My cousin, Gayle Pugh Keller, sent me a check today that was part of our Aunt Elsie's bequests to her many nieces and nephews. I never dreamt of such generosity or thoughtfulness on the part of my last aunt/uncle to depart this mortal coil.
My Grandmother, on my mother's (and Gayle's) side of the family was Lina Manona Sadler who married Eli Jones. They had 5 children who lived to adulthood and 2 that didn't.
My Grandmother, on my father's side was a McCormick who married a Bradley. They had five children.
Here's the humbling truth--all my twenty aunts and uncles were decent, hard-working, honest, loving people. Everyone in both sides of my family was. All my myriad first cousins were.
Not a 'bad apple' on either tree.
I had an idyllic childhood in a part of the world most people couldn't imagine as being idyllic!
Places like Conklintown, Jenkinjones, Pageton, Anawalt, Princeton, Waiteville--all tucked in the mountains of southern West Virginia, were places where it was safe and nurturing and wondrous to grow up.
That check from Gayle, who was distributing Aunt Elsie's largess to her kin, made me literally weep.
I am often struck by how lucky (or in theological terms: "blessed") I have been. What loving, gentle people raised me.
From beyond the grave, Aunt Elsie's generosity to me--to all the cousins--gives me pause to give thanks for the life I have lived and the people who lived it with me....
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