On November 15th, I said my “see my later” to my beloved aunt Anna Mae Garrard Dugger. At fifty-four years old, she left us way too soon. As with most funerals, it gave me a chance to see family I hadn’t seen in a while. Despite the circumstances, it was good to see my loved ones–those who have known me since I was a snot-nosed lanky kid trying to fit in.
Loved ones like Anna. Had a smile that could light up a stadium. I was always “Junior” to her, my childhood name. “James” is just a name with a suit and tie. It was Junior and a cousin who downed a whole bottle of Fred Flintstone vitamins as a ten-year-old, and Aunt Anna caught us chumping on the last of them like candy. But Anna knew better, so she rushed us to the hospital where the doc tricked us into drinking some unknown serum and a ton of water. Let’s just say I saw all those vitamins again in liquid form.
That was one of her favorite stories. We’d crack up everytime she told someone about it. And that’s what I’ll miss the most–that smile, laughter, the festive any-time’s-a-party mood. You get a small taste of her in the video above (that’s her in the white shirt doing the old-school two-step). That’s how I will always remember Aunt Anna Mae.
R.I.P, Aunt Anna. I love you.