Friday, August 21, 2009

Remembering My Other Sister

This past week, the oldest of my two sisters was laid to rest, some 29 years after Cleo passed away.
Strangely to me, not too many people seemed to know about Thelma, better known to my three brothers, Cleo and I as “Sister.” It seems that many older girls in families were tagged with the nickname of Sister. As a matter of fact, my mother was known—she being the oldest girl in her family—as “Sis.”
One person, after having read in the obits about Thelma told me they thought we were just all boys in our family. Well, they didn’t have football during the time Meredith and Jamie, my two older brothers were in school, therefore it has been common for many people to think Billy aka “Crow” and I were the only siblings in our family. One thing I am proud of is that all four brothers and my two brothers-in-law are veterans, three of us having served in the Navy, two in the Army and one in the Air Force. Thelma and Walstein Odom settled in Barnesville, south of Griffin about twenty miles. They raised a good family there. Strangely enough, Thelma’s family began exactly like my Mother’s children. Both had a son first which died in infancy. Next, both Mother and Thelma had two daughters followed by three sons, and it began to look like a carbon copy family. Then I was born last for my mother and Thelma went on to have two more daughters and the streak ended.
Anyone sitting in the large chapel of the funeral home must have been surprised at the number of family members who marched in one after another—children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. It was a marvelous celebration of her life as the preacher remembered her faithfulness in her worship of God and church. It was clearly evident that her family had followed her example as church-going Americans.
Her husband died many years ago, and she continued going forward with her life, selling Avon products and making homemade apple pies. That’s what I liked! OH! Sweet they were, and flaky too! Family reunions were always fun because she made sure she brought plenty of pies for all of us to eat. It was not uncommon for several of us—immediately after the blessing was asked on the food—to make a beeline to the dessert table and get several of the small delicacies.
A funny thing happened one day at the reunion several years ago when a new cousin-in-law, having discovered how tasty the apple pies were, took a large paper sack over to the table and began to shove many of the treats into his booty bag. “Sister,” never exactly a shy violet looked over to the table and said out loud, “Who is that man stealing all of my pies?”
That has, through the years, become family folklore for lots of laughs.
“Sister” had a great sense of humor, good sense of what family should be, and a good sense of being an American.
Most of you knew and liked Cleo, and given the chance you would have liked Thelma as well.
Fly fast Angel “Sister!”

1 comment:

gigi said...

Great and tender tribute, Uncle Sam. Was good to see you and all others there that day.