My aunt, Dixie Richards is my mom’s second to youngest sibling. She was always a soft-spoken girl, and still is to this day. Aunt Dixie, and her husband, Uncle Jim Richards have pretty much always been caregivers. They took care of members of his family, and later, they took care of members of her family. They both just have a caregiver’s heart, and though the work is hard, they pushed through the fatigue and got the job done. Being a caregiver is a hard job, and the people who do it can do it to their own detriment. I’m thankful that Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim are still with us after so many years of caregiving.

Their health probably did suffer some as a result of their years of caregiving, but their children, who have watched their parents’ years of service to others and learned to be great caregivers too. The girls have homes just steps from their parents’ home, and they all take meals together. It’s a nice way to help their parents and have that fellowship with them too. As the old saying goes, “children learn what they live.” It’s not that Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim’s kids are little anymore, but they have all learned to be caregivers, and now their children are learning to be caregivers too. It is such an honorable thing to do for your parents and grandparents. Having been a caregiver and part of a caregiver team for 17 years, I can tell you that there is much stress, heartache, lack of sleep, confusion, and lack of resources, that go along with that job. If a person chooses to take that task on, they should be commended, because they truly are superheroes. That is what Aunt Dixie, Uncle Jim, and their kids have been for a long time, and it is something they have done well. Each one of them have that caregiver’s heart, and it shows in all they do.

Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim have been daycare givers for a long time too…at least until their own grandchildren have grown old enough to take care of themselves. They initially ran an actual daycare, to which a number of my cousins and their children went, but later it was just their own grandchildren. It was a great blessing for all the children they cared for, and for their parents as well. Aunt Dixie, who was the main daycare provider during the many years that Uncle Jim worked, always made going there lots of fun for the kids. She is so kindhearted, and all the kids loved her. In fact, many of the cousins and their kids who went there, have told me just how fun their time there was. It was a wonderful blessing for all of them. Today is Aunt Dixie’s 79th birthday. Hapy birthday Aunt Dixie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When my mom married my dad, they moved from Casper, Wyoming to Superior, Wisconsin. My mom was young, and really unprepared for the loneliness she was going to feel by being so far away from her parents and their big family. My mom was the middle child in a family of 9 children, so she was used to having lots of people around her…sisters to talk to and do things with, and brothers to tease her and yet do the nicest things for her. It was all very new to her…being married, and yet very scary…being so very much on her own.

When she arrived in Superior, Wisconsin…as happy as she was, being married to my dad, she was still wondering if she would be able to make it in this new place, without her family. Then she met her new sister-in-law…my Aunt Doris. Mom tells me that Aunt Doris saved her, in many ways. She was a new friend when my mom really needed one, and they became great friends…friends for life…even after my Aunt Doris and my Uncle Bill, who is my dad’s brother, divorced.

Mom has told me many stories about the many escapades that she and my Aunt Doris went on. One of the funny things mom has told me about is the fact that they were always dieting…even though they weren’t really very heavy, and didn’t stick to their diets very long. I guess they thought that if they did it together, they would stick with it, and there are many people who feel that way today, although that is not particularly something that I ever found helpful. They tried several things including crackers with ketchup and warm water.

Mom also saw the funnier side of my aunt. When Aunt Doris got her dirver’s license, she was driving out to meet Uncle Bill at their cabin, and she was stopped by a police officer, who informed her that she was speeding. He asked her for her license, and then had to step away from the car for a moment. Without giving him her license, Aunt Doris just left and drove on to the cabin. When she told Uncle Bill about the stop, he asked to see the ticket. She said, “What ticket?” He said, “The ticket he gave you.” She said, “He didn’t give me a ticket. He stepped away from the car, so I just left.” Apparently, Aunt Doris thought he had decided to just forget it. Uncle Bill freaked out, thinking that the cops were going to come and arrest his wife. But the cop must have thought the whole thing was very funny, because he never came after her…a fact that I’m sure my Uncle Bill was very surprised about. Another case of a woman getting out of a traffic ticket, but the most unusual way out of a ticket I’ve ever heard of.

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