ALWAYS Pick the Bracelet

My Baby Daddy’s first name is Charlie. There has been a great deal of debate in the 12 years since I joined this clan as to whether he was named for his Aunt Charley or Charlene, as some folks called her. The answer seems to have less to do with history than who was speaking to whom at the time.

Baby Daddy actually had two fabulous aunts on his father’s side. They were both eat up with sass. I loved them. When I joined the family, I was so young, I barely had my sea legs with regard to marriage or family or anything. This family was big, loud, loving and overwhelming. The aunts swooped in with their beauty shop hair-dos and individual style and made sure I never wanted for someone to chat with at family functions. We lost Aunt Bonnie a couple of years ago. Aunt Charley passed on today. I am not the only one who will miss her terribly.

Aunt Charley told hilarious stories. She liked to end stories about her rebellious ways with regard to her husband’s “rules” with, “… cause where’s he going?!” She was not allowed to have credit cards and for many years didn’t. But after 45 years of marriage, she decided she needed a Dillard’s charge card. This did not set well with Uncle Troy. He wanted her to get rid of it. But she told me she refused, “cause where’s he going?” Then he told her she could not carry a balance. But she said some months she did anyway, “cause where’s he going?”

The best story about Aunt Charley is one she told me when I’d only been married to Baby Daddy for a few months. We went to their 50th Wedding Anniversary party. She pulled me aside to tell me something she said was very important. She said years before the oven was about to go out in her kitchen. Christmas was coming up and she’d set her sights on a diamond tennis bracelet. Uncle Troy asked her if she wanted the bracelet or a new oven. She said she picked the bracelet because she figured he’d eventually get hungry enough to buy her the new oven too. She leaned in very close and said to me, “Honey, in this life, when you get the choice, ALWAYS pick the bracelet.”

Aside from the obvious comedy of that statement, it’s good advice. Sometimes in life you have to do the hard thing. Sometimes, there are no good options available and you have to pick the least bad. Sometimes, life just sucks. But sometimes, you get to decide to do something nice for yourself and too often, we don’t. We pick the mundane, the tired, the reliable or responsible thing when there is a perfectly valid, frivolous option available. I’m not advocating reckless spending, the fact of the matter is, they had the money for both and she knew it. So she made herself feel good. She raised three children and had a strong hand in raising her brother and a few grandchildren. She deserved to feel good once in awhile. Truthfully, she deserved to feel good about herself every day. So she picked the bracelet. And she taught me to do the same. Get the massage; eat the cookie, spend 20 minutes alone with a good book. Do something for you. Or the weight of your life and your responsibilities will chew you up and spit you out. Honey, in this life, when you get the choice, always pick the bracelet.

She was a real dame. May her soul find rest. May we all find peace in a world with a little less sass today.



Filed under Words of Wisdom

13 responses to “ALWAYS Pick the Bracelet

  1. Misty

    Wow…that was great. You should have it published…

  2. Tommy

    Might sweet and pretty well sums it up…and for the record, “Big
    Daddy” was named after his truly unbelievable Aunt Charley. She & Troy sure helped keep me straight (as much as possible anyway), and she will be sorely missed. They always treated my kids like their grandchildren. especially early on when their own weren’t quite so plentiful 🙂

    Baby Brother

  3. Tommy

    That should have been “Baby Daddy” 🙂

  4. What a fabulous tribute to a woman with incredible sass and joie de vivre! I will remember to always pick the bracelet – and I love “’cause where’s he going?'” Thanks for sharing such a spirited and lovely lady with us.

  5. Ms.Linnie

    WOW! What a wonderful story. Of course reading it made me think of my own sweet sassy mother and how she always said that at times you just have to do things for you! LATELY, I’ve seem to foget that most important lessons so from now on i’ll pick the bracelet! And if i never told told you thanks for listening you always had a way of making my day a little better! I always said that i was BLESSED with the perfect mom well Jackson was too!

  6. Vernon Harden

    Charlene was like a sister to Me,the 62 years She was in My family We never had a cross word.She always had a big smile.

    Her best saying was God doesn’t make any mistakes.

    She was a sweetheart,and We all will miss Her very much.


  7. Randy Harden

    Aunt Charlene always made me feel special. Her big smile and caring nature will not be forgotten.


  8. Ted Harden

    I could say so much but best Mom ever sums it up…and Uncle Vernon’s quote from Mother was told to me more than once by her…I am going to miss her greatly but I know that nothing can be greater than to be with our Lord Jesus Christ and that’s where she is.

  9. Nchanted

    Was talking to a friend today about his “difficulties” in the financial arena – bad marriage – big alimony payout for his usless ex…he’ll be 55 before it’s all over and it may drive him to bankruptcy even though she stands to inherit more than a million dollars in assets when her folks (who are in bad health) pass on.

    I copied and sent this story to him…there are many lessons to learn from this dear lady. She reminds me of my own Great Grandmother – Threse – sassy old broad with a huge heart.

    Anyway…thanks for the reminder. Life is short, love is forever and sometimes doing the seemingly wrong thing is the absolute right thing to do.

    Blessings on you, your family and Aunt Charlie’s memory

  10. Ginger Harden

    THANK YOU, Kerri

  11. Charlene Elizabeth Jones

    My name is Charlene. I didn’t know this Charlene, but what a great legacy she leaves. Gotta tell you this;she and could be twins…I have TWO diamond tennis bracelets-one I bought for myself when hubby (now my ex) wouldn’t spring for it, and one he DID spring for. My mantra: living the luving; luving the living! God rest her soul and may all in Heaven know that the Charlene’s of the universe love life and souls WHERE EVER we are, whereeevr we go…thanks for a great story!

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