There were many stories that surfaced during our family reunion on Saturday, but I thought I’d capture one that features my cousin “Eddie”. At some point, he said of himself: “I used to go by Eddie, but I eventually dropped the ending an opted for Ed”. He mentioned previously running across an old friend from high school who called him “Eddie Don DeMoss”. He said, “Wow! That took me back in time.”
Ed – Eddie – Eddie Don – Eddie Don DeMoss? Identify the name anyway you want, but he is the cousin that occasionally reads about three lines of what I’ve written before he loses interest and moves on to something else. Since I’ve included his name four times in the first three sentences, I suspect I’ll hold his attention.
Actually, I had forgotten that Eddie’s middle name was Don, but in thinking back, I do recall that his mother routinely called him Eddie Don. At the time, I was called Donnie, so it never occurred to me that we had the same name. Eddie is a graduate of Permian High School and a year older than Ronnie and me. Actually, he is two years older. I think he said he was seventy-one.
He asked me, “Was it you or Ronnie that stayed for the basketball game between Permian and Ector? I made the winning shot and I didn’t even know it until the next day. I guess you could say ‘I was the hero, but the disclosure came too late for me to enjoy the sensation of victory’. No one knew we won until the following day”.
Honestly, was he for real? Could he be delusional? Was he on a Rocky Mountain high? “No” is the short answer for the last question I posed. That would be totally out of character for him even though he does live in Colorado. He probably wasn’t delusional either. He grew up Methodist, but he always towed the line. His mother would have boxed his ears if he ever colored outside the lines.
Eddie has never been tall enough to play basketball! Actually, I don’t know if that’s true or not, because I couldn’t walk and dribble a basketball at the same time. Consequently, I never stayed for a basketball game. For that matter, I wasn’t tall either.
My aunt mentioned Eddie’s dad. She said, “L.V. was always so much fun to be around. When he was a young man and beginning to date, he’d sing and dance around the house and ask: “Mama, Mama – Do I look good?” Grandma would always respond: “If you act half as good as you look, you’ll be just fine”.
My aunt mentioned that in their later years, after she and her older sister were widowed and Uncle L.V. was a widower, they went shopping with him in Dallas. He knew exactly what he wanted only he had to see it first. Everywhere they took him, nothing seemed to be exactly what he had in mind. The older sister said, “Well, there’s only one other store we haven’t tried. Do you want to go to Neiman Marcus?”
Wouldn’t you know it, Neiman’s had the perfect suit and he didn’t even flinch at the price. Some time later he accompanied my oldest aunt to the First Baptist Church in Nocona. He reportedly was dressed in his Sunday’s best? A friend of my aunt saw the two of them together and purposefully paused long enough at the entrance to the church to get an introduction. She was shocked when my aunt introduced him as her brother. She responded: “Oh shucks, I thought you had a gentleman friend.”
The lady latter reported to a friend who lived in the small community where my uncle grew up, that she had met my aunt’s brother and that he was very handsome. The friend responded, “If you think he looks good now, you should have seen him when he was a young man! He was the most handsome man and you couldn’t have found a nicer person or better gentleman anywhere”.
My cousin interjected: “He heard someone once say about the DeMoss family, ‘They are good people. The DeMoss family wouldn’t steal a pound of cotton from you.’ The expression seemed a little strange to me, but I’m accepting at face value that it is a genuine compliment. However, when I think of cotton, I think lightweight. How much cotton would you have to steal to get a pound of cotton? In case you’re struggling to find the right answer, the answer is “a pound”.
Law-abiding, self-respecting and God-fearing were the mainstay of the party line my grandmother expected of her children. As luck would have it, their children passed on those three characteristics to their grandchildren as well.
I turned to my cousin Eddie as asked: “In what way are you most like your dad?” I’m not sure what I expected for an answer. My uncle was one of the most positive people I’ve ever known. He dreamed big and he was always up for the next adventure and business opportunity. His life was filled with adventure and far away places. His work was oilfield related. He was in Cuba under the initial reign of Fidel Castro. Reportedly, it was a close call. He got out of he country just in time. He also worked in both Venezuela and Argentina for a number of years. Every time I hear the song, “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”, I think about my uncle and the excitement of faraway places. He always had the most interesting stories and the pot of gold was always just around the next corner at the end of the rainbow. He loved life and nothing slowed him down.
There was any number of things that Eddie could have chosen to respond to my question: “In what way are you most like your dad?” You’ll think he is really smart when you hear what he answered. He responded by repeating the question. He then said: “I guess I am most like my dad in the way I look. I look just like him.”
I say this tongue-in-cheek on the outside chance that Ed – Eddie – Eddie Don – Eddie Don DeMoss is still reading. The response, “I look just like my dad” after hearing my aunt talk about my uncle’s reputation for having chiseled-in-stone-good-looks was pretty clever. However, that leads me back to the questions I asked earlier: “Honestly, was he for real? Could he be delusional? Was he on a Rocky Mountain high?” At any rate, it is really nice to have him in the family.
All My Best!