Three years ago, I stood looking out over the red cushioned church pews of Mt. Carmel UMC. They held young and old, rich and famous, poor and ordinary, champions and underdogs. And they also held us. Mom, son, brothers, sister, and 7 nieces and nephews who all throw a little twang to it when we talk about our “Aunt Trish”. Below is a glimpse into my speaking notes from the day we celebrated her going home…
We all know her statistics…eight national championships, 1,098 wins, basketball legacy…BUT I’m going to tell you what it was like growing up with Pat Head Summitt as your aunt.
When your phone rang on your birthday, it was her tuneless voice on the other end belting out Happy Birthday. When you were at her house, she made sure you brushed your teeth the night before and woke up the next morning to the smell of bacon. She was the aunt that, you walked in her house and straight to the freezer because you knew there was homemade ice-cream in there. That’s what good aunts do, they keep ice cream in their freezer.
My sister, Casey, had a yard sale at Granny Head’s several years back. Now, some of y’all know that Granny had the prime location in Henrietta for a yard sale. And who doesn’t love a good yard sale? Casey was sitting out there and Aunt Trish was home that weekend and wanted to catch up. So she went out to the yard sale to talk. As people came up, they realized who was sitting there and they would ask, “Can I get your autograph?” She would respond, “You sure can! Find something to buy and I’ll be glad to sign it.” That was the best yard sale in Henrietta history. Because that’s what good aunts do, they help you with your yard sale.
Tracy loved hanging out and talking with her. Because she didn’t half way listen, she always listened. She’d tell Tracy, “Come in here and talk to me while I workout.” That’s what good aunts do, they care and love spending time with you.
The summer of my junior year, I had Goo Goo Dolls on repeat. I can remember like it was yesterday, her coming downstairs and singing with me. That’s what good aunts do. They let you put your favorite song on repeat and they sing at the top of their lungs with you.
I will tell you this, I have several aunts. But she was the aunt that when she was out on the dance floor, I would look at and think, Thank You Lord, that I did not inherit those dance skills! Isn’t that what good aunts do, make you feel better about your own moves?
My cousin, Chris, remembers flying down the road in her old Dotson 280ZX and heading to the movies. Do we not all have nightmares from riding in the car with her? When the gear finally landed in park, you had to peel your stomach off of the roof. Good Aunt’s take you to the movies…fast.
She took David to his first UT football game; they were running late (imagine that) and he really wanted to see kick off, so she was walking fast. She turned around and looked at David and said, “You either need to grow some longer legs or learn how to walk faster.” He was six. When David told me that story he said, “It was Oct. 7, 1977. I remember because I am sitting here holding the ticket in my hand.” You see, good aunts make good memories.
When Derrick was little, he had a stamp collection. As she began to travel, every single place that she went, she would get a post card and mail it home to Derrick. Because that’s what good aunts do, they build their nephew’s stamp collection.
She would get in the floor and play with our kids, change their diapers, and just love on them the same way she did us. Richie said it best when he said, “I never looked in the floor and saw Pat Summitt with my babies, I saw my Aunt Trish.” Good aunts change diapers and play in the floor.
We all have stories where she took us all over the place. I dont think we really thought much about it. And I get it now. What it feels like to be an aunt. To have little nieces and nephews that you adore. The difference is…she would call my mom and say, “Have Lindsey ready, next month I’m taking her to Disneyland!” And I call my sister up and say, “Get Reese ready, we’re going to Sonic, it’s happy hour!” That’s what good aunts do, they do life with you.
But there is one of us who has the best story to tell. My cousin, Chuck. He went to bed on Nov. 7, 2015 and didn’t wake up on Nov. 8th. If you could hear his story, he would tell you that on Tuesday morning of June 28th, he watched his Aunt Trish step into glory and see her Savior for the first time.
I’ve told you what GOOD aunts do. But let me tell you what GREAT aunts do. They have Jesus. The greatest aunts leave a legacy of Jesus. Out of all her travels, all the arenas where she stood center stage, all the accolades, and titles…none compare to June 28, 2016. When a daughter received a crown.
I need you to know that we can talk about legacies and we can talk about victories. But no greater victory had she ever won than that Tuesday morning.
Because the best aunts have homemade ice cream in their freezer…and Jesus in their heart.