Thursday, August 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Matilda!

It's pretty surprising how often I think of family members and even old friends who I have not spoken with in years - some even over a decade. But it's true. I'd say almost 2-3 days a week I am reminded of a long ago memory (both the good and sometimes not so good) that bring someone to mind..... and sometimes, I wonder if I've had any sort of impact on anyone that they are out there thinking of me??? Hopefully for the good.

Today brings to mind great memories of my Cousin Matilda. I'm not sure how old she tuns today but today 8/7 is her Birthday. I have not seen or spoken with her since my mom's funeral (May '99) although many times I have wanted to write her a letter and let her know how much she means to me. I bet she has no idea how deer she is to me.

I've always considered Matilda "the sister I never had." My parents were like second parents to Matilda. My Aunt Pearl, her mom (my mom's sister) died the year I was born when Matilda was just a teenager or early 20's? So after she went off to college...coming back "home" to her meant coming to our house - which I loved. It was always so exciting!

When I was a kid I remember her coming home to Kentucky for a week each summer to teach her basketball camps. She was the head women's coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks... and one time she brought one of her players home with her for the week. Betty someone? who we kids quickly nicknamed "Biscuit" b/c of how she set the record for the most number of my mom's biscuits eaten at breakfast.

Anyway, the highlight of any of Matilda's trips home, rather it be for the summer or for Christmas, was when she'd go back to her room and pull out of her suitcase a arm full of Razorback T-shirts! "I love those Hogs!"

I'd love to share a photo of all of us kids in our T-shirts with this blog post.... and if I were at my dad's house I'd hunt for the Polaroid of me and all of my cousins with our shirts on standing in front of my dad's fireplace doing the "GOOOOooooooo Pigggggggggg SUUIEEEE!" cheer. I'm not for certain, but it was either Stan or Danielle who would yell suiE too early... which they did on purpose for laughs so we'd have to start all over...

I can still see her kneeling in front of all of us lined up coaching us and teaching us the hand motions and we nearly raised the roof off screaming it as loud as we could... while out parents watched hoping we'd get it all out of our system before bed time. LOL

One time, Matilda's team had a game at Rupparena in Lexington, KY. Mom, Dad and I along with my cousin Cindy (same age as me) all went up to the game to watch her coach and cheer on the hogs. Cindy and I cheered our hearts out for the team and we were convinced that "Biscuit" could hear us cheering for her.

I remember sitting behind another "Hog Wild" fan who had a BIG red rubber HOG hat that covered her head... and how my Dad thought it was funny..... and how every time that girl would look over her shoulder he and I would snarl up our noses at her. We were pretending to be hogs... but I don't think she "got it" and instead just thought "we" were strange. LOL We had a blast!

Maybe one of these days, I will get around to writing my letter to Matilda... I'd love for her to know how much I appreciate the fact that she traveled from out of state to come to my high school graduation, and how she was there with me in the waiting room the day my mom had her brain tumor removed...

Matilda will always be special to me. In a lot of ways, I feel even more closer to her than I do my own brothers. I guess because growing up she came home more often than they did. What special memories. I'm so thankful to have them.

Happy Birthday 'Tilda - where ever you are, I hope you are finding happiness. I love you.


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