From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My Great Aunt Goldie

Memories of a sweet lady



My Great-aunt Goldie Davis has passed away, and her funeral was today in Ainsworth, Nebraska. That's roughly 1000 miles from here, so we didn't go, though I would have liked to attend as a token of my parents' love and respect for her.

Aunt Goldie was 98 years old. She had 25 great-great grandchildren! What a long life! What a variety of world-changing events she witnessed in her life span! Just imagine -- Teddie Roosevelt was the President when she was born.

Aunt Goldie once confided to my mother that her anti-aging secret was a daily half-tablet of estrogen. That may be, but probably Aunt Goldie inherited some longevity genes from her parents. Aunt Goldie's father, my great-grandfather Charlie Clark, lived to be 93, and her mother, my great-grandmother Virginia Fisher (Clark) McGrew, was nearly 90 when she passed away.

A year ago at Christmas, Aunt Goldie wrote me a sweet letter about how she remembered my dad when he was a baby. She was 15 years old when he was born. She said that my dad was the first baby she had ever been around and she loved him like he was her own. She was the only person left on earth who remembered my father as a baby, I'm sure.

Speaking of babies, I remember when my sister Charlotte was born, and Aunt Goldie came to the hospital to visit. I remember Aunt Goldie standing at the glass window looking at the babies in their little beds. Apparently Charlotte had some fluffy baby hair, because Aunt Goldie said she looked like a little dandelion. That tickled my five-year-old funny bone.

I don't remember going to Aunt Goldie's house in the country more than once or twice when I was a kid, but I remember seeing her often at my great-grandfather's little house in town.

Aunt Goldie was able to stay in her own home until just a day or so before she passed away. When I stopped to visit Aunt Goldie with my children, several years ago, she was amazingly spry of body and sharp of mind. She said she hadn't had her car out of the garage yet that summer, but she'd been thinking about it. She told us that she liked to go to the salebarn with her son, and that she baked mincemeat pies for my Uncle Harold.

She showed us some beautiful quilts and rag rugs she was making and the tomato plants and flowers she was growing in her garden. Then we drove out to the Ainsworth cemetery, and Aunt Goldie showed us the graves of three of my great-grandparents, some of our Fisher relatives, her husband, and other members of the Davis family. I thought about that today.

I feel sad that Aunt Goldie is gone, but not for her sake. She was a faithful Christian, and she has passed into eternity with God. He blessed her with good health and a long full life, and now He has taken her home.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.