|Grandpa and Grandma Howell and their nine children|
Elbert & Lula Sisco Howell
Momma (Thelma), Aunt Glenda, Aunt Sandra and Aunt Shirley
Uncle Kenneth, Uncle Bobby, Uncle Cecil, Uncle John, Uncle Donald
When I was growing up, we were very close to both of my extended families. We lived closer to my paternal family, but went home to Grandpa and Grandma Howell's place every Sunday afternoon. Momma had eight siblings so there was always more than a house full of us. Kids running and playing in every direction; adults scattered around the house and spilling over into the yard. Meal time was like a feast.
Grandpa and Grandma were not church going people, at least not that I ever knew. I'm not saying they weren't Christians, only they and the Lord knows that answer. They were hard working people who loved their family. Momma says that she can remember times when Grandpa would work in the fields all day, come in and take a nap in the chair, then get up and go to the factory to work the late shift, never even removing his shoes during the 24 hour period.
I remember them as cheerful, loving grandparents. Grandpa always wanted to play a game of checkers or Rook and Grandma just liked to sit and talk. I regret not having spent more time with them as I grew older. I spent many hours in their home as a child. I remember those times with such fondness and love. I can hear Grandma laughing and see her belly giggling as she did. As children, we thought that was so funny...that her belly giggled everytime she laughed! Grandpa was always pulling pranks on us.
Grandpa and Grandma outlived two of their sons. Uncle Cecil died in 1993 of heart disease and Uncle Donald died in 1996, also of heart disease. Grandma died in 1999. She had Alzheimer's Disease, as well as heart disease. Uncle John and Grandpa died on the same morning, in the same hospital, in rooms next door to each other. Uncle John had visited Grandpa on Sunday afternoon and had sat at his bedside crying and telling us that he and his Daddy would go to meet Jesus on the same day.
On Tuesday morning, about 7 a.m. we received the call that Uncle John had passed. Then, about an hour later, another call came saying that Grandpa had passed as well. Uncle John had heart disease, diabetes and had developed liver disease as a result of the diabetes. Grandpa was 93 and had enjoyed good health all of his life.
Momma went to be with Jesus on April 20, 2006. She joined her parents and three brothers in heaven, as well as her precious baby girl, whom she never got to see while residing here.
My family gave me roots that still run deep and wings to reach out and find my own path in life. Grandpa and Grandma Howell didn't go to church, but they lived honest, sacrificial lives for their family, lives of integrity.
Roots and wings............what more can a family really give you?