Thursday, September 22, 2005


(May, a year ago, Becca Sue Van Patten Smith, “baby sister” of Mary Kay VP James, sent me the following piece. Well, it got lost in electronic wonderland and never got edited. I herewith apologize, and present this marvelous recollection of the sort of which I wish I had more. –tlp-)

In the South, one thing you do is to take food to someone’s house. My mother was always taking dishes to these affairs: Church dinners, deaths, parties, wedding receptions. If you wanted your dish back, it better have your name on it. My mother always put her initials, KVP, in really RED finger nail polish on anything she took out of the house. We called it KVP Red.

This would turn up on just about anything from lawn chairs to spoons; if it was going to leave the house, it was going to have her initials on it. Even some clothes had Red rick-rack with a big KVP on them; we are still finding old army blankets and camp sheets with that in the corner.

When my mother passed away in 2003, the family all gathered back home in Searcy, Arkansas. My brother and his wife stayed at dad’s, and my husband and I stayed next door at my sisters' house. The grandkids all stayed together at one of their homes. My daughter, Deana, was painting her nails when Marcus walked in and said “That looks like KVP Red you’re putting on.” They all had a laugh and then joked about all the things that had shown up on. Christopher said what we should do is put KVP on grandmother’s casket. Well, the boys said their mother might not like it and that they should ask grandad what he thinks.

Deana said something to me and I spoke with my brother, Irvin, and the two of us said something to Mary Kay (the first child, not saying she is the oldest, even though she is and we usually do what she thinks is best). Well, she thought it was funny, too, and Grandaddy thought that Kathryn would like it, since the grand kids had thought of it.

We were going to do it at visitation, but the friends started coming when we got there and stayed so late, we would do it before the funeral started to next morning.

At the grave site after the service Deana said I have the polish and each grandchild put an initial on the end of her casket, it looked like a bumper sticker with a big KVP in really Red polish. Mary Kay took a picture of Deana, Marcus and his wife Tea, Christopher and his wife Lori, all together at the foot of grandmother’s casket.

Later the preacher said he noticed that the grandchildren were having a final prayer for their grandmother and thought that was so nice; yes, we did that, too, but little did he know that we were also putting graffiti on her casket.

Now, if her casket ever gets lost, it will be returned to her: it has her initials on it.


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