I have heard people say: "well, you're not marrying the whole family, just the son." Don't you believe that. Just ask someone who has been married a long, long time.
I expected to help J. C. with the care of his parents. He was wonderfully kind to my mother, carrying her in his arms to bed, or to the hospital. Later it required an ambulance.
I could not do enough to repay his loving ways to my old mother. B-u-t I did not expect my care to extend past her sisters to a brother-in-law. It did, and herein is my story for today. Folks, it all really happened as I write it.
J. C.'s Aunt Anna Mary lived in Killeen, Texas, the home of Fort Hood. She was a widow that owned a jewelry store and a forty-unit motel She fell in love with an enlisted man there at Ft. Hood, a man at least 10 years younger than she was.
Back then the USA was at peace, no wars going on. You could buy out of the military. He wanted out and she wanted him, so a deal was struck. If she paid him out he would marry her. And so we acquired a bought-and-paid for uncle-in-law, Roy Nicholson, better known as "Nick."
Nick persuaded Anna Mary to sell the jewelry store and the 40-room motel and buy out from Minden. He found some land across from Perry Hickman, near the Ordnance plant, and they had a brick home built, a pond dug and a barn erected.
Still they had lots of money left for a new car and anything else Nick wanted.
In addition to having J. C.'s parents each holiday I also had her two sisters and often her brother and his wife as well as J. C.'s brother and his wife and nephew.
Now I had another – Nick. He was not exactly "all there" or just "right in the head" as you will see.
He had been married to a Mexican lady when he was young and sired four children, now all grown up and married.
His wife had died young and her aunt had reared them. They lived near the Mexico border and spoke Spanish, almost exclusively. They hardly knew him, and he didn't care.
He was eccentric, to put it mildly. For instance he told us he was not in the CIA, but the CIB. He did not know what the CIB did, but he steadfastly declared he was a member of it.
As you know, I love to cook and Christmas gave me an opportunity to lay it out. I sliced a turkey breast on a huge platter, in addition to a whole turkey, and a Cure 81 ham sliced on another platter.
At the close of the meal on Christmas day he asked if he could take a plate of that turkey breast to Dorothy. I immediately offered to fix a plate of everything. He said she would just like the turkey.
After a few questions I discovered that Dorothy was not a lady, but a female hound – the Heinz 57 Varieties kind. I absolutely had a fit, and said "NO." I had plenty of wings, drumsticks, backs, and scraps that my dog could share with "Dorothy."
I explained that we would all have supper off that platter again and it was needed for that meal, which he would enjoy again, too.
A few weeks later, my mother-in-law called and asked that I go out to Anna Mary and help her with Nick, he was having a "nervous" spell.
I couldn't leave my mother in her hospital bed alone. So I asked her to come and sit with Mother. She was very reluctant, said sick people made her nervous. She came and I went. I found Nick with a glazed expression, glassy eyed and jerking from head to foot.
I called Dr. Bridges and he suggested that I take him to the VA hospital where he belonged. He made the arrangements for Nick's admission when I got him there. How to get that six-and-a-half-foot man to the station wagon from her dinette was my problem.
I drove as close as I could and decided I would catch him under his arms, with my back to him and pull and drag him to the car.
I started, pulling my insides out with that 250 lb. man.
After a time I had to stop and rest a minute. I looked back and I looked again. Anna Mary followed but she had not fastened his underwear or his jeans. I had drug him out of both.
I had not had the experience of seeing but one man naked and that was my husband. He was not just naked but in worse shape than just that.
I spoke rather sharply when I told Anna Mary to get down there and cover his nakedness with underwear and jeans. She finally did and we made it to the VA.
They discovered that he was a bad diabetic and on the verge of going into a coma.
When he got out of the hospital he said he did not use sugar in his cakes, just mixed up a cake mix, baked it and ate the whole cake. Or he bought Little Debbie Cup Cakes and ate the whole package.
When the doctor gave him a list of exchanges, he could choose one from 18 different things. He called me to tell me he was dying and when I asked which one he chose, he said he ate 17 of the 18 but that the sardines would not go down. He ate the whole thing.
I carried my husband to Dr. Texada for Macular Degeneration and when I returned at about 11 the phone was ringing.
Nick said he had been trying to get me for hours. That Anna Mary was dead in the bed since about two that morning, and what should he do. I called the doctor; and he said she died from a heart attack.
Nick did not want to turn loose any of her money to bury her, but we saw that he did. He refused to buy something decent to bury her in so I used a beautiful robe I had made for my mother- in –law.
All eight of the Mexicans came unknown to us and so instead of having 18 to feed I had 26. Thank God for Church's cheap buckets of chicken. They ate two buckets in addition to all the food I had prepared.
The Rev. Durbin was a friend of Anna Mary's family and he would preach the funeral and was here to eat with us.
The Mexicans would not sit with us nor bow for Bro. Durbin's prayer, but they said their own and genuflected????
That is just part of the Nick story. Oh yes!!! you do marry the family, I know.
Juanita Agan passed away in October, 2008 at the age of 85. She had been a Minden resident since 1935 and a columnist for the Press-Herald since 1995. A constant writer, Mrs. Agan had many stories written but unpublished. The Press-Herald will continue to publish these articles as long as they are submitted.