My Aunt Ruby passed away over two years ago at the age of 80. She was sweet and kind and always had wonderful things to say to lift you up. She was thankful for the smallest things in life and saw the toughest roads as happy journeys she was meant to be traveling.

While she was still living, I wrote stories about her noting how much she enjoyed her yellow swing on her front porch. She described the weather with the words of an artful Southern writer who wanted to put you in the swing with her. For these reasons and because she always wanted us to be thankful for everything, I put a little place on the internet just for her.

Over two years after her death, I still get about one letter or correspondence a week related to “Aunt Ruby.” Not my Aunt Ruby, but other people’s Aunt Rubys. Some are to say that their “Aunt Ruby” was just like mine, others are personal messages that folks meant for their Aunt Ruby. It’s kind of like answering children’s letters to Santa Claus.

I haven’t received any “bad ones” yet, which just goes to show there were and are a lot of wonderful Aunt Rubys in the world. Hopefully, you have one, maybe she’s not named Ruby, but maybe she is.

It seems the name “Ruby” peaked in popularity in the early 1900’s, but it is still in the Top 100 names given to little girls, coming in at number 95 in 2017. This is good news because there will be Aunt Rubys for generations to come.

One fellow from Tennessee had written a story about his Aunt Ruby and the way he described her brought a smile to my face. He wrote of his Great Aunt Ruby and Great Grandmother Sallie Mae, “They were tough ol’ women. Aunt Ruby was the only one who could tame the meanest dogs ever to be let loose on the earth.”

I’m willing to bet his Aunt Ruby was just sweet to them and changed their hearts. I know mine would have spoken to them in the sweet Southern twanged tongue that only an Aunt Ruby could.

He went on to write, “As I remember Aunt Ruby’s impact on my life, I always end up thinking about her standing before the Lord and His taking her into a loving hug, wiping any tears she has away as the glow of Heaven’s light reflects in her eyes.”

That’s my Aunt Ruby… (And his).

It seems that there are a lot of places, business and even racehorses that bear the name of “Aunt Ruby.”

Aunt Ruby’s Peanuts in North Carolina are supposed to be the best with folks requesting them when others pass through and even having a big mail order business. I will eat a peanut anyway you decide to put it in front of me, so that makes good sense to me.

There is “Aunt Ruby’s Sweet Jazz Babies,” a group of fellows who perform at a seafood restaurant in Austin, Texas every Monday night. You even get discounts and specials on food while they are playing. That would concern me because that might lead me to believe they were bribing me. However, it is more probable that it’s because it is Monday night.

I had never heard of “Aunt Ruby’s German Green Tomatoes,” but you can order the seeds and they say that these tomatoes “have a brilliant green flesh with a strong sweet, fruity flavor… much tastier than red tomatoes.” Sounds like my Aunt Ruby wrote that description, if I could only hear it roll off her tongue.

Then there’s Aunt Ruby’s Bed & Breakfast in Louisiana, which seems to be a popular place. They offer five luxurious staterooms ranging from $85 to $165, “all with charming period furnishings.” I guess we could go stay there, but even if they had a yellow swing on the front porch, it just wouldn’t be the same.

“Aunt Ruby’s Kitten” was a racehorse with some first place finishes at tracks in Arkansas and Florida. My Aunt Ruby had a cat which she just loved. This racehorse was the result of “Kitten’s Joy” and “Ruled by Ruby” getting together in a barn or somewhere. I do like that name for a racehorse.

If you have an Aunt Ruby or an aunt that means a lot to you - call her, write her, go hug her neck. I will continue to be reminded of what a wonderful “jewel” mine was.

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