Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"She Smiled Alot", and, "She Loved The More"

Aunt Shirley Pickens Livingston made us kids smile, and had a winsome twinkle in her eye when she winked at us!

She was a gift from God, to her own parents, as well as to her brothers Herman Leon, and Joe. (Her only sister died of polio, too young for Shirley to know)

Shirley would wink at us, and cut-up, tickle us a little, and hugged us kids! I know she genuinely loved us all. I was not fond of liking girls at that stage of life, and would easily blush. I felt sure I backed-off from Aunt Shirley's kisses & hugs. Of course, that was on the surface, cause I really liked it, secretly, or I wouldn't have remembered the times!

Shirley was quiet a delightful aunt. Her presence was so pleasing, and I could tell she loved us nieces and nephews. She really loved Jim, her husband, and her boys, Tracy, Troy, and Russell.
I must have been no older than about 10, and now I recall something was different about Shirley. I now feel pretty confident as to why she was the way she was. Shirley loved Jesus, and wasn't ashamed of it. She was a very talented lady, could cook good, and had a love for crafts and art. I'm not sure, but it seemed she did some decoupage artwork on wood, and did some paintings on pots and ceramics, but I could be wrong, for boys don't try to remember all that kinda of stuff. I was busy playing with her sons, my cousins!
I barely recall Shirley, Jim, and a couple of boys, living in Jackson, TN, out by the airport. I sorta recall one Christmas, going to their home, and seeing a toy steel jetliner among the toy presents, which may have been my Christmas toy that year! The toy airplane would have been right at home at Uncle Jim's house, for Jim worked as a air-traffic-controller. He might have even worked close by, at McKellar Air Field, in Jackson, TN. Again, I maybe be wrong about that faint memory, too!

God had plans for Shirley, who only God would know about. Once day, back then, God said, "Shirley, I want you to be with me!", so, Shirley took her Father by the hand, and just went ran home to her heavenly home! Now that I know better, I imagine she just jumped-up in the lap of Jesus, with a twinkle and wink in her beautiful eyes!
When Shirley graduated to heaven, in about 1972, I recall all of us Pickens family, from Jackson, TN, driving up to the Kingsport, Elizabethan, TN, and Bristol, West VA, Tri-City area., and attended the memorial service. I recall the church ceremony being held at a white church, and the special music sang that day. I heard what may have been her favorite song, "One Day At A Time". That was a wonderful song to hear that day, and remains a favorite to this day!
As part of the memorial service, a family with kids sang, with their dad, and it seems one of the young boy, led out in these words, with the rest of the family singers echoing (Yes I love Jesus!)

Oh - ----------- Do you love Jesus?
Oh, yes, we love Jesus.
Are you sure you love Jesus?
Yes, we're sure we love Jesus.
Tell us why you love Jesus,
This is why we love Jesus ...
Because He first loved me.
Oh, how I love Jesus
Oh, how I love Jesus
Oh, how I love Jesus
Because He first loved me.
I only wish I had other memories to share with you, but my younger age prevents me from having any others right now. If I think of them, I'll share them.
I plan to share memories of Aunt Shirley, as other family members provide them to me.

That being said, I don't worry about Aunt Shirley today, for she fought a good fight, she loved people around her, especially her husband and boys, and now, Shirley is enjoying heaven, along with her dad Herman Lee, and mom Nellie Crawford Pickens!

Shirley would never get to meet her only sister, Doris Ruth, who was older, for Doris died at an early age.

But, the good new is that she now knows her sister, Doris, and they get to see one another everyday, for they both are in heaven together, along with their mom and dad!

Shirley is experiencing the joys and splendors of that heavenly city. That is a promise we have from The Holy Bible, where God has prepared a place for us to live.

Yes, "And she smiled alot", would be very appropriate in describing Aunt Shirley, but, I would say, "She loved everybody, even more!"