Remember Me

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

As my birthday approached last weekend (one that involved a very large number!), it was only natural to spend time looking back over my past—the good, the bad and the downright silly! I began to wonder which stories my family might remember after I am no longer here to tell them. Which ones might they share at family gatherings? Would they laugh about the time I was just six and snuck out of the barn atop ole Dan, the plow horse, believing I was Roy Roger’s sidekick, Dale Evans. And stubborn old Dan veered off the road and into a nearby pond. Terrified, I knew I would drown, unable to hold on as the water rose higher and higher, over my tiny six-year-old waist. I had no saddle, no proper bridle, just the long red hair of his mane into which I wound my arms. Dan backed out of the cool water, moseyed, dripping along the road he knew well, and finally stopped to munch on some dandelions growing by the porch of my grandparent’s farmhouse. I slid off, soaking wet—a pathetic, exhausted little urchin. So much for my days as a Cowgirl.
Perhaps my kin would remember the story about the day of the hog-killing when my granddaddy sent me home with what I thought was a PB & J sandwich. I discovered a big, fat, gristly pig’s tail stuck in between the slices of bread as I took my first bite. His droll idea of a joke.
Or I bet they won’t forget the tale of me filling my lunchbox with rocks at my Aunt Honey’s suggestion. She said this would be a great defense against the girl who terrorized and bullied me. I never got the chance to try my weapon of certain destruction as Mother caught me and solved the problem with cookies and kind words. She was often a spoilsport like that! Reminding me of the Golden Rule while my vicious ploy remained untried.
I hope my grandchildren will tell their children how much fun I was, reading their favorite stories over and over, acting out the parts, holding hundreds of tea parties, and dressing thousands of Barbies for dates with Ken. We built forts of the sofa cushions in our living room, armed with cutlasses, dressed as pirates. How could they forget the time spent lying on my own grandmother’s quilts making up stories from the cloud formations, with me telling endless stories of when I was a girl and roller skated to the library where I sat alone on the floor immersed in Chinese folk tales, in which little girls had their feet bound so that they would never grow.
I was just happy looking at my big, wide feet in their saddle oxfords, knowing my mother would never resort to such cruelty in order to make me more beautiful (only in China, she explained).
What she did do, that I hated and that hurt, was to tie my long blonde hair up in “rags” in order to create beautiful Shirley Temple ringlets that fell down my back and across my forehead. Actually the soft cotton strips were much easier to sleep on than the tortuous brush rollers that I used as a teen to make my mousy brown hair look at least presentable.
Presentable. That was one word Momma used a lot. It was very important that at all times I should make myself presentable. She certainly set an excellent example of what a Southern girl, woman, and lady should look and act like. Even though I come from a line of poor English, Scot, and Irish farmers, there was never, ever an excuse for being anything less than Presentable! (And always have a clean handkerchief in your purse.)
Last Sunday our lesson dealt with King David and the fact that God had promised him that he would not only rule over Israel but also that he would be granted a dynasty—a long, powerful and truly wondrous familial line. Now who wouldn’t be excited about the promise of a dynasty? Certainly, there are none of us foolish enough to expect that kind of legacy, yet there are also none of us who do not hope for a memorial of some kind: a touching quote on our tombstone or a lengthy obituary published in a reputable newspaper so that family and friends can clip it and perhaps, save it as a marker in their Bible. A lovely thought.
But lovelier than that is being honored while I live by those I hold most dear: My husband, Bill, my sister Deb, and my “baby” brother Scoot—as grey as I am—my daughters, Leslie and Kim, their wonderful, kind spouses, my grandchildren, my precious friend and “adopted” daughter Sheridan, and my sweet, sweet niece, Kate, her husband Peter and the next generation, my not yet three-year-old grand-niece Emelia (who almost stole my birthday show!). Had it not been for the jewel-encrusted golden crown I wore and the matching rhinestone crowns upon my daughters’ beloved heads, all the “subjects” at my Royal Birthday Party might not have given me a second look!
Unlike many of my friends, I cannot count my grandchildren in double digits. I envy those friends and am jealous beyond belief of those who are already cuddling great-grands in their arms. No, the strength of my bloodline depends on two attractive and very clever grandchildren and the three handsome and loving boys we have added as step-grands; I wonder if I may count their issue as well?
I know that I count them all as a big part of the many blessings which I will never take for granted. In the words of one of the sweet little hymns I used to sing as I rocked my precious babies, “Count your many blessings, count them one by one, count your blessings, see what God has done.”
God has done wonderful things in my life. Things I do not deserve. But that is who our God is. Full of Love, Forgiveness, and Grace. And I am eternally grateful.

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