Rest in Peace, Aunt Shirley

I have no idea how long this will be for a few reasons, and only one of them being because I’m writing it on my phone. But I wrote a whole mess of words about a guy I barely knew in my last post. How can I possibly write less about a member of my family? Well…I’m more private about my family than I am people I barely know for one… But also, I’m sad to say that my family is a lot like yours probably is… Sometimes individual members don’t see each other for extended stretches and you don’t have as much to say. Such is the case now–but that doesn’t make us any less family or the death any less sad.

…and with no offense to anyone else in the family, Shirley was always one of my favorites.

Shirley was not well for about the last year of her life. Good news is she’s fine now. Bad news is that our family lost one of our most colorful, hilarious, tell-it-like-it-damn-well-IS members. Shirley was a wonderful person with a wicked sense of humor and wit so sharp it could cut through marble. You never wondered where she stood or where you stood with her. She would sometimes come across abrasive but she didn’t want to hurt a fly–she was just honest and smart and funny.

In a lot of ways, Shirley was everything I hope to be some day if I ever grow up–God forbid! And I’m going to miss her more than I would’ve known if you’d talked to me before 1:00 this afternoon.

When Shirley started having serious health problems last year, I was quoted as saying, “She’s got to get better. We need her.” I’m very sad that she’s gone. But I am glad that her year of suffering is over and now she gets to be herself again–probably more herself than ever. And I bet it took her a while to get past St. Peter. Oh, not for theological reasons, but because she was probably throwing out zingers at every entrant coming up behind her–Heaven just got a lot more fun.

One of the things I always remember about Shirley is that when I was a kid, I really wanted a metal detector. (I don’t know either. I sucked when I was a kid.) Shirley (and Uncle Benny) bought me one from Radio Shack. It wasn’t much to write home about and I never found anything with it…but I had my fun. And the last time I saw Shirley, she asked me if I still had it. I laughed at the memory and so did she, and I said, “No, I gave up the metal detector for the guitar.” She laughed and said, “Well you’ll probably get more girls that way.” Vintage. (The truth, by the way, is that I accidentally left it in Kevin Garrison’s garage, and I don’t know what ever happened to it or him…sorry Shirley.)

Rest well Shirley. Save me a spot at the cool kids’ table up there.