Eulogy for Jennifer
Growing up together, she went by many names.
Because of her small stature, she was sometimes called Shrimp, Shorty or Munchkin, all in good humor, of course. Because of her freckled complexion, she was sometimes teased as Freckle-Face and after a perm gone bad Dad once coined the term “Poodle Top” for her. She always embraced her many identities with good humor and fun.
I knew her best as Jen-Jen, Jenny (although she hated being called that), Jenfer (not to be confused with the three-syllabeled “Jennifer” which is reserved for more formal occasions such as this). Sometimes I would simply call her Sis.
She was my FIRST best friend.
You see, growing up together as young kids across rural parts of Indiana and Kentucky in the late 70’s and 80’s, there weren’t a lot of options in the category of playmates.
There was no Facebook, Youtube, Netflix or Google. There was no internet for that matter, no cell phones, texts or chats. And when you live miles away from the nearest neighbor with kids, you have to improvise.
So usually it was just Jenny and me. We did everything together. We would hike through the woods with our dogs, explore sinkholes, climb trees and we even made a fort inside of a giant briar patch that only small people could get into. It was brilliant!
When we couldn’t play outside, we would often be found inside playing cowboys and Indians (you know the little action figures) and would have many great battles or would sometimes cuddle in bed with our cousins to share ghost stories or tales of Bigfoot together.
Later she would take me and Jess, then in more recent years, her girls Morganne and Mikalynn on “ghost runs”, scavenger hunts and haunted hay rides. She loved to do things that were "spooky" and was never afraid of the unknown.
Regardless of what we did, we always had fun.
That is, of course, until things became competitive between her and I.
Back in the days when she still had a physical advantage on me, she would routinely get the best of me, whether it was a foot race, bike race or a race up a tree. When I would finally catch up to her, with a composed look on her face, she'd calmly ask, "Where have you been?" or “What took you so long?”
She was a fierce competitor.
Now mind you, she had a five-year advantage in age on me and she knew how to use both her claws, and teeth. As a 10-year-old little boy, I didn’t have a chance. She would routinely kick my ass leaving claw marks and bite wounds along the way. She was not to be messed with.
I vividly remember the moment she took a brick and hurled it probably 30 or 40 feet and it landed square in the back of my head.
Seven stitches later, she claimed that she meant to throw it OVER my head, but then proceeded to blame me for the injury saying that I “ran” into it.. as I was running away from the mad woman with the brick! Lol
Later, after I had hit a growth spurt and had been spending time at the gym, I remember trying to instigate a fight with her. That’s when she told me “She just wants to be friends now.” Lol! She always had a way of spinning things in her favor.
Jennifer was an unbridled spirit. She loved adventure, fun and spontaneity.
Her favorite things to do while growing up were horseback riding, long road trips to Florida and “hill topping." She always had a thing for fast cars. I’m guessing she could blame dad for that.
She loved her family, friends and her horses. (Not necessarily in that order) Goodness did she love her horses.
From her Brier Horses to her REAL horses. There were many. From Windy to Catora to Jaydis. I remember her favorite movie was “The Black Stallion”. Followed closely by “Black Beauty” and later “Secretariat” and “Sea Biscuit.”
She always loved the Arabians and Thoroughbreds although I’m pretty sure she was more of a Wild Mustang herself.
She could never have been bridled and I’m pretty sure she would of found a way out of just about any fence that she was put behind.
She lived life to the full, and despite much advice from others, she always did things her way.
Always full of love, joy and an unbridled spirit of adventure. She was living her dream with her horses and with her girls all the way until the very end.
I have a feeling on that final day when it's my turn to approach the Pearly Gates. She will be there waiting for me, asking, "Where have you been?" and “What took you so long?”
Miss you already.
Meteorologist, Speaker, Talk Show Host, Blogger and American Patriot