Ruby Algeo Ward
Let me take you back to a simpler time. We lived out in the country where neighbors helped neighbors and everybody knew everybody. Two doors down from us, lived a sweet lady name Ruby. Ruby's husband passed away when I was still a toddler. She lived with her sister Bea in an old run down house that didn't have any running water. They never had much money, but made do with what they had. She would walk over to our house carrying a couple of buckets. Daddy or Mommy would fill her buckets with water for her take home for cooking and cleaning. Sometimes, she would could come over twice a day. She lived a frugal life, but never seemed to mind.
We went to church with Ruby in the old country church up on the ridge of the hollow we grew up in. Ruby played piano for the church. She didn't have much in life, but she had her music. Never having a formal lesson, Ruby had taught herself to play the piano. I have a vague memory from my early years of Mom telling about Homer getting an old piano up the hill for Ruby before he passed away.
Every Christmas, the women would exchange names at church. It was a small church with only 25-40 people at any given time. So many years, Ruby would draw my name. Everytime she did, I would receive a pretty new lace hanky and a container of bath powder from the 5 and 10 store. As a young girl, I loved when she had my name. She was a women of simple means and to get a hanky and powder from Ruby meant so much to me. Till this day, I still see those round tubs of bath powder and my mind goes back to that simpler time and I remember Ruby.
When I moved to Tennessee 22 years ago, my conversations with Mom would frequently involve "I saw Ruby today. She asked about you." That sweet dear woman never forgot me and I will never forget her.
She passed away January 10, 2006 at the age of 102. She would have been 103 that April. Two weeks before she passed away, she was still living on her own and cooking her own meals. She played the piano for that same little church for 45 years. Eleven days of her last two weeks were spent in the hospital.
She is in a much better place and can play piano again and sing until her heart is content. But for this old country girl, she will still be remembered every Christmas for her kindness, her generosity, and her love.
We miss you, Ruby.