If you knew Lou, the way we knew Lou
Barb Walter, Hennessey Clipper
She was a good-looking woman. Even at 82, Lou Ledbetter looked good, and her eyes would light up when I'd compliment her appearance.
It was just a few weeks ago when I'd last told her she was lookin' good. Our printer was having press problems that week, so she'd come into the office wanting her Clipper.
"I need my Clipper," she said. "How long will it be?"
"Any minute or an hour. We just don't know."
"I need my Clipper before I can go home," she said and left the office.
She was back in about 10 minutes and the papers still weren't here yet.
She was anxious.
Getting a Clipper was part of her Wednesday ritual and Lou wasn't giving up easily.
She came in one more time and later called to see if they were at 4-T's yet because she needed to go to the store too. She wanted to make sure she bought the paper from one of our racks so we'd get the whole 50-cents.
We lost Lou this week on Valentine's Day.
In addition to being one of our loyal supporters, she was also a sweetheart, and a mother figure and grandma (Nanny) figure to many of us.
Lou was one of a kind. And as she'd say, "I'm serious as a heart attack."
She grew up in Maud and had all sorts of sayings that I'd never heard of before.
She also had some strange habits.
When her youngest daughter was in the hospital in Oklahoma City, we stayed in the waiting room the night before Janice's early morning surgery.
Lou chided her older daughter and me for wearing our jewelry.
"Someone will come by here while you're sleeping and cut your fingers off to get those diamond rings," she said.
Our rings paled in comparison to her diamonds, which were safely in her purse that evening.
Right next to her "protection."
She flashed her protection — an ice pick — to show us that she'd take care of any intruder.
That was Lou.
But her ever-present purse wasn't the only thing she carried with her on over-night trips.
There was always her makeup case.
She carried it with her religiously, and we never saw her without makeup and her hair perfectly coifed.
Her children, nieces and nephews always wanted to see what was in that magic case, but Lou wasn't telling.
She would tell you, however, that you'd better wipe your feet on the rug before you went into her well-kept home.
If you stood outside her door after saying your good-byes, you could always hear her firing up The Hoover and sweeping the carpeting.
Lou loved her vacuum cleaner and family always joked and told her they'd have a Hoover mounted on her tombstone.
I doubt that, but then you never know.
Wed, April 20, 2011