I’d do anything for my ‘Tee Tee’

Published 11:10 am Thursday, November 17, 2016

“Auntie. Call me Auntie.”

“Tee Tee”

“No. Auntie.”

“Tee Tee”

I don’t recall how that scenario went down, but that’s the story I’ve been told for years how my aunt attempted to teach me to call her “Auntie” when I first began to speak.

Her attempts were futile and the nickname she received stuck, which lead to both my brothers also calling her “Tee Tee” and subsequently our children calling her by the nickname, as well as many of our friends.

“Tee Tee” has been as close to me as anyone throughout my life. While she was learning to become a beautician, she gave me my first haircut and for years she was the only person I would allow cut my hair. When it was time for my haircut, I can still recall her telling me to place my head in her lap.

The cool aunt, she drove a ’71 Mustang Mach 1 that I thought was the coolest car around and was the catalyst for my love of the Mustang. I still drive one today.

She also has a love for football, and in particular the Dallas Cowboys – a team I despise since I have spent my entire life as a die-hard San Francisco 49ers fan. We often rib each other when it comes to the two rivals, particularly when they played each other. My 49ers dominated the 80s and I was sure to let her know, while the Cowboys enjoyed a re-birth in the 90s and she was sure to remind me. In recent years, neither of our teams has been overly great and so the good-natured ribbing has subsided.

She even took me to a Major League Baseball game.

I fondly remember going to a San Francisco Giants game in 1972 for what I believe was my cousin’s tenth birthday and got to ride in the back seat of that Mustang. That game stands out for me because I saw Bobby Bonds and Dave Kingman hit back-to-back home runs and my Giants went on to victory.

There are so many other memories I remember sharing with “Tee Tee” and her family while we lived in northern California – Christmas, birthday parties, Easter egg hunts.

Years after my family returned to Mississippi, “Tee Tee” and her husband and two adult daughters all moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and it seemed like old times when we all got together.

But as life would have it, I eventually grew older and further apart from “Tee Tee,” and that is something I regret.

On Monday, “Tee Tee” suffered a serious heart attack and brain aneurysm and is currently in a coma in Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans.

The prognosis is not good and now I wish I had taken the opportunity to visit with her one more time, to hear her tell me how good her Cowboys are this year.

She can’t, but to honor her I am vowing for the rest of this NFL season to break my boycott of watching NFL games and openly cheer for her Cowboys, which is incredibly difficult for me as a life-long 49ers fan.

For “Tee Tee” – the cool aunt with the cool car who loved football – I’d do anything.   

Rob Sigler is managing editor of The Oxford
EAGLE. Contact him at rob.sigler@oxfordeagle.com.