My daughter and I were looking through a pile of pictures a few days ago when I saw this one. It is my Great Aunt Carrie, my grandfather's sister. I thought she'd make a great subject for Women are Fantastic Friday. Born sometime between the late teens and early twenties, she stands out for me because she defied the conventions of her time by being a woman minister. This was a rarity in and of itself in her day, but I think it is even more astounding because she was a minister in rural Oklahoma, hardly the most forward-thinking place for a woman in those days.
Aunt Carrie was a very colorful character. In addition to being able to preach a sermon, she was known to use a divining rod to look for water--a fact I always found fascinating. Years before I had the opportunity to meet her in person, I became acquainted with some of her artistic endeavors which my grandparents had brought home with them after a visit. Chunky, bright-colored, plastic beads of assorted shapes and sizes were strung and glued together to make earrings, bracelets and necklaces. As an adult, there isn't a chance in a million I would wear one of these
Years later, married and living in Texas, I frequently drove the four hours up to my grandparent's house in Oklahoma. There I had a chance to get to know Aunt Carrie a little better. In her late seventies, married to Uncle Buster, her second husband, she was still quite the creative soul. She might get creative in the kitchen (hot dog soup) or in her decorating. There was not one square inch of her walls that wasn't covered in something she had crafted. My favorite were the hanging beads leading to the bathroom and the ceramic cat on which she'd painted eye shadow and eye lashes. Truly, words cannot express the sight her home was to see.
One of my favorite Aunt Carrie stories shows that even in her later years, she was still willing to make a stand for equality. She had hurt her ribs somehow and was very uncomfortable. She had made herself a bowl of ice cream and went to the living room to sit down and enjoy it. Her husband expressed an interest in having a bowl of ice cream also. Although she had been a woman minister in a time when women just didn't do that, she was always a very traditional wife. And as was not unusual for a woman of her era, she waited on her husband hand and foot. I think she was quite happy to do this normally, but now, tired and in pain, she fought the status quo and told Buster, "If you want some ice cream, you're just going to have to get it yourself." I think flummoxed is an appropriate word to describe Buster when he heard those words from his wife. He sat for a moment. He got up. He walked into the kitchen. He came back--with no ice cream. He sat down. Exasperated he told her, "Well, if I have to get it myself, I just won't have any."
He never got any ice cream that day.