Thursday morning my mother's mother's mother's sister passed away - Aunt Rosa Belle was 94. She was one of my favorite relatives. She and I exchanged letters for many years until she couldn't remember who anyone was and until I got bogged down in changing diapers all day. Drew and I would always laugh because we knew what her letters would say before we even opened them up: she would always talk about what doctor she went to and how she told HIM what was wrong with her (if he didn't agree she usually, went and found another one), she would always talk about how old she would be on her next birthday - even if her birthday just passed the week before.
She made the best chicken-and-dumplings. I remember visiting her house growing up and that was what she always served us. When I asked for the recipe I got one written in the old-style - a pinch of salt, three hand fulls of flour, etc. I have yet to be brave enough to try it. (My anal self really needs to use teaspoons and cups!)
Her favorite relative was my father - forget that Betty was her great-niece - It was him she looked forwarded to seeing!
My favorite Rose Belle story was when I was in my first or second year at Ole Miss she was driving from her home in Bogalusa, LA to Texas to visit her sister when she had a car wreck in Baton Rouge. Since she refused to get out of the car, Uncle Iley did as well. Soon the state troopers realized she had a niece in town so he called my mother. Mom was finally able to get them convinced it was okay to in the ambulance and she would meet them at the hospital.
When Mom walked into the room Aunt Rosa Belle ask very frantically, "Do you have my purse?"
Mom said very calmly, "Yes, Aunt Rosa Belle, I have your purse, " thinking she was like the old ladies on Golden Girls always needing her purse with her.
Then Aunt Rosa Belle - still very frantically asked, " Does it still have my gun in there?"
Now Mom was the frantic one, "Your GUN!!!? Is it loaded?"
Aunt Rosa Belle said very calmly, "Of course, it's loaded. It's not any good if it's not loaded."
All Mom could think was that a state trooper just handed her a concealed-loaded weapon.
Aunt Rosa Belle was always just a hoot, but she also loved the Lord. I know that even if her mind was gone these last many years, she is now is heaven with a new body with a mind that won't ever forget anything again.