My mom and her older sister, my Aunt Beona were two of the most wonderful people one could ever know. My family, immediate friends and so many others were touched by these ladies in so many ways. Both of these wonderful ladies have went on to be with God and I know they are now watching over their kids, families and others. They talked everyday on the phone, regardless of what happened or may have come up they spoke everyday. My mom would call over and ask to speak to Beona and of course, my Uncle Robert would answer the phone and proceed to give her a hard time about calling and pick at her. Mom loved to talk to Robert and looked forward to giving him a little of his quick wit right back to him on those phone calls.
Robert didn’t hear very well so the television would be turned up to about maximum volume if you called or stopped by to visit with them. You would have to knock on the door several times for him to hear you. One thing is the door was cracked about two inches all day so you could come on in. They loved each other and had grown up poor and were so appreciative of the things they had and the most important of those was family and the ties it binds between people. They were sisters, buddies, friends and had a bond that was priceless.
My mom passed before my Aunt Beona and when Beona was close to passing, I went to visit her and we talked. She was very weak and couldn’t say much but she did say that she couldn’t wait to see “her Polly” because they had so much to talk about when she got to heaven. She took her last breath soon after that and I am 100% sure my mom was there to greet and escort her to God and heaven.
Mom and Beona knew everything about everyone. If something was going on in the family, at church or locally they knew about it (maybe even before it happened) it seemed like. They could snoop out things and you couldn’t get nothing by ether of them. So people may call it nosey, but I call it being a good detective. They enjoyed this as a past time and it gave them things to work on, talk about and figure out together. They loved crime shows and watching Andy Griffin so that fits in well. I had remember both telling me things and I would just wonder how did they know that and where did the information come from. I sometimes wonder if they secret informants, but I figure a more practical solution would be that they were great listeners and cared so much for others that they wanted to know everything about you. That is a good thing, knowing how your loved ones are doing and what you can do to help them.
Family was everything to these two beautiful and awesome souls. They were leaders in their families and the glue that held everyone together. They were so respected by the family and friends that all they had to do was ask you to do something and it was a done deal. Family was their life, their kids, grandkids, cousins, brothers, sisters and all the other extended family members. I will never remember my first year in college I brought home a buddy from my dorm that lived in Georgia and didn’t have a ride home so instead of leaving him there over the holidays I brought him home with me. Randle was African American and grew up in a tough part of Atlanta as a child. He came from a broken home and was very poor.
I am sure he was shocked the first time he met my family and seen how big it was and all the activity we did at Christmas. I say this to give a memory that I have never forgotten since that cold wintery day in 1985 at my grandmothers house. Randle walked in with me and immediately felt overwhelmed as he had never seen so many decorations, food, presents or people in one room. My Aunt Beona called me and Randle over and she reached out to shake his hand and as he reached for her hand, being the hugger she was grabbed him and embraced him pulling him into her short but powerful body and said to him, “welcome to our Christmas, make yourself at home, your family now”.
My friends all felt like family and hung out all the time at the house, it was a second home for them and my brothers friends as well. My mom would cook pounds of food to feed all those hungry boys and take care of them. To this day many of you reading this are “Family” and my mom and aunt loved having you around all those years.
The relationship they had was so special and could not be broken by anything. They had a bond that was so strong and a great example of what sisterly love and friendship should represent. It was a Christlike love for friends that made so many people want to be around them. I know we all have had that friend that you could always count on for anything at anytime. That was my mom and aunt Beona. They modeled near perfection for their siblings, families and friends and that made a huge impact on everyone that knew them. I strive to have that type of friendship with family and friends based on the example they gave me. If I could make it happen I would put them on the internet so when people look for a definition of friends, they would see my mom and aunt in a picture.
We went to church every Sunday. You got your tail up and went to church, no excuses unless you were on your death bed. Church was huge in the family and I want to clarify something because anyone can just go to church. These two ladies loved church because they loved God and knew the impact going to hear his word and learning about Jesus had on a good life. They were Sunday school church teachers, worked in the nursery and cooked food for the congregation after church on many Sundays. They set an example of discipline and dedication to a greater cause and how having a relationship with Jesus is important in life and after life. I have so many memories of church with these two and how they just loved it. It was part of their life, soul and expectations for their children.
I could tell so many stories about shopping. These two could find a discount anywhere at every store in town. If you needed something, all you had to do was tell one of them and they would find it at the store on sale. They started Christmas shopping the day after Christmas and would stock pile gifts, presents and stuff all year in anticipation of the next years celebration. Often times, they bought so much that they would forget who it was for and where they hid it.
When my mom passed away in 2017 we found things she had bought that still had the labels and tags on them. Brand new in the box ready to give to someone. They loved to go shopping with my Aunt Cynthia also, those three were so close and loved to spend time together. Cynthia was younger than the two of them so they relied on her a lot also and mom would always call me and tell her Beona and Cynthia were going shopping and you could hear the excitement in her words.
These two ladies loved some Christmas time and I think it was there favorite Holiday overall. It was when they had all their children, grandchildren and great grands over to celebrate Jesus and his blessing in our lives. I talked about shopping a bit already but these two would start buying presents in January for the next Christmas. They would have stuff stashed all over the place on closets, under the bed and everywhere else they could hide it. Everyone got a present or card from them and all were handwritten with a special note of quotes or sayings that warmed your heart.
You could bet your check that underwear, socks and t-shirts were going to be in a bag somewhere waiting for you. Believe me, you would never run out of those three things as long as these two were buying for you. We would go to moms for Christmas and it took three or four of us to bring all the presents out of the back bedroom since the tree space couldn’t hold all of them.
I would get a call from Beona asking me to come by and get all the gifts for the family a few days before the Holiday and we would sit and visit, talk to her and uncle Robert and then load all those up and haul them over to moms house. Christmas was special because of them and still is to this day.
Mom and Beona loved family time. Especially, family reunions and Sundays at Grandma Smiths house. We had more family celebrations over the years than I can count or remember. We had the Smith Family reunion, birthday parties, summer pool parties, fall parties, Christmas parties, Halloween parties and so many more. The family was our extended family and that was literally hundreds of people at church meeting, socializing and making memories’. Manu of those flooding my mind as I write this story and hold back the emotions of missing both of them daily.
Dynamite Comes in Small Packages-
These two were little short firecrackers that loved their family and friends. You wouldn’t know that they were tough unless you just knew them. They had a work ethic that was unbelievable, were full of energy and honestly were just tough little ladies. You mess with one and you get the other is the best way to describe it. You mess with their kids (when I say kids) I mean their own, their nieces, nephews, grands, and all the others they considered their kids and you better watch out. My middle brother tells a story of onetime and my Aunt Beona were at a stoplight and the light changed and jerk behind them, blew the horn impatiently at her. Well, they just happened to be returning from a ballgame and my brother had a ball bat in the car.
Lets just say this jerk blowing the horn, lite the little firecracker named Beona so she proceeded to grab the ball bat and she was going to whoop his @## is the best way to put it. My brother calmed her down and the guy surely understanding you don’t mess with Beona pulled on around and hauled it out of there. Both had a passion for life, family, friends and God like that. They were fighters and what is funny is they both loved fireworks and watching them be shot off so that kind of makes sense.
Love, Grace, Kindness, and Mercy-
These two were (peas in a pod) and were so much alike that it was obvious they were sisters. They loved their families like no other person could. They showed grace, mercy, kindness and mercy that they learned from my grandparents Percy and Lucille Smith. They were shining examples of how humanity can be special and were great at making relationships with people. I sincerely appreciate all the advise they gave me, how they challenged me at times and held me to a high standard of conduct as a child. They showed love, grace, kindness, and mercy all the time to anyone whether they knew them or not. That is example of how we all need to be for one another in this world. They prayed and thought about other constantly and I felt those prayers.
I write this today in honor of my Mom Polly Bowers and my Aunt Beona “Smith” England. They are missed so much everyday and still have a huge impact on lives in heaven. I love you two and miss you dearly, but am glad God had you now, you are healthy, happy and safe!
God Bless! KB