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And Her Name Was Dovie

7 Comments 23 July 2010

Yes, that’s what I said, her name was Dovie.  My Aunt Dovie died this week.  She was 97 years old and it was time for her to shake loose the shackles that held her here in this broken world.  As far as characters go, Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner could not have written a character with greater depth or humor than my Aunt Dovie.  She was, in and of herself a story and a storyteller.

I can close my eyes and see the inside of her house this very minute and hear her pitchy voice call me “Jorja Bea” or “Jorjie.”  She loved to recount for me the night that I was spending the night with she and my Uncle Afton (yes, you read that right, it is Afton) and he had a heart attack right there in the house.  They lived next door to my Nana and Gaga and she loved to tell me how she had to call next door for Doris and Percy to come and get me.  She also loved to tell me how Uncle Afton shared a birthday with Elvis and how Uncle Afton had also been a twin like Elvis, but that his twin had passed, just like Elvis.  This was all supposed to be of great significance to me because my birthday is January 9th and Uncle Afton and Elvis, well, their birthday was January 8th.  You see the significance right?  It was just a few years ago that Aunt Dovie sent me these pictures of my sister and I on her front porch and me in her yard with Uncle Afton’s dog Jerry.  (see the note that she wrote and sent with the pics!)

The point is, Aunt Dovie loved to tell stories, just tell stories, about most anything.  She could tell a story about the tomato plant out back in the garden or the quilt tossed across the back of the couch.  But she was lovely.  And the older she grew, the more contented she grew with her small and simple life.  Her life was about talking with the people in her life that she loved.  She really didn’t care about much else.  That is what she did until the day she died.  Her mind was sharp, she even liked to show out by counting backwards from 100 as often as we would let her.

My aunt says that if she learned one thing from Dovie it was that contentment is a beautiful thing.  Contentment is a difficult thing to learn.  Maybe it takes 97 years.  Dovie had lost her parents, her husband, her siblings, her daughter, and most of her friends…but she had stories to tell.

Stories are a powerful thing.

“The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order the continuous thread of revelation.”  Flannery O’Connor

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7 Comments so far

  1. SandyK says:

    Jeorgi, you were such a cute baby!!!!Wish I could have met your Aunt Dovie!

  2. Kristy says:

    Jorja Bea, I’m sorry about your Aunt Dovie but what a life it sounds like she lived! I’m sure I would have loved her; you know how much I love a good story and a good storyteller.

    On that note, your description of Dovie made me think of some children’s novels I think you would love by Deborah Wiles. EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS and LOVE, RUBY LAVENDAR and THE AURORA COUNTY ALL-STARS. They’re set in MIssissippi and include characters just as colorful as your Aunt Dovie sounds like she was. I don’t know if Mari-Helen has the patience or enjoyment of story enough to sit and listen to you read them, but if she does you’d probably love to read them that way. If not, then they’d each be a super-quick read for you. Lovely themes and lots of Mississippi flavor. 🙂

  3. Beautifully written, so full of emotion I could sense your eyes all welled up.
    Lucky are those of us who have such great characters in our lives. Luckier still when we realize it while they are still with us.

    Look at you Jorja Bea, a storyteller just like Aunt Dovie.

  4. Gigi :) says:

    COME ON MY JORJA!!!!! LET AUNT DOVIE “INSPIRE YOU.” I am waiting for my GUESS WHAT phone call that will release the info that you are WRITING YOUR FIRST BOOK. This is going on about the twelveth year that I have bugged you. GO FOR IT SWEEETIE. Lobve, AUNT GAIL 🙂

  5. Chastity says:

    As a read this i thought of the first time i met Aunt Dovie almost 5 years ago. It was my first dinner with your family as Parker’s girlfriend if i remember correctly, and as Parker introduced me to her, she began to ask about my family. She knew exactly who they were, and swore that Parker and i were related!! I have lots of funny memories of her, so i can imagine how many you guys have! She was an honest woman, as brutal as it may have been! Makes me smile just thinking about this sweet woman!! 🙂

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things to make you wonder~

“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them...” Annie Dillard

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