. I asked her how in the world did that bird know.. She just grinned and we went on and met the store truck.
I liked walking up on that big truck and looking at all those grocery items on those shelves. It was amazing to me how that big truck could haul that much stuff around. I'd been on it before lots of times with mama and every once in awhile if mama had a few pennies to spare, left over from her groceries she'd get us some penny candy. I never asked for anything, I knew better, mama would get it anyway. This day was no different, I didn't ask aunt Kathleen to buy any candy either but she bought a little bag for me and all of the kids and she let me pick it out. Then she told me she wanted me to help her pick out some cake mix , that she wanted to bake a cake and add her own homemade choclate frosting. Back then cakes were usually made from scratch and the frosting too. She must have saved up a little money and decided she wanted to make it easier on herself. Well needless to say I was excited about baking a cake , then maybe I'd get a piece of it. When we got back home she told me to run in the house and ask mama if we could all come up to her house and play awhile. I ran in and asked mama  and she said it'd be alright as long as we got back by suppertime. The others were just as excited as me and I was hoping she'd bake that cake .. When we got there she opened up the little candy bag and gave us all two pieces each. That's all she could give and have enough.Then  she told us to all go outside and play she had lots of work to do. We played quite awhile before it dawned on me to run inside and see if it was time to go home, I knew mama wanted us back by suppertime. When I entered the door I smelled cake baking . I asked her if it was time to go home and she said no I'll let you all know. I went back outside and played until she called us all to come in and there in the middle of that table was a big chocolate cake. But I was afraid I was gonna have to go home and wouldn't get to eat any of it. Back then people built their own dining tables and that table was no exception. My uncle could build anything with his hands and it must have been  made to seat twelve people at the least. She started putting plates on the table and told us all to find a seat.. Some grabbed the chairs and some sit on the long bench that my uncle made at the back of the table.. Then she said something that floored me. She said, today's Susie's birthday and we're all gonna help her celebrate it.. Let's bow our heads and Thank God for the cake and sing happy birthday to her. I just sit there stunned while they sang. Then she cut the cake and gave us all a piece of  it and you could've heard a pin drop.. We were all to busy eating to talk and had always been taugh to keep our mouths shut while a meal was going on. After we all got done and cleaned the dishes up she told us we could go on home it was about suppertime.. Then she said, don't worry about your mama I 've already fixed it up with her..I ran and gave her a big hug and thanked her for my birthday surprise.
Needless to say we weren't ready for any supper when we got home but that was the best cake I've ever eat.. I never did tell mama that for fear of hurting her feelings but now that I look back upon it all it wouldn't have hurt her feelings one bit.
Two years later my aunt died after getting severly burned one morning while trying to start a fire in the cookstove. My uncle left for work earlier that morning and wasn't there when it happened. She poured gasoline instead of kerosene on hot coals and it caught the house on fire. She manage to get all of the kids out. She and her little, two year old girl got burned the worse. The little girl (Sue Ann) died in the hospital two days before her mother did and nobody never did tell her.
This woman died a hero and a legend and people still talk about it today. She surely was an angel sent from God to live on in the many hearts she touched her whole life through.And with my 60th birthday coming up the 28th of this month I think of it even more so. So many years and distance has come between ,me and that six year old girl but I remember it as if it was yesterday.. Rest In Peace Aunt Kathleen, you deserve it and thanks for the gift that keeps on giving.

                                               Susie Swanson, 2012


28 comments:

  1. That was a beautiful story, Susie. Though it was many years ago, I still offer my condolences about the loss of your aunt and little cousin. You'll be seeing them again someday, and who knows, maybe I'll meet them, too!

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    1. Thank you Gorges yes we both will and I'm looking forward to it..We'll see all of them, won't it be grand.

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  2. Susie, Thank you for telling your birthday story. That must have been an enjoyable day for you, when you got a cake for being six. Sorry about your aunt. I had an aunt who was nice to me at times. Some times she seemed bitter about something. When we think life is hard and can get no worse...if we think about a good thing that may have happened, we know we are blessed. Happy Birthday dear Susie. Smiles to all, xo, Susie

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    1. Thank you Susie. Oh it was and she made it so special.. A kid never forgets that..

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  3. That was a precious story. So sad about your aunt and cousin.

    I wish you a very blessed birthday, Susie.

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    1. Thank you so much, glad you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed sharing it.

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  4. Loved your birthday story God Bless your aunt for helping you have a very special birthday memory. Just think what a glorious day it will be in heaven when you meet again :)
    Happy Birthday Susie enjoy your cake :)

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    1. Thank you so much Janice, yes it will and I'm looking forward to it so much..

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  5. What a great story, Susie... You will always remember that cake and that precious Aunt Kathleen.... What an angel she was!!!!!

    Happy Birthday on the 28th...
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Yes I certainly will Betsy and thank you so much..

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  6. An absolutely wonderful story, Susie!! Your description of the store truck took me back to the little country store where we bought things.

    Such a wonderful thing your aunt did for you! I never had a real birthday party until the year I turned 70; the kids came here for a pizza supper for me.

    I was very sad when I came to the part about the fire and your aunt's death. God bless!!

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    1. Glad it brought back memories for you. Back then we didn't know what a party was.. Times were so much different..Thank you

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing this touching story. It's a great tribute to her memory!

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  8. Hats off to your aunt. It is touching story indeed. By the time I completed reading I found few drops of tears rolling out of my eyes. So the 28th July is going to be special for you. 60 the is an important land mark in one's life. Wishing you all the best.

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    1. Thank you so much and for stopping by..

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  9. Susie, you made me cry. That is such a wonderful story. I remember the store truck that would go by my grandparents' farm on that old red gravel road. I'm the eldest of five.

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    1. Oh I'm glad you remember it too.. Those were the good old days for sure.. It was so grand for a kid to walk upon that big truck..thanks.

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  10. wow. this story brought a few tears to my eyes. What a wonderful story, just so sad about your Aunt's passing. You've made wish for simpler times too. I can imagine her yard filled with 12 kids playing! How much patience your mother and Aunt must have had. Really beautiful story and such a beautiful life.

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    1. Oh yes they really had the patience. Thanks.

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  11. Such a sweet memory and birthday story. Though I am so sorry about the loss of your Aunt and cousin. This story is a good reminder of how precious every moment and memory is.

    Happy early birthday!

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    1. Thank you Lise, I agree life is precious..

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  12. Happy birthday Susie. Your story is heart touching. Yes, those days people had many children. I am the eldest in a family of seven. To feed and take care of so many children is a herculean task. I know how difficult things were in those days. So many changes have come in this world over the last four or five decades. Some changes are good but some are not so good. We are also adapting to changes to the best of our ability. Now we hear of climate changes,concrete jungles in towns, pollution, contaminated water, over crowding, high cost of essential items and so on. Well, life goes on with good and sad memories like yours.

    I hope you had a wonderful day on your birthday.
    Joseph

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    1. Thank you Joseph, yes they had big families and times were hard but it was so rewarding.. I don't like some of the changes either.. I like the simple life..

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  13. What a sweet memory about your aunt and the cake she made for you, Susie! I'm so sorry to hear about her tragic death. She sounds like she was a wonderful woman. I hope you have a nice birthday!

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  14. Hi Susie! That was one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. Your aunt sounded like a wonderful, and loving woman. I wish that some parents today understood how important all those little memories can be to a child. Special, loving times like these, always end up meaning more than all the expensive shining gifts. Our love and attention is what children remember long after the video games and toys are broken and tossed aside. Thank you again for all the sweet comments you have left for me. I just haven't felt up to writing on my blog the last month, but I am doing a lot better now and hopefully I will get everything back up to speed soon. Have a lovely afternoon ahead! With Love, Delisa :)

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  15. Thank you so much and you take care and rest.. Don't worry about us, we'll be here..

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