Blog 1736 – 06.25.2020
Today is my cousin Brenda’s birthday. She is the first girl that I ever kissed. We were five and she was so pretty and it seemed at the time the most appropriate praise. My brother and I were very close to Brenda and her siblings as her mother was my mom’s older sister and closest life-long friend. Brenda and I only shared one class in school together, Mrs. Lane’s fifth grade class at Clifton Hills Elementary School. Mrs. Lane was pretty too but not as pretty as my cousin Brenda. Clifton Hills was the second school we attended together. I attended with her also Hemlock Elementary, but I was only there for the first and second grades and we had different teachers.
The details of two first cousins’ school lives so many years ago may be of little interest to anyone else, but then it is the job of a writer to try to find something, entertaining, enlightening, and encouraging in what others might think at first uninteresting and mundane. Growing up I had no sisters only a mother, father and one brother, but I had several close cousins, among them pretty girl cousins, Brenda being, to me, the prettiest of them all.
Because Brenda’s younger sister Debbie had a different dad from her, whom she and their younger brother Billy closely resembled most folks thought Brenda was prettier. Brenda was her mother’s obvious pick and that of course caused resentments and other problems none of which were all Brenda’s fault. She could not help being pretty and being loved best is every child’s dream. A wise parent of two or more children tries hard to make them all feel equally loved. My Aunt Katherine for whatever her reasons did not seem to try very hard to show impartiality.
I have not seen my cousin Brenda in many years now, getting back to our home town of Chattanooga so seldom after both my parents passed. Sadly, I have only seen Debbie once in the last twenty years. When last I saw her she was living in a town several miles south of Chattanooga with one of her sons.
Brenda and I both had one daughter and one son (Not together for we were kissing cousins only and only shared the one kiss – we were from Tennessee after all not Alabama – just teasing Alabama folk). Brenda has spent most of her life with her one husband Ronnie on their farm on Signal Mountain which looms high above North Chattanooga, Red Bank, and other north and eastern Chattanooga bedroom communities. These are details that few but locals would know or call to mind. But, on Brenda’s special day, I thought that I would with a few words take this opportunity to share with the wider world that there is a pretty queen that reigns in the hearts of all who know and love her from her throne high atop Signal Mountain. This is a tribute to Birthday Brenda especially but also to all my cousins everywhere.
Happy Birthday Brenda, and all you lovely cousins out there and handsome ones too. Inside and out what a large and attractive family I have and I love you, each and all, trying my best to do a better job than my Aunt Katherine who did I am sure the best she could. She was a wonder sister to my mother, a wonderful aunt to me, and loved Debbie and Billy too, if Brenda perhaps a little too obviously more, easy mistake to make with the so outwardly pretty people.
Your friend and fellow traveler,
Brother and cousin too,
Beauty And The Beast