Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sweet Dreams, Dear Lady

Strong southern women, many-faceted diamonds dripping honey, are not as common as they used to be.  Today, we say goodbye to one of the best, Jimmie Nell Robertson Oliver.

I met Jimmie Nell when Hub and I were first married, as one of many new cousins.  Her sister, Ruth, ran the Kriesman's Ladies Shop downtown, so in addition to new family members, I married into the family discount at that great store!

We didn't see a lot of each other for years, until after Jimmie Nell retired.  More than a decade ago, I started having a Christmas tea for some of the older cousins.  Jimmie Nell always came and delighted us with stories of her childhood and the early years of her career.  My granddaughters loved being there and hearing the stories.

One Christmas many years ago, a little two-year old decided she would dance for us.  I had bought her a little tutu (and what two-year-old girl doesn't like tutus?) so I suggested that she might want to put it on for dancing.  She left, then returned a few minutes later buck-naked except for the pink tutu around her waist.  All of us managed to keep straight faces while she danced, but it has been one of the favorite memories of our Christmas teas.  The little girl still dances, but always fully clothed now.

The last time I talked to Jimmie Nell, she was cheerful and told me she was loving every day she got to live.  After years of struggling with breast cancer, she had just gotten weary and opted out of any further treatment. "For crying out loud," she said, "I'm ninety years old and I'm tired of it."

She saw many changes during those ninety years, and I think the world is a better place for her journey here.  Rest in peace, Sweet Lady.  You will be missed.