Well, today is my birthday. Actually it is a birthday milestone of sorts as I can now draw my "rocking chair" money. If I didn't want to eat or pay bills.
I've told you stories of my early years, haven't I?
About how my hospital bill was only $25.00?
And how I was named after Rita Hayworth?
Did I ever tell you that back in the early 1950's the new mothers were encouraged to stay in bed for ten days? That meant Mama and Daddy stayed with Grandma and Grandpa for ten days after I was born. My cousin was born nine days after I was. Just as Mama and Daddy were leaving Grandma's, my Aunt was beginning her ten day confinement there.
Did I ever tell you that my youngest Uncle is only two years older than I am? (He is the "three words the whole way to Oklahoma City Uncle). Mama said he thought I was his baby and would have crossed Main Street to bring me back to Grandma's if a neighbor had not called to ask her if she was missing one of her kids.
Mama said I would have starved if Grandma had not fed me milk gravy off the table. I still love gravy but I do not like the Pet milk formula they put me on.
There is a picture of me as a tiny baby with Mama and Daddy in front of Aunt Maggie's little house. It is the only picture I remember seeing of the two of them together. I wish I knew where it is.
My cousin Jimmy and I had our pictures taken together downtown at Collier's Studio. They said I called him Shimmy. They said he didn't like it. My first taste of heartbreak was when Jimmy died at fifteen.
I have a tiny scar on my middle finger from where it got caught in a fold-up baby carriage. Mama said Daddy threw it out in the yard.
I do not remember my Daddy ever raising his voice with me. He was an intelligent yet quiet man with a quick wit.
Mama was a city girl who moved to a small town in Arkansas and grew to love Daddy's people.
I don't remember my brother as a baby but I do remember when my sister was born. I thought Mama was too old to be having babies. She was 25.
All those nights Grandpa called my name in prayer have paid off. I have had a very blessed life.