Memories by Katie:
Oh man, but this has been a bittersweet stroll through my memories. Now I guess it’s time to talk about momma and daddy. It’s hard to put to paper how absolutely amazing they were. How devoted they were to the people and things that they loved. And oh how they loved the NCTA. They raised us at conventions. They let us loose to wreak havoc and be encouraged and controlled by the people at the conventions. They had unwavering faith that we were safe and loved when we were there. They were perfect, even with all of their flaws.
Daddy trapped for a living when he was a young man. He was so smart he could have been so many things, but farmer, hunter, trapper, carpenter... this was the path he thrived on. I grew up watching him work into the night to provide for us. I saw him tired and weary, but never defeated and never beyond giving his family some much needed love and attention. He taught me to ride a bike, then a lawn mower and then a car. He taught me to look beyond the obvious and find the truth. He taught me that life is short, although he would have liked to have spared me that lesson. He had such a sense of humor, twisted as it was, that developed in his daughters and produced some rather disturbing discussions that had the three of us laughing like hell while everyone else wondered what was wrong with us. He was the general organizer for the convention for many years and he loved it. It broke his heart when he had to step down. He was a strong man, a faithful friend and an irreplaceable father. I could give you so many stories about him, and I will too if you’d like them. Stories about putting deer in the car when they’re not dead, or putting a feral cat in momma’s car, or about catching my tabby cat in his live trap over and over. I will tell you that he came to every convention no matter his health. He skipped the 2016 convention because momma couldn’t come, and he died 3 weeks before the 2017 convention. Who’d have known that in 2015, when he was feeling better than he had in years minus the oxygen tanks, that he’d never be back...
Momma was a different story. When I was two, my sister, my mom and I were in a car wreck. Momma broke her back, an injury that never properly healed and caused her pain for the rest of her life. She had rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, she suffered bouts of depression and in the end developed leukemia. I say all that to say this... she was without a doubt the strongest person I have ever met. She said that if she quit doing things, she was scared she’d never start back again. So she pushed beyond her limits, she wore herself out for everyone and anyone she cared about. She was my energizer bunny. She was in pain my whole life, but pushed it to the back every day so she could help others. She was a saint. She singlehandedly ran the Ladies’ Auxiliary for years, with the rest of us just helping out where we could. She also took up the mantle of secretary for the organization for many years. I know because I typed all of her minutes for her. She loved the organization and everyone in it loved her. They created an award in her honor. There will never be anyone else who will work as hard as she did for the association. She is irreplaceable.