A Day In The Life

Aunt Ava Mae
July 7, 2007, 11:37 pm
Filed under: Family


My Aunt Ava Mae was a beautiful woman.   She is seated in the picture above, holding one of her three sons.  Her oldest child is on the ground in front of her and her youngest wasn’t born when this picture was taken circa 1952.  Aunt Ava Mae married Uncle Jack in 1943.  Uncle Jack is standing between my mom on the right and another aunt.  Ava Mae was my mom’s sister. 

Uncle Jack was a geniune Louisiana Cajun and he and Aunt Ava Mae truly knew the meaning of laissez les bon temps rouler.  Every memory I have of spending time with them is packed with good times, good food and laughter.   There was always shrimp, spicy corn-on-the-cob, tamales in corn husks and watermelon.  I’m sure they served other food, but I don’t remember it.  And we always seemed to have watermelon seed spitting contests in their backyard.   Their house was full of music.  Sometimes the twang of a Cajun fiddle, sometimes Louis Armstrong and I remember Aunt Ava Mae and Uncle Jack dancing in their living room as Floyd Cramer’s “Last Date” played on the turntable.  Aunt Ava Mae had a laugh that encompassed an entire room.  It was impossible to stay detached from a laugh that exuded so much joy. 

Aunt Ava Mae took me to Mass whenever we visited her in Louisiana and my little Protestant soul was enthralled with the beauty and mystery of the Catholic liturgy in Latin.  I loved wearing the lace cap that Aunt Ava Mae provided and the kneeling and standing and kneeling again throughout the service.   She was a woman strong in faith which helped carry her through the sorrow of losing Uncle Jack in an automobile accident in 1967.  The wake was held in Uncle Jack’s childhood home.  The old house was full of people celebrating Uncle Jack’s life with stories and memories.  At some point before dark, I was playing alone in the backyard and Aunt Ava Mae came out to use the privy.  She began to weep as soon as she closed the door.  I can still hear her muffled crying through the wood walls.  I was only eight years old and I was frozen with indecision as to what to do in the presence of such raw pain. 

Several years after Uncle Jack’s death, Aunt Ava Mae and her sons moved back to her home town in Arkansas.  Her house was still full of good food, good times and laughter and the doors were always open.  The house rocked with the busy lives of teen-aged sons.  She eventually married again and one-by-one her sons left home for college or the military.  Aunt Ava Mae stayed active in her church and in the community and there were numerous trips to visit her children and grandchildren. 

Aunt Ava Mae declared her independence from this earthly life on July 4, 2007.  My last moments with her were shared with my mom.  The three of us talked and laughed until Aunt Ava Mae told us she was tired and wanted to sleep.  Thirty-six hours later, with her sons at her side, she left us.  Laissez les bon temps rouler  in glory,  Aunt Ava Mae.  I love you.   


8 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I am so sorry for your loss. It is nice that you have such great memories of her. A wonderful post celebrating her.

Comment by Debbie

What a beautiful tribute.

Comment by Jenster

It sounds like she departed most peacefully. I’m sorry though for you and your family who will miss her.

What a fantastic photo!

Comment by Angelina

She sounds like a wonderful person. Very nice tribute.

Comment by Betty

What a beautiful, beautiful story of a life well lived. You certainly did her proud in your telling of it. Let the good times roll, Aunt Ava Mae!

Comment by gawilli

I’m so sorry. She sounded like a wonderful woman – i would have liked to have known her.

Comment by Karmyn R

that was a treasure to read.
The tears in the privy made me want to hug her.

Comment by Pamela

[…] I’ve attended three funerals.  Three ladies from my home town church, one of whom was my aunt , have passed on to glory.  While their passing is sad for those of us they left behind, I know […]

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