Biscuit (Noun) : A person who is willfully ignorant and almost certainly incompetent

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Another Great Loss

It’s been twenty years since we lost my Grandfather Ray Willard. The man’s legend lives on with many of you loyal readers.

A few days ago the family suffered another loss of a legend when my wife’s family matriarch passed. She didn’t want a lot of “hubbub” so there will only be a small family-only service. Her obituary on the funeral home website is succinct and to the point. I, however, cannot help but want to say a little bit more.

Jacqueline Sanderson (nee Hiteshew), was born February 4th 1939 and grew up in Speedway IN. Her father loved the track and Indy 500 – they lived about a block West of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. When she was a kid she’d park cars for the race. She charged 25 cents per car and used the money to buy her bathing suit for the summer.

Strongly drawn to a career that involved helping people she and her younger sisters followed the same paths and went to nursing school. She spent years at Henry County Memorial in New Castle before moving to Indianapolis and working as a visiting nurse, mostly in areas where a lot of us won’t go, especially at night. But that was where the need was. And that’s where she went.

She had four children, all of whom have turned out pretty damn well. I married her youngest daughter.

It was 1994 when she walked Lorie down the aisle at our wedding. “Who gives this woman to be wed?” Pastor Detwiler asked. “Her mother!” Jacquie proudly exclaimed. That meant a great deal to me.

In the late 90’s my wife and I moved in with her for a few months while we were looking for a new home in Indianapolis. In the days before the “do-not-call list” the evenings were filled with the phone ringing with telemarketers doling out their goods. I always answered the phone of course just to mess with them, and was always greatly amused as they often mispronounced her name and asked if “Mrs. Anderson” were home.

Much like my brother’s beloved nickname “Kermit,” I ended up giving Jacquie what would ultimately be her loving nom de plume. The telemarketers got me going on and I simply began referring to Jacquie as “Anderson.” Pretty soon everybody else caught on to that. It stuck.

My mother-in-law and I probably bonded the way we did because there was one thing we were both suckers for: Indianapolis Colts football. We bought season tickets and went to pretty much every home game. Several years we traveled to Nashville to harass Titans fans and watch the Colts beat on them. I often wondered if I was the only one in the whole stadium there with his mother-in-law. Didn’t matter, those were all good times. Every time the Colts would get in the red zone I’d yell to her: “Anderson, get those monkeys ready!” And she’d raise them up and get ready to celebrate a touchdown.

She was excited when I told her that Peyton Manning was going to be our new quarterback. I told her I thought he might be decent, maybe we’d even get in a super bowl. That worked out pretty well for us.

I stood by her inside the RCA Dome on September 23rd, 2001 when football resumed after the terrorist attacks on the world trade center. I watched tears fall from her eyes as they draped that giant American flag over the field, held by members of law enforcement and first responders. The roar of that crowd was enormous, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything so loud. The national anthem played and we all sang it at the top of our lungs. I might have cried a little bit too. Maybe.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her as happy as she was the day that they won the Super Bowl. She was of course wearing her Colts jersey with her custom moniker emblazoned across her shoulders on the back: ANDERSON. On August 8th Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James are both being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I bet she would’ve have teared up for that too.

While the super bowl win in 2006 would be the pinnacle for the Colts over the next few years we still enjoyed watching games and she, my sister-in-law Dana and Lorie would have dinner every week. Wine would be drank. Cards would be played. Man she was a bad Uno player. I’m not even sure how you can be bad at Uno. That was okay, her partner carried her, even if there was the occasional growling of “Anderson!” from across the table when she’d do something silly.

Her passing has been a mixed bag of emotions for all of us. We are sad of course, and at the same time these past few years Jacquie was not herself any longer. Sometimes a passing is a blessing, a well earned respite from a life well lived. Thank you Jacquie for being a part of mine, I won’t be forgetting you anytime soon.

In lieu of flowers if you’d like to throw even a few dollars their way Jacquie was a long-time volunteer at the Abbie Hunt Bryce Home in Indianapolis. I know she’d appreciate it.

8 thoughts on “Another Great Loss”

  1. Thomas “Pops” Petty

    What a wonderful tribute to a beautiful lady. Lorie is a treasure & I’m guessing, a lot like her mother.

    I’m saddened for your loss.

  2. The biggest compliment a person can hope for is a tribute like that when they are gone. Those of us that didn’t know her now wish we could have, excellent word pictures of a life well lived. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Very sorry for your loss, Chance & Lorie. Wonderful article that I’m sure was written with both joy and tears.

    be well


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