Why would anyone call their self gumbo? Because it fits, that’s why! This is me with Audrey:
I told Audrey her story would make it to my blog sometime early last week after our plane ride together on Monday evening. Well, my schedule was pretty full at the 2012 Cattle Industry Convention and my attention span was not conducive to sitting down and writing. Finally, Audrey, here it is…
So, why, do you ask, is Audrey’s story worth sharing? Well, first of all, I think EVERYONE has something worth telling. Audrey is one of those ladies who absolutely loves life and glows with joy! I don’t even know how to describe my first impression of her – I was on my second very tiny plane of the day and really didn’t care if anyone sat beside me because the seats were so small. Down the aisle comes this beautiful woman, dressed in a gorgeous coat and business suit with a dress hat, and right beside me, she sits. Well, here we go…cordial greetings are exchanged and I can tell right away, I knew the flight from Chicago to Nashville is going to go by quickly. 🙂
Audrey grew up in New Orleans, one of 14 children (I hope I remember that correctly). She was more than familiar with farm life from when she was a kid. Her dad was a postman and her mother ran a tavern, which they lived behind or above or someplace very nearby. Audrey learned to cook at a young age and loves all kinds of good food! Alright, I know that isn’t all that special – everyone loves some kind of food. Now, Audrey has raised 10 children of her own and it’s one of her sons who has become the favored cook in her family. I heard all about their Thanksgiving dinner of ham, chicken, turkey, grits, salads, desserts, and her favorite, black-eyed peas! Now, you have to read that imagining a beautiful, passionate southern voice to make it resonate. I have to admit, I was a little sad they didn’t have prime rib, me being the beef person…
Audrey has lived in Chicago now for many years and her family completely surrounds her – in the townhouse building that she owns. To hear her describe it, her children and grandchildren have made it a wonderful place and her favorite spot to hang out – at the bar that one of them built-in! 🙂 Just because one is 77 years old does not mean they should stop enjoying a Heineken or nice glass of Crown Royal – That piece of advice from her is one I will certainly take to heart! That family celebrates birthdays to the extreme – plated dinners, decorations, the whole works!
Audrey has worked all of her life, retiring only 5 years ago. She has raised her own children, all of whom have college degrees, many of them, Masters Degrees, and now the grandchildren are well on their way to being highly educated. Besides her own brood, Audrey has helped along all kinds of children from their neighborhood and the school where she worked. In her words, “Everyone remembers me and how I helped them.” She took all of her kids on vacations (usually in two shifts/place because of age & quantity, LOL!) and visited every place in the world where her daughter was stationed while in the military. She is so fortunate!
I discovered that sisters over the age of 62 (that is the minimum age for attendance at an annual gathering, as their children are not allowed to know what they do) can have a very, let’s say, risque, party – ANNUALLY! A number of years ago, the sisters started having a pajama party the last weekend in October – four years ago, the lovely ladies started adding some paid entertainment to their party & they all continue to look forward to that weekend every year! Now how is that for motivation to keep going in your golden years?!
So, to wrap this up, getting back to the whole “gumbo” comment. Audrey told me that she is part Native American, part French, part Jamaican (I think) and part Black. Those are all her words. So I said, “Oh, you’re just like me, a mutt!” She says, “being from Louisiana, I like to call myself gumbo.” Gumbo couldn’t be more fitting, and I couldn’t have been more inspired by her sweet southern voice and passion for everything in her life.
Audrey, I hope you get to read this and I hope you enjoy many more years with your wonderful family! Thank you for your family’s service to our great nation and thank you for being a wonderful, charming example to so many people!
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