Louise was the last survivor of her generation in our family and will be fondly remembered by her nieces, nephews and cousins.
Since those who would have known her as a child have gone on, I turned to pictures, newspaper articles and her high school memory book for information for her eulogy.
Like most of our family, she grew up on Gaissert Church Road in Hancock County. As she was as an adult, she was a go-getter child. When her senior class at Sparta High School wrote a letter to Santa Claus in 1932, she said, "I am an energetic kid. Please bring me an all-day sucker."
In my 72 years, I never heard her talk about liking to dance. But after going through her memory book, I realized that not only did she like to dance, she was good at it. One year, her New Year's resolution was to dance less and study more. Then in the Class of '32's "Last Will and Testament," she left her ability to dance to a classmate.
Louse was a beautiful lady, an excellent cook, a successful shop owner, Johnson County Woman of the Year and a take-charge woman. She was devoted to her churches, her Sunday school class and the Joy Club.
Niece Fran Hussey Watts described Louise well when she wrote about her in a paper for a class. On the day of Fran's wedding, her mother, Bobbie Hussey, was in the hospital with pneumonia.
"My Great Aunt Louise came from the neighboring town of Wrightsville. She pulled into the driveway in her long, silver Oldsmobile. ... I noticed how elegant she looked. She wore an off-white dress, pearls and medium heels. Although she was eighty-one, she didn't look a day over sixty. She pulled out pound cakes and potato salad from her back seat." Incidentally, Fran's mother was dismissed from the hospital for two hours to attend the wedding.
While Louise and Britt had no children of their own, they had a strong relationship with their nieces, nephews and their Godson's family.
Louise was a straight-forward person. She said exactly what she thought and often had a unique way of saying it. When she thought someone was getting uppity, she might say, "She can't fool me," She's been to the barn" or "She's heard Old Rover bark."
While she was a picture of grace and dignity, she also liked to have fun. It was more fun watching her when she told a story than the story was itself. Louise laughed all over, and sometimes tears would stream from her eyes. One of her favorites was something a man had told at a meeting of the Johnson County Chamber of Commerce. It was about a man who sat on an electric fence.
She set high moral stands for herself and expected others to live up to them, too. Countless times, I have heard her say, "Times may change, but morals never do."
The title of a country song is "She's once, twice, three times a lady." That was Louise. She was a lady to the nth degree.
The title of another country song is "Young'uns don't forget where you came from." She never forgot the times when she and Uncle Britt struggled to make ends meet. Together, they survived the Great Depression.
She grew up eating mullet fish, cooking with flavoring bought from the Watkins man and using Cloverine salve. She continued that for all of her life.
Our family has a favorite blessing. I never heard a different one whenever I was at my grandparents or at home. During the years when Louise would meet for lunch in Sparta, we held hands across the table and one of us said that blessing. It has only one sentence and "covers all the bases."
"Gracious Lord, make us humble and truly thankful for these and all other blessings." Her family and friends are truly thankful that we loved and were loved by Louise Hussey Garrard.
Marguerite Cline is the former mayor of Waleska.