It’s Like This By Bob Palmer

Long drive to a funeral
A spate of family funerals in recent weeks brought back recollections of an earlier loss of a relative.

 

The memories began checking in like firemen answering a siren almost as soon as I hung up the phone. My cousin, Pete, had called to let me know that his mother, my Aunt Ruthie, had died.

 

It’s strange how some of the oldest recollections are the strongest. The four-hour drive on a beautiful Sunday afternoon gave me ample time to reflect.

 

Ruth Palmer did a wonderful job spoiling her nieces and nephews. She was the type of woman who could listen all four verses of If I Had A Hammer sung by an off-key 13-year-old and tell him when he finally stumbled to a finish that he had a wonderful voice.
Certainly, we had interacted many times, if not often, over the intervening years. She and my Uncle Lloyd had lived in Oklahoma City, Dallas, Austin and Missouri. Recently, they had returned to Oklahoma City, the place of her youth and the home of most of my childhood memories of her.

 

Perhaps, it was because we were driving to Oklahoma City, that I could recall playing in the rain that summer afternoon.

 

The cousins were on the loose in the big city and we were caught in a shower. The girls sprinted home, but Pete urged me to run barefoot with him in the gutters, splashing water as we went. We didn’t have gutters on our street in Mount Pleasant then and it seemed like a lot of fun.

 

When we got home, we found that the girls had tattled on us, although it did not require the services of Sam Spade to see from our soaked hair and clothes what we had been doing. Aunt Ruthie gave us a stern lecture about tonsillitis and the hazards of broken beer bottles, but we avoiding the spanking that I expected.

 

There was also the time Pete and I went hunting…

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