Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Tale of Two Ladies

I'm just writing this as an one needs to feel as if they have to respond; two ladies that I grew up knowing (and loving) died this week.

I just got back from the funeral of Mrs. Annie Ruth Prosser, a neighbor of mine growing up. She was one of the most remarkable women I've ever known, but you'd never have known that to have looked at her. You'd never have experienced that secret knowledge unless you were lucky enough to spend time with her and her son, Gerald. Gerald Prosser was, is and will always be one of my personal heroes. From the age of 16, he has been confined to a wheelchair b/c of an accident, diving into water that was too shallow. Mrs. Annie Ruth took care of him for years. Bathed him. Helped him dress. Never complained. In fact every time I've ever seen either of them, even if they were in great pain, they had a smile for me. Mrs. Annie Ruth was an incredible cook with an infectious laugh...Gerald is a math genius with a completely different infectious laugh.

Gerald and my Dad happened to both go to Francis Marion University at the same time; Dad drove him back and forth, and they became close friends. I grew up with Gerald's nephew, Jay, and played with him in and around Mrs. Annie Ruth's house. Gerald, always tech savvy, recorded all kinds of fantasy movies for us to watch...I remember drawers full of video tapes with little white labels and a familiar handwriting from the pen that Gerald kept strapped to his right hand. I remember how Gerald would go out for exercise in his wheelchair, and while he was out he would make up these scavenger hunt quests for Jay and I. He would show Mrs. Annie Ruth where to hide the clues, and she would plant them around the neighborhood. We'd spend all morning having our adventure, and when it was over our reward was about four bucks each in quarters (aka: "gold") to go spend at the store down the street on Double Dragon, soda and snacks. Those will always be among my favorite childhood memories.

The other lady was my Aunt Emily, my Dad's sister. Ever since Grandma died in 1992, Aunt Emily has hosted every Thanksgiving family meal at her house. She looked a loot like my Grandma, who was a saint in my book. Aunt Emily inherited her gentle, kind, giving nature. Aunt Emily was sick a long time, and knowing what she believed, I know that she wouldn't have preferred a more appropriate day than Easter to meet her God.

I doubt any of you knew these ladies with a few doesn't matter. Maybe through this, now you know them a little because of what they meant to me. And that makes writing it worth all the salt water I'm going to have to drain out of my laptop. Thanks for reading this.

Now go and live.

"To die will be an awfully big adventure." - J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan