Saturday, February 16, 2013

Family Dinner and Maysey Craddock's art

This has been an exciting week for me friends. But before I get into too much of that I want to share with you some photos from our family friend's home in Memphis. After the funeral we had the most wonderful, small dinner with family at the Craddock's home. There were just 12 of us and we went around the room and told stories. We laughed so hard and it was just the most wonderful memory from the funeral week. 

The Craddock's are the saltiest salt of the earth people you would ever want to meet. Since none of Francie's immediate family were left living in Memphis much of the burden and tons of the loving was heaped on the family of the Craddock's. Bill and my uncle Johnny were the closest of friends. When John died, Bill made an extra effort to comfort Francie and Granddaddy during the loss of his close friend and their youngest son. Bill is also as close to a super star in my mind for helping the Episcopal Church and our clergy. But that is a story for another day. Just know I hold them in the highest regard and so did my grandparents. It made perfect sense that we all land at their home for great wine, a simple dinner and delicious conversation and rousing laughter.

Bill and Margaret moved into the coolest mid-century modern house a few years ago. I had to give you a sneak peek of the art work and cool space.

I think the home was built in the 50s. This floating Carrara Marble table was just the coolest. The console separating the living and dining room had enough space to set up our bar.

Their daughter Maysey is an extremely gifted artist. I was lucky enough to get to see her work in New York and even go to an opening once at the David Lusk Gallery in Memphis. 

I have always loved this piece she did on her take of their summer home in Perdido. The houses are all on stilts. Our grandparents had homes 50 yards from each other in Destin too. We found out at this fun dinner that Maysey's grandfather was the first boy to ever kiss Frances! My granddaddy and Big Bill were children together. She had never told me that, but I think it is precious. This painting reminds me of our little Destin house and the sea oats growing underneath and around it. It is the greeter when you enter Bill and Margaret's home. It speaks to me saying, "Come in. Let me comfort you and rock you like a cool breeze from the ocean." I love it to pieces.

Her wire sculptures are fantastic. These small rocking chairs just remind me of my grandparents. A perfect pair who again were married for 67 years. 

Maysey's bridges tug at my heartstrings too. Many of the bridges that connect shore to shore over the Mississippi are rusted out and impassable. She uses embroidery here to soften this rustic bridge and stitched it on reclaimed flour bags. Her work reminds me again of Francie, who taught me how to sew and do needlepoint. This piece was in the show I saw in person. I remember other bridges called the Three Sisters and old hoop skirts hanging from the ceiling that cast shadows on the walls. They sing of strong southern ladies. 

I happened to be in Memphis during my birthday. My aunt Susan and cousin Lucy surprised me with a cake the day before. It was such a treat to be with so many people I love and to celebrate the end of Francie's life, and one more year for me. 

Thank you Craddock family for being so good to our beloved Frances. She loved you all like her own. Thank you for the amazing hospitality in a time when all we really needed was to laugh and hear stories. Susan and Luce, thanks so much for the cake. It was fantastic. I love you all with the deepest part of my soul. Hoping everyone had a great Valentine's Day. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Celebration of the life of Mary Frances Keenan Averitt

My heart is heavy with sadness this week friends. My precious grandmother left us this past Sunday morning, February, 3, 2013. Super Bowl Sunday. Thankfully our Raven's won that night, making a very hard day have a silver lining. If you have been reading this blog for a while you know that Francie was a big part of my heart. We had the most wonderful visit in Memphis last May and she came to Stone Hill two times. I will cherish the videos I took of her for the rest of my days. She went back to the hospital last Thursday and was gone before we knew it. She was just ready, didn't suffer and was with her beloved niece Harriet who happened to be visiting that week for a routine visit. God's divine hand was in every second of this past  week. 

I arrived on Tuesday afternoon to help Harriet wrap up the details of Francie's apartment.  Harriet and my Daddy are like brother and sister. They grew up one block from each other in Memphis. Francie and Harriet's mother were sisters.  Even though we are cousins, I feel like we are more like aunt and niece. We laughed and cried, but laughed more than cried for sure. I insisted that we take pictures in her Go To Hell hats and set the camera self timer for this shot. It was just Dad, Harriet and me for dinner and we seriously had the best time. I can't recall a time ever where I had the pleasure of dining with my Dad and my godmother Harriet. We are always surrounded by so many family members. We laughed until we cried at dinner and I had to shush Daddy he got so loud. It was awesome. Laughter through tears is my favorite quote Dolly Parton.

The service was held where Francie had been living the last three months where she could get more full time care. The chapel was the perfect location for the visitation and service. There was a comfort finding out it was Episcopalian and meeting the woman priest made me so happy. Knowing the service, the words going into something hard made it a touch more easy. Dad asked me to read Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 which I did miraculously after taking a huge deep breath. I lost it afterwards hearing our friend Bill Craddock read Psalm 23. 

The preacher was from Second Pres. and did a great job explaining that Frances is rejoicing in heaven. She taught me how to pray and was truly the most positive, light filled person you have ever met and he put an exclamation point on that fact. We sang Holy, Holy, Holy and Abide With Me. 

When we were at the cemetery I couldn't pay attention to a word that was being said. I just stared at this gorgeous tree the whole time thanking God that Francie and Granddaddy are partying it up with Jesus.

My grandparents were married for 67 years!


I loved getting to visit with Susan, Lucy, Will, Alex, Harriet and meeting so many of Francie and Granddaddy's friends I had heard about for years. Family really are the best part of funerals, plus the motorcycle cops leading to the cemetery. Mom wasn't able to make it but her brother's and many of my Tayloe cousins were also able to come. I had a great visit with Chip and Louise and stayed with them again. The Craddock's had a very small gathering for just family that evening for dinner that I'll post about separately. It was the best part of the week.

Dad telling stories with Will and Alex. 

Mac, Harriet, Dad and me at Memorial Park.

I got home safely on Thursday and it hit me that I can't just pick up the phone and speak to Francie anymore. Eric took me to Gertrude's for my surprise vegetarian birthday dinner and I cried remembering how much fun we had with her at the restaurant during the 2010 Thanksgiving weekend. I am so happy she didn't suffer, but I'm still sad. 

She is truly in every corner of my heart and our home. We have pot holders that were knit by her, quilts and blankets stitched with love, paintings and hand sewn embroidery hang on our walls. Plus every memory of trips to Disney, Destin and the lake. It just feels like the end of an era with her gone and I'm going to miss her like crazy.  

Harriet and Daddy, thank you for all you did this past week. Your plans made it easy for all of us to come together to mourn, laugh and visit in the short time we had together. For all who weren't able to join us, know you were missed and with us in spirit.

Published: Commercial Appeal, The (Memphis, TN), February 5, 2013MARY FRANCES KEENAN AVERITT, 94, lifelong resident of Memphis, died early Sunday morning after a brief illness. She was predeceased by her beloved husband, Richard Douglas Averitt, Jr., after 67 years of marriage. Frances was the youngest daughter of John and Bertha McWilliams Keenan. She attended Cummings Elementary School, Bellevue Junior High and Central High School. After attending Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, Virginia, she married her childhood sweetheart and began a long and useful life as a homemaker, volunteer, and businesswoman. Mrs. Averitt was an active member at Second Presbyterian Church, where she was president of the Women of the Church, member of Martha and Mary Circle, a member of the choir, and circle devotional leader. Her PEO Chapter B was an important part of her life, as was her King's Daughters Circle. Mrs. Averitt was a member of Les Passees and served as chairwoman of the Cabaret in the early 1960's. After rearing her two sons, Mrs. Averitt started and ran Forty Carrots when Overton Square first opened. Upon retirement, Destin, Florida became a regular destination and the Averitt's cottage, "Averitt's Favorite", became a favorite gathering place for friends and family, thanks to Frances and Doug's generous hospitality. The Averitts resided at Town Village for several years and more recently Frances lived at Trezevant Terrace. Besides her husband and parents, she was predeceased by her youngest son, John Warren Averitt, and her sisters, Rosalie Keenan Watkins and Bertha Warren Keenan. She is survived by her son, Richard Douglas Averitt III, of Kalamazoo, MI; daughter-in-law, Susan Lange of New York City; grandchildren, Nelle and Eric Somerville, Mac and Elise Averitt and their son, Andrew McWilliams, and Lucy Averitt Lange; niece, Harriet Watkins Porter and her husband, Alex; great-nephews and their children, Christopher and Renee Porter, Will and Rosemary Porter, and Sam and Stephanie Porter. Having no family in Memphis, Frances was surrounded by a host of loving friends who became her family in every way. Frances was recently devoted to Lilly Rogers, her friend and helper in the past few months. Funeral services will be held at the chapel at Trezevant Manor on Highland at Waynoka, at 2 p.m., February 6, with a visitation at 1:30 p.m. in the chapel, and interment in Memorial Park immediately following. The Reverend Robin Hatzenbueler will officiate.Family Funeral Care (901)761-8000--------------
Copyright (c) 2013 The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN