She loved Christmas more than any adult I had ever known. And, she loved her birthday too. She would begin months before her birthday and excitedly say, “It’s almost my birthday!” And, it is almost her birthday.
Fifteen years ago today, on a Wednesday afternoon, only 10 days before her birthday, Jeanine Kay Ogle died. The 20th of this month she would have been a young 59 years. So, this time of year, and especially this day, are at best bittersweet. At this stage of my life I don’t dwell on any unpleasant memory on purpose because I have so many wonderful memories that litter my history like fall leaves on a mountain trail.
That remarkable woman was my wife and best friend for over 17 years. She was rigidly independent, the most intelligent person I have ever known, and the most loyal person I can imagine. Her laughter was loud and consistent, and often at the expense of those she loved most. One trait that I both admired and dreaded was her unvarnished honesty. I was not a good idea to ask Jeanine a question if you didn’t want her truthful answer. Sometimes that was very awkward. She didn’t mince words when she gave her opinion but I seldom believed she meant any ill will toward those she sometimes offended by her bluntness.
Jeanine’s memory and the memories associated with her are priceless. I hope I was as good to her as I should have been, or as much as she deserved. It’s that time of year when I think most about her, at least at one time. Grief is nasty, it never stops hurting deep in the recesses of your heart. But, life is for the living and as she often said, “Bubba, when I die I want you to get married as quick as you can because you are helpless, you need a wife.” She was right and now for over 13 years Carol Jane has been my wonderful gift from God to love, laugh, and live with. She is my beautiful, talented, generous, loving companion and I am very, very thankful for her and my family.
One day someday there will be a family reunion. I don’t understand all I know about it but I do know that all of God’s children will be there at the table. It’s something wonderful to look forward to isn’t it?
To all of Jeanine’s family. I am so thankful that each of you still include me as family. I feared that would not be the case, it often isn’t. But I should have know better, knowing you. Your children call me Uncle Royce, you still refer to me as your brother-in-law. I would rather have that than a rail road pension. I love you very much.