“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:5
Always radiant, I never once saw her face covered in shame. Her beautiful smile and contagious laugh always put everyone in high spirits. She was lovable, sacrificial and silly. She brought a smile to everyone’s face.
You’d never know she was 60 the way she got down and played with us kiddos, wrestling with us on the floor. She gently cut every single grandkid’s hair while humming to Elvis playing in the background. As the only hairdresser in Cleveland County, Mimi Pat knew everyone and everyone knew Mimi Pat. Beloved by all, she listened and asked tons of questions. She wanted to know you, really know you. She was someone you could confide in. The beauty shop Papa built for her, complete with yellow walls (her favorite color), sat at the end of Main Street in Rison, Ark. Oftentimes she’d go over to the K n’ K cafe for lunch to chat with friends.
It seemed every woman in town truly believed Pat was their best friend and every man was jealous Papa Choo Choo had snagged her up. Beautiful, hard-working and hilarious, Mimi Pat brought the fun everywhere she went.
Her feet were always dancing. My favorite Saturday nights in Rison were spent at the Cleveland County Dance Hall. Dusty, scuffed-up wooden floors and a live band—made of Mimi Pat’s friends—greeted us as she proudly walked in with her posse of five grandkids. One at a time she would pick each of us up and take us around the dance hall, spinning and spinning as her smile lit up the room. She always made each of us feel like we had her undivided attention. she lavishly loved us and made sure we knew it.
Mimi Pat was a fighter. At age 60 she was diagnosed with dementia, a disorder affecting the brain and causing one to lose the ability to solve problems and maintain emotional control. Doctors said she would only have three to six years, but Mimi Pat kept fighting. Fighting to know and remember us. As her body declined, we could look into those beautifully big chestnut eyes and still see the strong love she had for us.
Now I see her in all of us. In the way my mom takes care of everyone, in the way Aunt Laura laughs and holds us tight, how my sister, Mary Cate, fixes everyone’s hair and my cousin Regan’s big chestnut eyes.
And so we thank you, Mimi Pat, for the years of making us laugh, holding us tight, being our biggest cheerleader and always radiating Christ.