“Life talks to you!”
That is something that I would hear Aunt Francis say so many times throughout the years. Aunt Francis is a mixture of the characters Florence Johnston and Sandra Clark from the sitcoms “the Jeffersons” and “227”. Recall that Florence was the sassy maid on the Jeffersons and Sandra was the sassy neighbor on 227. Aunt Francis was quick-tongued and had so many sayings that oftentimes made me think. I remember, one summer, long ago, Aunt Francis, Uncle Mike, my mother and my stepfather took all of their kids (maybe 12 or so altogether at that time) to Galveston to the beach. It may have been our first trip to the beach, I don’t recall, but after playing with my siblings and my cousins after what seems to have been a moment when time stood still – we were having such great fun – that Aunt Francis called for us to go into our tents and change into dry clothing so that we may eat. Well, she’d said that to me and the other kids about twice more and she said, in her proper tone that she was so known for “…go into your tents and get out of those wet clothes before you catch yourselves a chill”. Well, I, being the eldest, felt like my clothes would dry in time, and I really wanted to go back out to the water after we ate. So, I didn’t change into dry clothing right then. And I didn’t get back in the water that evening because I did indeed “…catch a chill”. It was then that I changed into dry clothing. And although I was in dry clothing and wrapped in a towel, I couldn’t seem to warm-up for nothing! My teeth rattled uncontrollably like a bag of marbles. Aunt Francis, simply smiled and said matter of factly, “…I told you to get out of those wet clothes….life is talking to you aint it?” I just sat there near the fire, all 60 or 70 pounds of me, trembling. It seemed as if I would never warm up. I was oh, so cold.
Aunt Francis passed away two weeks ago. She was a matriarch. And although I am still adjusting to her “transition”, she said something to me, as she has said numerous times over the past several years. I went to visit her on Halloween weekend, this past October as it was earlier in that week that I had received news about the cancer. She said, “You have a calling on your life!” She may have said it with the same pitch and tone as she’d done in the past. However, isn’t it funny that we take so much for granted and just when we are convinced that life “as we know it” will always be “as we know it”, my Aunt Francis or yours purchase their tickets on that train? Well, this time Aunt Francis I heard you loud and clear. Yes, “…there is a calling on my life…” and “Life does talk to me”. And I’ll forever hear you talking throughout the remainder of my life until it is my turn to purchase my ticket on that train. Thanks for visiting Jada after the funeral. See, I attempted to comfort many by saying “…this is not the end”. In other words “…it is not good-bye…it is, see you later!” See, “Life really does talk to you!” – Period, Case-closed!