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Friday, January 1, 2010

Soul Mates

Most people spend their lives looking for a soul mate. You see commercials on television about people finding their soul mates on Internet dating services, and people in love will describe their partner as their soul mate. Part of the Wikipedia definition of soul mate is, “The one and only other half of one's soul, for which all souls are driven to find and join.” I don’t think it necessarily means someone you have to date, marry, or be romantically involved with. I think it’s someone who loves you unconditionally and you feel an immediate bond toward. My soul mate just happened to be fifty years old when I was born on January 5th, 1955.
Ruby Estella Ragsdale was born to John and Emma Ragsdale on October 13th, 1904 the first of four children, she was my mother’s paternal aunt. I don’t know a great deal about her early life except they lived on a farm, and my great grandmother was so religious that when there was no white church nearby for them to attend, they would load the family in the wagon and sit outside the window of the colored church, so they could hear the sermon, it was that important to her. Why they didn’t go in I don’t know. I guess the races just didn’t mix in those days even though most of the farms around them were owned, and farmed, by blacks.

I can only remember three other stories about her childhood. Once when Ruby was about ten, her mother had baked the biscuits for supper that night. She sat them on top of the stove wrapped in a dish towel, and told Ruby to keep the younger children out of them. When my grandfather Clyde, who was two years younger, came home from school he took one, poked a hole in it with his thumb, and poured molasses into it, even though she told him not to. When Ruby ran outside to tell her mother he grabbed his bee bee gun propped up by the kitchen door, and shot her in the back. Years later he said, “Hell, I thought I’d killed her. She fell to the ground and flopped around like a chicken.”
One time a black family was visiting from a nearby with a very small boy. Her younger sister Agnes was so fascinated with the child’s hair, that she wouldn’t stop rubbing its head. The boy finally had enough and bit Agnes, so Agnes turned around and bit him back. Another time her mother had scolded my grandfather for farting at the dinner table. She told him, “When you need to do that go some place where people can’t see you.” So one night he jumped up from the table, ran over and threw the dining room curtains around himself, and farted. She said her mother couldn’t even get mad at him they were all laughing so hard.

Ruby married Earl Leager Fitch in 1932. I never asked her why she waited until she was twenty eight to marry, and I don’t even know how they met, but Earl had been married earlier to a woman who’d died. I also remember that neither she, nor any of her siblings, ever pissed and moaned about “The Depression” the way the rest of my grandparents did. Soon after their marriage they moved to Monahans, Texas, where my uncle started a trucking business, later he owned drilling rigs to drill for oil, and even had a patent on a drill collar he designed. Earl was a compulsive gambler and when they were first married he’d get involved in an all night game of “Craps”. Ruby didn’t like being alone in the house at night, so she’d walk the three or four blocks downtown, find his car, and sleep in it until he came out, sometimes at dawn. Why she felt safer in the car than she did at home, I don’t know. They built a new house on Doris Street in 1936, and his trucking business made a great deal of money during World War II helping the oil business in the war effort. His business was so crucial to the war that he was allowed to buy two new 1942 Lincoln Continental’s right after the war started, and was one of the first to be allowed to buy two 1946 models after the U.S resumed automobile production in 1945. In fact, when gasoline was rationed, he had his own gas and diesel pumps right on their property. With all the money rolling in they were able to buy all new elegant furniture through a man they knew in the Army who’s father owned a furniture store in Mississippi. They took trips to El Paso to buy clothes, and an Ermine coat, for Ruby from “The White House” department store. Ruby even took her parent’s, and my mother, on a trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas, at a time when billboards asked, “Is this trip really necessary?” My mother’s younger sister refused to go because her cousin’s told her, “Arkansas is too close to Germany, and Hitler will get you.” My mother said, “I was glad because that meant I had my granddaddy and the whole back seat to myself.”

In 1946 when my grandmother and grandfather divorced, my mother, age twelve, and her sister Clydene, age nine, went to live with Ruby and Earl, as they had no children of their own. I always thought Ruby must’ve learned to sew as a young girl from her mother, but it was only recently that I found out none of the girls were taught to sew. Ruby just felt it was important to learn with two young girls in the house, so she bought a Singer sewing machine in a Mahogany case, and took sewing lessons. That machine now sits in my bedroom, and I have fond memories of her sewing on it.

Mother said that living with them wasn’t always a walk in the park, even though she and her sister had all the money, clothes, and cars, they wanted growing up. Her grandmother would tell Ruby to insist she go to church, and mother would refuse simply because they told her to. Once mother and a girlfriend, who was spending the night, snuck out the bedroom window, and took one of the Lincolns, which was old by that time, and not being used. Mother didn’t realize it was low on oil, and burned up the engine. They managed to make it back to the huge barn where Earl kept his trucks and cars, parked it, and never told anyone. I mentioned it to Ruby in 1975, and it pissed mother off that I told her.

In the early fifties mother, and her best friend Sophie, drove Ruby’s black 1948 Chrysler New Yorker to Grandfalls, and went off in a pickup with some other teens. When they hadn’t come home after their curfew time, Ruby went over and got Sophie’s mother, and drove to Grandfalls, where they found her Chrysler on the town square. They parked beside it to wait for the girls to come back. They were late because the kids they went off with had driven the pickup out on the dam, and while trying to make a U turn the rear wheels went off the edge of the dam, and it got stuck. One of the boys walked back into town to find his dad to tow the truck off. By the time they made it back to the car it was after 1:00 AM, and Mother and Sophie were scared shitless they’d be in big trouble. Mother said she didn’t receive any punishment at all and Sophie’s mother wasn’t going to punish her either, until they walked in the house and Sophie said defiantly, “You’re not going to whip me!” Then her mother reached up and snatched a leather strap off the wall and whipped her with it. Earl had the first television in Monahans and built a huge tower for the antenna. My Aunt Clydene remembers being awakened late at night because they wanted her to see that they were receiving a station from San Angelo.

Without Ruby, mother and Clydene would have had no place to go when their parents divorced. Their father had to work, and their mother was too busy dating soldiers at the Midland Air Field. I don’t think Clydene ever appreciated Ruby the way mother did. Ruby was the matriarch of our family and everything always revolved around her as far as we were concerned.
I’m always amazed by people who say they don’t remember the early years of their lives. I remember when I was just learning to walk; she had a “Paula West” pink ceramic rose with green leaves, and a bumble bee, in the center of her oval Duncan Phyfe coffee table. I wanted that bumble bee so bad I couldn’t stand it, and every time I reached for it, I was scolded with a “No, no.” It only made me want it more; I now have it in my curio cabinet.

In 1952 Earl won a new white Ford in a raffle for the “Lobo High School,” and the drawing was at a Friday night football game. The crowd booed him as he walked down to give them the winning ticket, because they figured he was the last person who needed it. He took the Ford down and traded it right away for Ruby a green 1952 Buick Roadmaster. In fact that was the car I was brought home from the hospital in when I was born. Each one of us kids first car ride was in a Buick. When Danny was born in 1957, he was brought home in my parents peach colored 1955 Buick Special, and when Stacy was born in 1968, she was brought home from the hospital in my grandmother’s gold 1967 Buick Wildcat, even though we had a new gold 1969 Cougar XR7 at the time. I remember standing up in the front seat of Ruby’s Roadmaster as she was parallel parking it. “Clack, clack, clack, clack,” as her rings hit the steering wheel turning it to the right and “Clack, clack, clack, clack,” as she turned it to the left, “Clack, clack, clack, clack,” again to the right, I was fascinated, and watched her intently. I even remember once deliberately shoving my foot into the space between the seat cushions, and pretending I was stuck. Ruby had to put down her purse, and packages, and wrestle with my leg asking me, “How did you get it in there in the first place?” while I was delighted with my little mischievous adventure.

I remember just after Danny was born, Ruby sent mother the money for us to fly from Denver to Monahans. It was a prop plane, and you had to walk up hill to your seats because the rear sat lower than the front. The stewardess made a big fuss over how cute I was, and they had to put a pillow between me and the seatbelt. I’d watched enough television to know planes crashed, and I didn’t like it one bit. I kept leaning forward and crying dramatically into the pillow, until they gave me some gum to distract me. Ruby and Agnes drove us back in Agnes’s maroon 1953 Buick Super because it was newer than Ruby’s car, and had air conditioning. Somewhere along the way I needed to “Tee tee” and Agnes finally pulled the car over to the side of the road, so I could go. When I got out and saw cows in the pasture, I didn’t want any part of it. No matter how much they begged me, I kept saying, “No Agnes, mode, no Agnes mode.” I wouldn’t pee until they got to a gas station so I could use the commode. Then as the gas station attendant was filling up the car, he started talking to me, and I had to tell him about the exploding clock from “Howdy Doody” which scared the hell out of me. I would hide my face in the sofa until mother told me it was OK to look. I walked around in circles saying, “That clock scare me death, that clock scare me death.” They thought it was hilarious. Agnes never seemed to be upset that Ruby was my favorite. On the trip Agnes would try and get me to come over to her when Ruby was driving, so I wouldn’t distract her. I would just move in closer and say, “No, mine Ruby, mine Ruby.”
Ruby always had Wrigley’s Spearmint gum in her purse and it was a rare treat for us because we either swallowed it, or it ended up in our hair. She kept toys and puzzles at her house for us to play with and whenever we visited there was usually a trip to one of the stores downtown like “Whacker’s” where we got a new toy. Other times we went to the “Jack & Jill” shoe store for new shoes where they put your feet in an X ray machine to see if they fit correctly. Going to see Ruby was always a joyous occasion. She used to make hamburgers for us that were better than anything you could get at a restaurant, and my favorites like spaghetti and “cob on the corn”. When I was grown, she’d always made her special chicken salad sandwiches on wheat bread, for me and my friends served with Lay’s potato chips and a dill pickle wedge.

Earl used to take me downtown with him for coffee, and I got to put nickels in the miniature juke box on the wall in each booth, and flip through the song list, then we’d go to the post office to check box 817 for their mail. After he traded the Buick for an air conditioned, metallic fawn, 1959 Pontiac Bonneville, he took Danny and me with him and left us in the sitting outside with the engine, and the air running, so we wouldn’t get hot. I guess he must’ve run into someone he knew, and got to talking, and stayed longer than he’d planned. Danny jumped into the front seat and started yanking on the gearshift lever making engine revving noises. I knew from television that he could possibly put the car in drive, and cause it to take off, so I reached over and turned the car off. Danny said, “I want it on!” and started it again. I said, “No, I don’t want the car to get hot, so we need to turn it off just roll your window down.” and turned it off again. He started it again and said, “I want it on!” That was when I reached over, turned it off, and removed the key from the ignition. He began fighting me to get it back, and we ended up in the floorboard wrestling for it. Neither of us had rolled any windows down, and by the time Earl came out we were sweating, crying, and covered in dirt from the floor mats.
When we got home Ruby lit into him as she was stripping our clothes off while running water in the bathtub. “What were you thinking leaving two little boys in a car with it running?” Well I left the air conditioner on for them.” he said meekly. “I don’t care!” she said, “You killed one of your dogs by leaving him in a car with the windows rolled up. Don’t you ever do that again, you hear me?”

I don’t know why, but back then little old ladies always thought kids needed laxative, and there was always a foil packet of chocolate Ex Lax in her Frigidaire. She would only allow us a tiny piece, and we always begged for more, but she cautioned us on the fact that it was medicine, and we were to never take any of it ourselves. One day Danny and I were wearing our yellow matching pajamas, with feet in them, and playing with our little mint green plastic 1958 Plymouths on her coffee table, driving them around and around the oval. I heard a loud gurgled fart, as Danny stopped, his eyes grew wide, and then he hauled ass for the bathroom. I never saw him move that fast, but it was too late, he’d shit his pajamas, and Ruby had to strip him down and put him in the bathtub.

Whenever we’d leave, whether it was going to San Antonio, or moving to California, or Germany, Ruby would stand in the driveway and blow kisses and wave, until our car was out of sight. I would watch her and wave back through the rear window with tears in my eyes as we drove away. I loved her so much, she was the only person in my life who I ever believe really loved me.

Sometime in the late fifties Monahans changed their zoning laws, and they wouldn’t allow Earl to have the gas and diesel pumps for his trucking business, so they sold the property in town, and bought a place on the Stockton highway across from the “Lobo” drive in theater. We thought it was cool when we were kids because you could see the movie screen from their house. Sometimes Ruby would take us out on the front steps when we begged her, so we could watch the movie, but with no sound it wasn’t much fun, so we soon tired of it. Earl ran his trucking business for a few more years, but he got lung cancer, and lost all their money. There were men in town that owed him twenty five thousand dollars at the time, but never paid him, and soon he had to sell all but one of his trucks and cars just to try and keep the house. The only ray of hope they had was that Earl might sell a drill collar he’d designed, and had a patent on. Ruby talked about it a lot, but it never happened. I once typed a letter to her on an old “Royal” typewriter she’d given me telling her how I hoped Earl would sell his drill collar soon so she could buy a new car, and pretty dresses, like she used to. My parent’s read it, and told me not to mail it. I was only ten, and didn’t realize just how dyer their financial situation really was. You just can’t take peoples hopes and dreams away, we all need something to hang on to.

When we left for Germany in April, 1966, Earl was bedridden, and when we went in to tell him goodbye, mother cried, because she knew it would be the last time we’d ever see him. He died in October of that year. After that, the bank allowed Ruby to sell the house, rather than foreclose on it, and it gave her enough money to trade in the old Pontiac, and buy her a used white 1964 Chevrolet Biscayne. She gave much of her furniture, including her beautiful Duncan Phyfe dining room set, to a man who’d once worked for Earl, and helped her move. She also gave him Earl’s elderly cocker spaniel Pete, but he ran away soon after that, and was never seen again. Things were pretty grim for her for a few years, but finally she had a chance to buy a small trailer house that was on the property owned by Agnes. When the zoning laws changed in Monahans Agnes and her husband Sonny owned a house with a trailer park on it. The city allowed the trailers to stay until someone moved, but no other trailers could move in. Eventually there was only one left, and Agnes built a small strip mall that included her beauty shop, cleaners, and a barber shop. That little pink and silver trailer stayed there until they sold the property in the late 1970’s. Then Ruby sold it and moved into a brand new government assisted apartment, where she had enough money to have carpet put down, and get a window unit air conditioner. I don’t know how she survived it all; I know Agnes must’ve helped her financially at times, if only Earl hadn’t gambled away most of their money.

By the time we came back from Germany in June of 1968, she was pretty well situated, and she’d come and stay with us in Lampasas for weeks at a time when my father was in Viet Nam. We always missed her when she left, and loved having her around. Stacy was an infant then, and she always helped mother around the house while she was occupied with the baby. We moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina when daddy returned, and we stayed there until he retired in 1973, when we moved back to Lampasas. The year I graduated, my mother and I decided to open up “Sonny’s Pizza”, named after the pizza parlor on the “Sonny & Cher” show. We weren’t exactly setting the world on fire, even with our wonderful spaghetti recipe. I think she paid me the first three weeks we were open, but after that I was working for nothing. She even bitched when she had to give me gas money, and we were driving my fucking car back and forth to work, what the hell was she thinking? I had to go to the bank to borrow money to get my car repaired, and have the money to have my jaws wired shut, to loose weight. We’d both gotten fat as pigs while running the place, just eating out of sheer boredom. I swear the only reason the banker gave me the loan was because as I was driving to the bank I passed a fire station, and one of the guys noticed flames coming from my rear axle, as I pulled up and parked in front of the bank, a fire truck came screeching up behind me, and started putting out the fire. A huge crowd gathered and it was quite a sight. When the banker asked, “What is the purpose of this loan?” I said, “To get my car fixed.” You couldn’t deny that, he gave me the loan.

I began loosing weight rapidly after my jaw was wired shut. There are only so many things you can run through a blender, and drink with a straw. In the middle of all that, my mother suddenly told me I was moving. Out of the blue just like that, she couldn’t afford me anymore. What the fuck! Here I was slaving my ass off for her for free, unable to speak properly, and she’d devised a plan to get me out of the house. Behind my back, she’d asked Ruby if I could move in with her in that tiny trailer, and my uncle Sonny found me a job as a maintenance man at the Colonial Inn for one hundred twenty five dollars a week, I was heartbroken. I asked, “When do I have to go?” “Tomorrow.” she said, and took me to the store to buy me shaving supplies, toothpaste, and deodorant. It was so late in the evening we had to buy them at a convenience store, because all the other stores were closed. I packed my car until three in the morning, and our poodle Jocko, followed me in and out of the house every step of the way. The next day July 18th, 1974, I left early while it was still cool, and drove my battered old white 1967 Thunderbird to Monahans.
I got the job at the motel, even though the manager looked at me as if I were some kind of freak because I couldn’t open my mouth, and I had to sleep on the fold out sofa in Ruby’s tiny living room. Eleven days later the newspapers announced that Cass Elliot had choked to death on a ham sandwich. Even though it wasn’t true, Agnes insisted I go to her dentist, and have my jaws unwired, she paid for it. I’d dropped from two hundred ten pounds to one hundred sixty five, so I guess it worked, but it ruined my teeth.

I was devastated at being thrown out of the house, but Ruby and I got along fine, and I soon found a new freedom I hadn’t had when I lived with my parent’s. Even though I worked at the “Colonial Inn” for an eight hour shift during the day, and pulled another eight hour shift at the “Town & Country” convenience store at night, I found a way to have weekends off, so I could party at the gay bar in Odessa. I was nineteen at the time so it didn’t bother me much, but I soon realized what a luxury sleep was. I actually enjoyed my time with them and we grew even closer in the time I was living there. I even was able to buy a champagne colored, 1970 Cadillac Sedan De Ville. I’ve never owned another car that meant as much as that one did. Agnes had to co-sign the loan at the bank with me, but she did it.

I lived there about nine months before I moved to Odessa for a while, and then joined the Air Force. After that fiasco, I moved back to my parents for three months before moving to Midland in March, 1976. Midland is only sixty five miles from Monahans, so it made visiting them very convenient over the next twelve years.
Later in life, the only way I can describe Ruby is that she was like a Texas style Katherine Hepburn. She was full of piss and vinegar, and always voiced her opinion about things while shaking her perfectly manicured, red fingernail, either in the air, or at you, for punctuation. She was a staunch Democrat, and nothing could get her going like politics. One Christmas, as we were driving to Lampasas, she was sitting beside me in the front seat reading the newspaper. Whenever she found something she thought interesting, she would read it out loud. She read a story about nursing home abuse to me, and said, “I’m not going to a nursing home.” She was in her mid seventies by then and just to make conversation I asked why not?” She just said, “I don’t care how bad I get, I’d rather die than go to a nursing home.” I said, “Well Ruby, mother and daddy still work what if you got to the point you couldn’t take care of yourself?” “I don’t care, I’m not going,” she said. Again I asked, “Why not?” “Because they dope those old people up to where they don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground, that’s why!” she said, while shaking her left index finger in the air. I laughed so hard I almost drove the Cadillac off the road.

She’d slap you too, not hard, just a little pop across the cheek, if you smarted off to her. Once mother, Danny, and she, came to the Cadillac dealership to see me, and I said something to her, and she popped me across the face. I’ll never forget the look of shock on Danny’s face. He hadn’t been around her like I had, and I just laughed. She didn’t mean anything by it, but I don’t think it set too well with her doctor when she did it to him when she was ninety four.
I always knew just underneath that tough as nails veneer, laid a heart of pure gold. Often some of my friends and I would drive over to Monahans to see her, she’d always have a batch of sandwiches made for us. She’d notice we had our “roadie cups”; we always had a bottle of Bacardi rum, Coke, and Dr. Pepper, out in the car. She’d look at us and ask, “You boys drinking whisky?” “No Ruby, you know we don’t drink whisky, its rum.” I’d say. “Well you’d better be careful drinking and driving” she’d scold, but before we left she’d always insist on filling our cups with ice for the trip back.

One Thanksgiving after mother and daddy had moved to Big Spring, Texas, mother had several relatives at her house, and I brought over my copy of “Somewhere in Time” for us to watch. The ending is sad, yet beautiful, as Jane Seymour awaits the dashing Christopher Reeve in heaven after his death, while the magnificent John Barry sound track is playing. Later I went out to wash mothers new Buick, and Ruby came out just to get some fresh air, and sweep the drive way. It took me a while to be able to bring it up without crying, but finally I said, “Ruby, you remember how that lady was waiting for him in heaven? That’s how I want you to be waiting for me when I die.” I was barely able to get the words out without crying. She propped the broom against the house, shook her finger at me and said,”You just better be sure and be there!” I stood there laughing with tears streaming down my face.

After Agnes passed away Ruby seemed content to live there in Monahans alone, but by then she was ninety one, and mother didn’t want her so far away, because by then my parents had moved to San Angelo, and mother wanted to be able to look after her. After some persuasion she moved to an assisted living center, and gave up driving at the age of ninety two. It was a nice place and she had her own apartment, and even some new furniture. Ruby loved anything new, and thought the microwave was the best thing ever invented.

Just after her ninety third birthday, she had a cold and wasn’t feeling well, so I bought her a box of gourmet cookies, and took them to her. When I knocked on the door her voice came through loud and clear, “Who is it?” “It’s Sammy.” I said. She said, “You’ll have to go to the desk and get them to get you the key so you can open the door.” Why can’t you open the door?” I asked. It sounded like she was right on the other side. She said something I couldn’t believe, “I’m on the floor, and I can’t get up to open it.” I asked her to repeat it, and she said again, “I’m on the floor, and I can’t get up to open it.” I walked down to the desk and told the lady what she’d said. She looked at me in disbelief. That just wasn’t something that Ruby would say, or do. When we opened the door, she was lying at the foot of her bed, face down, in her night gown, with a pillow beside her.
We made sure she was OK, no broken bones, or anything, then I picked her up under the arms, and carried her to a chair in the living room. We got her some juice, and a cookie, then the lady from the desk went to call the doctor. Ruby started telling me what had happened. “I lay down on the foot of my bed because it was already made up to take a nap, and I dropped my pillow, when I reached for it I fell off, and couldn’t get back up. I tried calling my niece, but I didn’t have my glasses, and after the operator gave me her number, I couldn’t see to dial the phone. My heart sank, “Ruby don’t you know who I am?” I asked. She looked at me as if trying to recognize me and said, “No.” I said, “I’m Sammy.” The look on her face changed immediately, and she asked, “Did you get that job at Haverty’s?” The ambulance came and they took her to the hospital, and found out she was suffering from oxygen deprivation. She went down hill fast, and was almost unresponsive; they didn’t expect her to live. Mother and daddy had to go to Andrews, to check up on my grandfather Sam, who was in a nursing home, and mother told me I’d better go by and see Ruby in the hospital, because she was afraid it might be the last time I’d get to see her. I dreaded going I just didn’t want to see her like that. When I walked into the room she was lying there asleep, and a fresh food tray was at her bedside. I guess all my years of taking care of sick friends kicked in, because I turned on the television, cranked up her bed, and slid her food tray in front of her. I said, “Ruby you’ve got to get up and eat something. You can’t just lie there, set up and eat something, so you can get better, and get out of here.” It took me a little while, but soon she was letting me feed her. We started out with sips of iced tea, then peach cobbler first, since she was fond of sweets, then some of the meat, about that time mother walked in. When she’d left Ruby was alone in a dark room, unresponsive, and when she returned, there she was with all the lights and television on, eating and talking to me. I didn’t say anything to mother at the time about the look of shock on her face, but later she told me,”I fully expected to come back and find her dead, and when I walked into that room I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. She wouldn’t have done that for anyone else in the world but you.” Soon after that she was out of the hospital, but could no longer live alone, so she moved into a nursing home. It was her decision, and she seemed to rather enjoy it. She once told me, “Do you know what we had for dinner last night?” “What?” I asked. She said, “Hot Dogs! Can you imagine them feeding these old people hot dogs? Hell most of them don’t have any teeth, the very idea!”

By Christmas of 1999, I’d moved to Fort Worth, and when I drove down and picked her up at the nursing home to take her to my parent’s for dinner, she walked right along beside me rolling her oxygen tank behind her. As we got in my new car, the nurse said, “Oh you’ve got one of those new Beetles, I just love those cars.” Ruby shook her finger at her, and said, “Yes, he sells them in Fort Worth, go buy one from him.” We had a nice visit, but after dinner Ruby looked at her oxygen tank, and saw it was getting low. She said, “That boy told me it was full, I guess he thinks old ladies are stupid. I hate to go, but I guess you’d getter take me back.” I drove her back, and as we were walking to her room this young girl behind a desk asked, “Mrs. Fitch did you have a nice Christmas with your family?” “Yes I did, but I had to come back early because that boy told me my oxygen tank was full, but it’s almost empty, and that makes me damned mad.” she said, shaking her finger. When we got to her room she gave me a hug, and a kiss, and put her hands on my shoulders, and as always, scolded me about my drinking. I said, “Ruby this might be our last visit, do you want to spend it gripping at me?” She said, “No honey, but if something ever happened to you I just couldn’t stand it, and think what it would do to your poor mother.” I drove away with a heavy heart, knowing it probably would be the last time I’d ever see her. She died June 14th, 2000, four months shy of her ninety sixth birth day. Before she passed away mother told her, “Ruby, I don’t know what I would have done without you.” She patted mother’s hand and said, “I don’t know what I would have done without you either honey.”
These days I’m not sure if there really is a heaven, I hope there is, but I’ll know I’ve arrived when I can see my Aunt Ruby waving and blowing kisses at me.


  1. What a wonderful and sweet ( without rose colored glasses) picture you have painted of this strong independant woman who obviously loved you with all her heart. And you her as it is more than apparent she one of if not the most important positive influences in your life.Your love for her shines through the peice Sam. Thanks for letting us get to know Aunt Ruby for just a moment.
    P.S. I found this through Findadeath

  2. Beautiful story, made me tear up. Wish you'd post a pic of your beloved Ruby

  3. I just started reading your blog today! i wouldnt normally comment, but this story was so nice to read! thank you for sharing your memories.
    I thought about my soulmate too, she was 60 when i was born. I miss her everyday