Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Twenty Years

Today marks twenty years since my world was rocked.  
July 4th was the only holiday we never switched celebrating between the two families.  My father and two uncles were all in the Air Force so traveling for a holiday in the summer was the easiest with different school schedules.  And it was always the same thing we met at the Elk's Lodge my grandfather belonged to for a day by the pool and BBQ, their big fundraiser every year (Granddaddy was the head sauce man).  After a day of swimming and hanging out with the cousins and any other kids who were around a stop was in order at the fireworks stand before heading back to the grandparents.  Then it was always bugging the fathers about how much longer before we could start setting off fireworks.  There were only two years we weren't able to make it to Alabama for this celebration which really sucked as it is my favorite holiday.
Little did we know how those celebrations would rarely happen again after 1993.  That year we were to celebrate on the Saturday July 3rd.  Instead a phone call around six that morning shattered our plans as it was the call telling us my Uncle Keith was dead.  Not only was he dead but he had been murdered earlier that morning for a few dollars.  The man who took my uncle away from his wife and three young kids wanted money for drugs and got less than five dollars.   Keith was at work to restock the self car wash with soap and to empty out the lock boxes.  We got lucky that there was a truck driver on the lot resting and noticed a man with out of state plates run off and was able to give the cops enough to find the guy later that afternoon busy celebrating the holiday with his family.  
This was the only time in my life that I have ever heard my father cry.  My parents left to go be with my grandparents while waiting on other family members to get to town.  My mom's mother came to our house to stay with my brother and myself.
The man was convicted about a year and half later and sentenced to life with parole.  So far we have been through two parole hearings and thankfully he has been denied both times.  It doesn't make it any easier or make up for all the special occasions Keith has not been here for especially walking his two girls down the aisle.  This time of the year is still tough and makes me sad.

I miss you everyday Uncle Keith.  


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss of a great uncle but I think this is a nice way to remember him.

  2. I am so sorry, Ruth. So senseless and sad...I will keep you and your family in my prayers today.

  3. Oh so sorry for your loss! How very horrible.

  4. I am so sorry, Ruth. That is terrible. Thanks for sharing, and I know each year, it doesn't get any easier. What a terrible act of violence.