A ruby is a precious red gem. That pictures describes my Aunt Ruby perfectly. She was beautiful as a ruby on the outside and even more precious on the inside.
Aunt Ruby loved everyone. She was not extremely outgoing, but she was always there to welcome you , commiserate with you, pass out hugs, or do whatever you needed. Her son-in-law preached at her funeral, and he talked about how she always made you feel like you were her favorite. Time alone with Aunt Ruby was something to treasure. Aunt Ruby and Uncle Elmo’s house was always full of people, but even a few moments alone with her in the kitchen or as she did chores were cherished. When I was about 13, I got to spend a week with her. That was a treasured week of of uninterrupted time with her, and of course she spoiled me.
She always made sure that the kids had a place. We had a big room with many toys in the basement and mostly had the run of the rec-room as well. She didnt’ ignore the kids the way that some adults would. She would encourage us to play a board game or do a craft at the dining room table and often came and joined in with us.
She was an encourager. When you were doing wrong, she offered encouragement and challenge instead of rebuke. I needed to lose weight when I was in junior high, and she challenged me to a competition. She said it would be fun to lose weight together. Now, I realize she did it to help me. We wrote back and forth often. I even got a phone call which was very rare because we lived a couple of hundred miles away, and this was before free long distance. Of course she let me win the contest and was so proud of the 13 pounds I lost. She also sent me $5.00 for winning.
She expected the best from us kids, and we usually behaved that way. Even if we had misbehaved or upset her, she would not never say anything. She didn’t have to be upset with us. We knew that we had disappointed her and put a frown on her happy face. We always felt so bad that we were immediately contrite. I don’t really remember her being angry. She always made me feel at peace.
She was also self-sacrificing. Aunt Ruby was a baker. One of her specialties was her pies. She made coconut for my uncle, chocolate for my dad and cherry for me. She knew everyone’s favorite and made it for them. One of the first questions she asked my husband when she met him was “What kind of pie do you like?” He told her that he really like lemon meringue. She was happy because that was her favorite, and now she had a reason to make it.
Her funeral in 2007 was happy and sad at the same time. It was happy because she had suffered from dementia for several years and was ready to go home to heaven. It was sad for all of us because of how much we would miss her. I sat next to two of my dad’s 70 something cousins, and these grown men had tears trickling down their faces. She had an impact on everyone she met.
I’ve thought about how I could honor Aunt Ruby. If I took the Christ-love that she exuded and passed even half of that love on to other people, the world would be a much better place and more people would know what it was like to experience that love in their lives.
Aunt Ruby, we know that you’re in heaven now! We miss you, but we know you’re in a much better place. Now you’re able to have your Lemon Pie and all of the other rewards that God has for you. Enjoy them! No one deserves them more!