It is one of those reasons you would like to never grow old--the realization that you will receive one of those dreaded phone calls that you have lost someone near and dear.
For wife Nancy it was her dad. We had gone down to Gulf Shores on somewhat of an unexpected trip when the call came from Nancy’s brother that her dad had called and asked to be taken to the hospital. Ronnie told Nancy she needed to call and check on him. She did not know that was the last time she would be able to to that, but she really kind of did. When she hung the phone up she told me that he was not good.
Of course all of this is going on in the middle of Covid-19, so the procedure was to drop him off at the hospital as they were not allowing guests. We were eight hours away and there was nothing to do but to start packing.
After a few minutes Ronnie called and asked for Nancy. He told her that their dad had suffered a major heart attack and did not survive.
We called family and dispatched daughter Anna Lauren to the hospital along with others to check on Uncle Ronnie. We made our farewells to our Tunica friends, who were down to celebrate my old roommate’s 60th birthday.
We bid adieu and back home we headed. We had gone out to the stores and got all this wonderful food for the upcoming feasts we would partake of--smoked turkey, beef brisket, fresh gulf shrimp for boiling, the list goes on. My friends were kind enough to send me pictures.
We made it home and I was a bit tired from the trip so I hit the sack. Nancy stayed up until the wee hours, like 8:30 or 9 p.m. Friday, she got up and hit the road. I had some loose ends I had to tie up before going to Lula to help out where I could. I went to the office. Plans were for me to come later with the services being planned for Monday.
There are some really great tales to tell about Nancy’s dad. I did ask permission to marry his daughter and maybe in a round about way he approved. I have never seen anyone that could string jokes together like Mr. O’Briant. He would give you the shirt off his back. He knew quite well what it was like to be poor and have to quit school to take care of his family.
He sure helped us out more than once when we were a young couple and it really made a difference.
Yeah, Nancy knew the time would be coming soon. When your parent is 93, the days are limited. It was tougher this time because he had gotten lonely quarantining in his house for the past several months, but we did break the rules and see him on Mother’s Day. He even sang happy birthday to me the other day and it was not my birthday-I shall remember that.
February 10, 1927-
July 16, 2020