About this time every year, now that the leaves are changing colors and the air is turning a little colder, I am reminded of October of 1996. It was a good month.
After renting for 7 years, we finally were able to buy our first house, Casa de Smiff, which is the abode we still reside in. I remember being so tickled about moving in. It felt like a mansion to me. I loved the neighborhood and still do.
I remember the day we closed, on a Friday. We went to the lawyer’s office and my good friend, Brenda Shelby, was the lawyer’s assistant who drew up all the paperwork.
For some reason, that Brenda was there and part of it made it extra special. I don’t see her much anymore, but, at that time, she and Phil were like a big brother and sister to me and an aunt and uncle to my children. After we closed, we came by the house and I remember meeting my next door neighbor, Peggy, for the first time over the fence. Peggy and Leland are dear to us. I can’t imagine there was ever a time they weren’t our neighbors. Then, in true Smiff fashion, we went to eat…at IHOP.
We moved in the next day, on Saturday. I remember the kids (we only had two then) were 3 and 4 and they immediately jumped into having their own big, backyard. I remember that day, too, the Daughter got sick with an ear infection and I had to take her to the doctor.
I remember the first morning I woke up in my new house, Sunday, I skipped church. I went to Wal Mart and got some of those sticky, fish like things you put on the bathtub so you don’t slip. The kids loved that. (I wish things that simple made them happy now!) I remember sitting in my new kitchen in a chair that belonged to my grandmother, talking on the phone and thinking "I’m in my house in Grandma’s chair!" It had taken us a long time to be able to have our own house. There were times I didn’t think it would ever happen.
I also remember that Sunday the Sister calling and saying "I don’t know if this is my water breaking or what" and describing it. "Uh…yeah…your water is breaking." She went to the hospital that night and spent all night in labor with her first kid.
I got up early, early the next morning, before the sun came up, and drove to Knoxville, hoping to get there before my new nephew was born. I remember going I-40 east towards Knoxville and those hills getting bigger and bigger and the leaves getting more and more beautiful as I drove. It was a beautiful morning, in more ways than one.
I finally got to Ft. Sanders Hospital there in Knoxville and found out that Payton had been born about an hour before. I remember going to the window and looking at my brand new, little, nephew laying in the bassinet in the window. He’d been born by C-section and they were keeping a little eye on him.
That was October 21, 1996. I was an aunt. That was very cool. I’d been an aunt by marriage before, but, not by blood. It’s a little different. I was most glad somebody else was giving birth besides me.
Happy 10th birthday, Payton!