A Tribute To Audie

My mother’s maiden name was Barron.  Mom’s father was named Granville and her mother was named Jessie Mae.  Together they had eight children – six girls and two boys.  Mom was second in the birth order and Aunt Audine (Audie) was number four.  I think that Ruby and Audie were pretty much alike and they enjoyed one another.

My grandfather was a farmer, who died when he was forty eight years old from a heart attack.  There was a story that went around for a long time that he died after someone put broken glass in his whiskey bottle and he died as a result of that vengeful act.  I asked my Aunt Billy Ruth about it, at a family reunion and she said, “no, it was just a heart attack.” My grandmother was a homemaker who lived until she was 86.

Jessie Mae was a piece of work. She was about 5’-5 tall and somewhat chubby.  I will always remember her sitting in her rocking chair, with her obnoxious Chihuahua dog named “Toy”, sitting on her belly.  “Toy” did not like most people, and from my part it was reciprocal, I did not like “Toy”.  I did not like the constant barking, snarling of teeth, the bugged eyes, or even the dog’s name.  But he did take his office of “guard” dog seriously.  Grandma would just laugh and pat the shaking dogs head (this dog shook like Don Knott’s in “The Reluctant Astronaut”) and while speaking some words of condolences to “Toy”, presumably because “Toy” was not allowed to attack the relatives.  Jessie liked to dip snuff.  She had a large coffee can with a few sheets of paper towel stuffed inside to control the splatter, sitting on the floor next to her chair.  It was often my hope that “Toy” would somehow get into the can and…fade to black and a moment of silence.

Jessie did not always have the best hygiene.  Sometimes the residue of the snuff would linger around her toothless mouth, leaving a dark ring, in whole or in part.  It was at these times, her request was to give Grandma a little kiss.  The “forehead kiss” was invented just for such occasions.  She also worked in her flower bed, which you were not allowed to enter.  One summer day, we arrived at her house to find her working in her flower bed.  I’m not sure she was expecting company or it did not matter for she was wearing a man’s shirt and was without a bra.  That would not have been that big of a deal except the shirt had a silver dollar size hole in the left pocket and she was exposing herself.  The event caused my eyes to burn and my mind had daggers stabbing away the image and my mouth saying “I’m too young.  I’m too young for this.”  It always reminded me of a little handheld game we had which was a plastic square with three indentions that you tried to place a BB in each indentions.  If you got three BB’s in place, you won the game.  Her “BB” hit the indention.  Regarding her ability to keep clean, she was restricted due to her housing.  She rented a house for fifteen dollars a month.  It did
not have indoor plumbing.  So you could see some inherit problems right away.  She had another house she lived in for twenty five dollars a month.  It had a bathroom added on to the lone bedroom and it had a porch that was converted into a kitchen.  I’m not sure how often the bathtub was used, but she did have one.

She lived in Mingus, Texas.  Mingus is in Palo Pinto county and is south of Mineral Wells.  It has a population of about 235 people.  It seems like it has always had about the same amount of people.  In some ways, Mingus was symbolic of the Barron family.  When I was about fifteen, Mingus had a Baptist church; a post office; a gas station/garage; a grocery store; and nine bars/dance halls.  At the very least, one could say the Barron family was colorful.  Theus kidsy are/were a passionate, hardworking, fun loving family.

The thought of Aunt Audie always brings a smile to my face.  I never had to guess if Audie loved me or anyone else. You just knew it.  She was affectionate and kind.  She was encouraging and positive.  She had a sweet spirit and people would take advantage of her merciful heart.  Audie loved her two daughters, Diane and Janet.  They were always fun to be with.  Her family just seemed like an extension of our family.  I always enjoyed being in her presence.  I think both Mom and Audie had a bit of “theater” in them.  Each could and would schmooze with the best of them.  They each knew how to flirt playfully.  I’m sure that was beneficial to Audie in her work.

Audie was in the service industry.  At different times, she was a waitress, she owned her own café, and she managed a motel.  She was a “people” person.  She enjoyed taking care of people.  I’m sure that whoever sat at one of Audie’s tables were given generous amounts of “Hon” or “Darlin’”.

Audie was a good cook as well.  I remember her visiting with us, after my Dad died, Audie and Mom made fried pies that were incredible.  Far better that what we have locally.

Audie was living in Ranger, the last time I saw her.  She was remodeling her house.  Mom was spending some time with her, which she liked to do.  Terrie and I spent the night.  We had some of the sister’s good food and then visited for a while.  Before it was time to go the bed, Audie and Mom wanted me to pray for them.  We stood in a circle, holding hands.  When Baptist pray, it is usually one praying with an occasional “Yes, Lord” or other words of agreement.  When a Pentecostal prays, it’s a group activity.  Everyone is speaking and opening their hearts to the Lord.  I think there is a time and place for both types of prayer.  On this night, since I was praying, Mom and Audie gave way to the Baptist style.  As I was praying, Audie kept saying “Whoo, whoo”.  This was not a Baptist response and I did not recognize it as a Pentecostal response either.  As we were hugging and saying “Good Night”, I asked her what was going on with her as I was praying.  She said “The Holy Spirit was coming through your hands and given me an electric shock.”  Well, most folks don’t react to my prayers in that way, but that was Audie.  I went to bed with a smile on my lips and love in my heart for her.

Breast cancer invaded her body and she passed away in 1993.  Audie was buried in the Doty Cemetery outside of Gordon.  She chose this small, out of the way cemetery because her sister was buried there.  On the day of the funeral, the sun was bright, the air was warm and a gentle Texas breeze blew through the trees.  It was a day I think Audie would have liked.

Audine Barron Moore was born April 15, 1929 and died on April 6, 1993.

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