My aunt, Dixie Richards has been a caregiver for most of her life. Aunt Dixie was born in 1943 to George and Hattie Byer. She was the eighth of nine children. When she was born, her dad was 50 years old, and her mom was 34 years old. There were 16 years between her parents’ ages…not uncommon in those days. They married December 24, 1927. Her dad would pass away just 37 years later, and during his later years, she would be a big part of his caregiving and also her mom. Aunt Dixie was no stranger to caregiving or to having family living with you. Because her husband, my Uncle Jim Richards’ dad died when he was young, so Uncle Jim helped his family through the years.
Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim have been babysitters for their grandchildren and for a number of other kids too. Many of the children of her nieces and nephews have spent time in the Aunt Dixie Daycare. They all remember it fondly. Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim have always been there for their kids too, running errands while they were at work and unable to get away. They are the kind of people everyone knew they could count on. They had a heart of gold and would gladly give the shirt off their backs to help those around them in need.
Aunt Dixie always had a soft heart. She really hated to hurt anyone’s feelings. That was never made so clear to me than the time that she “adopted” the rooster that my mom, Collene Spencer had been given as a baby. Mom was sure that it was a hen, and she intended to raise it and have eggs for the family. Never mind the fact that raising chickens in town was illegal back then. I guess my mom was just ahead of her time, because these days it’s egal and lots of people raise their own chickens now. Sadly, for my mom, “Queenie” proved to be a rooster and not a hen, which presented my mom with a dilemma. What to do with “Queenie.” Keeping the “rooster that should have been a hen” was not an option, and she didn’t have the heart to kill and eat it, so she asked her sister, Aunt Dixie to take it and add it to her brood. Well, soft hearted Aunt Dixie did take “Queenie” and while I’m quite certain that the rooster became Queenie Noodle Soup at some point, I seriously doubt if Aunt Dixie ever told my mom that, and while Mom might have known it deep down, she never asked or assumed that her beloved “Queenie” was gone. I guess it was a matter of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Today is my Aunt Dixie’s 80th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Dixie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!