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Sharing a Goodbye Tribute

Susann Couch Flowers, my friend, and cousin, died on March 11, 2019. It may sound mean to write this, but I must tell the truth. Susann was older than I was. To be specific, in 1940, she beat me here by 39 days. Our parents were cousins as well as good friends. Her grandfather — my Great Uncle Bob and my grandmother — her Great Aunt Cordie united us. And so, we have been connected for 79 years.

Regardless of what others may have thought through the years, in our advanced decades, Susie and I decreed that we were cute babies and adorable little girls. My Aunt Maggie would have said that as teens, Susie was beautiful and I was attractive. My Aunt Maggie never lavished much praise for fear of encouraging conceit, which she vowed was one of the unforgivable sins along with sex before marriage. For two years in high school, I was our class favorite and in our senior year, the honor went to Susann. We accompanied the award-winning Pecos High choir with a four-handed piano rendition of Battle Hymn of the Republic. Together, we sat at one piano with Susie playing two-handed base while I used both hands for the treble.

Until the end of her life, Susann and I continued to laugh at ourselves as we insisted that we had become cute old women. A bit bent over, a tad wrinkled, and a little insecure with walking, but cute as heck nonetheless. (No one ever considered arguing with us about this.)

When we talked on the telephone, the years rolled back. We bragged about our children and grandchildren, shared pictures of family, and reminisced about growing up in Pecos. Without a shred of doubt, we believed we had the two best dads ever to walk the earth. We loved those two crusty cowboys who needed to touch the earth and nature to be fulfilled.

Even in our final chapter, Susann and I continued to share, laugh, and sometimes cry together. Names of old friends dropped from our lips with affection. I grieved when Susie moved from her beautiful 4,000+ square foot ranch house to a single room in a nursing home. Do you wonder why I loved her so much? As she sat in her single room, removed from the home she loved, she said, “Babs, we are really lucky. You and I have been greatly blessed.” And, through quiet tears, I totally agreed with her.


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