The past few weeks of my life have been crazy. Rush here and there....shovel a bit of food in my mouth....shower...sleep....rush rush again. I finally have this day free to catch up on some much needed housework!
Cleaning is a chore that most people do only occasionally....when it becomes impossible to lay on the bed or walk across the floor without stepping on something. I've been that housekeeper for the past two weeks! Piles of....stuff....laying around and I just haven't had time or energy to focus enough to do something with it all. Now when I clean house....I really clean house. My closets are emptied of anything that is out of place, I get rid of more toys from the kids room, get rid of more clothes, rearrange drawers and straighten linen closets. Sounds like spring cleaning, eh? But this is what I do each time I clean my house. On less busier months, I do it twice a month. Crazy maybe, but it is what makes me happy:)
Today I was pulling things down from the highest shelf in my closet and I came across my little box of special things. I am not one to save much....not a pack rat by any means. But this box that sits in the top of my closet holds things that might look like junk to others....but is precious to me. I know I've blogged about some of it's contents....those that jump out and poke me in the eye on the occasions that I open the box. Today a card was the culprit.
"Happy Birthday to a Terrific Sister. We cannot pick our sisters like an apple or a pear, we cannot pick and choose them like we do the hat we wear...To think of all the other ones I might have gotten---whew! Wasn't I the lucky one to get one just like you!
Happy Birthday Alisha. I love you and am very glad I have sich a unique sister! Love, Ricky Tipton Jr"
This was the last birthday card my brother ever bought for me. Most people don't save cards...but I do for this simple reason. I never know if it will be the last that someone I love buys for me. A card is something simple....there are hundreds to choose from. Takes a mere minute or two to pick one out...especially if you're a man! But I remember standing in front of the card aisle at Walmart with Ricky, picking Mother's Day/Father's Day/birthday cards. He wasn't one to pick the first one that popped into his hand. He was like me....standing there laughing over a funny card, tearing up over a sappy one....he took care in picking them, and I witnessed this many times. Even on this card he scribbled a cute note about a picture of one of the cartoon girls that were printed inside.So I know he read it before he bought it...and I know he bought it for a reason that stretched beyond convieience.
The best part of this card is his hand writing. That is the real reason I am writing this blog. I can still close my eyes and see him practicing his signature. He was proud of his name.....he was a Junior and dern proud of it. Ricky Wayne Tipton Jr. It wasn't odd to find his name scribble across any empty surface....he was very proud of it and he worked so hard to mimic my dad's signature. Small sloppy letters. A longer cross on the T. Even his Jr resembles the S that my dad makes on his Sr. He wore his name with a pride that I don't see too often anymore. Maybe it's because so many people think that making your son a Jr is over-rated? I don't know. What I do know is that in MY family....carrying on your dad's name was an honor.
I love to look at his handwriting....it reminds me that he was a real person and not someone that existed only in memories. His handwriting immortalizes him in a way. The handwriting never changes....his senior picture sits on the shelf beside my phone and his smile never changes. This December marks 10 years since his death. 10 years. A blink and a breath.
Time loves to sneak up and steal the days from us. On one hand it's good....these past ten years don't seem so long ago. I can close my eyes and see him waving goodbye to me as walked out the bank doors that day. That memory is as fresh as it was on the day it happened. I can still see him chewing...his mouth too full of food...trying to cover a laugh with his hand, a habit he picked up from being self conscience of having big front teeth that he finally grew into only a year before he died. I can see him so vividly in my mind.
I miss him beyond belief....that is something that time can't change. I wonder what kind of person he'd be today. I wonder if he'd be married...and who he would be married to. I wonder if he'd have any kids yet...what would their names be? I am 100% certain that his first boy would be a third. Would he be living in Mississippi or would he have ventured off somewhere else? So many questions that I will never know the answers to...because he was never given the time to fill in the blanks.
Reading this card today and thinking about Ricky...remembering him and the little quirks that made him....HIM made me realize....
Time is a thief....but memory is it's antonym.