By Faye Gaston
It is said that we have many acquaintances in our lifetime but very few true friends. Niecey (Elaine Taylor) was a true friend. She was a cook for the county jail and for the Piggly Wiggley. She used the kitchen at the Union Springs Senior Citizens Nutrition Center to cook for the inmates at the jail. She was extremely organized.
Therefore, between her cooking jobs she socialized with senior citizens every day and helped with events for senior citizens. I am one of those senior citizens. Last December she dressed as a Reindeer at our Christmas Party held in Midway.
Personally, she helped me on the computer and my cell phone. Once she solved a problem on the computer that several people could not solve.
She was smart and taught herself how to use these modern-day communication machines.
One day I was suffering with severe allergy breathing problems. I told her my new breathing treatment machine was in the car but I did not know how to use it. She ordered me to get it out of the car and ordered me to sit in a chair. Then she taught me how to use the machine that eased my breathing and then I used it often at home for allergy attacks.
I use my car like an office with several boxes. One day I loaded my boxes back in the car and late that night discovered one was missing that held personal and business papers that could not be replaced. Sure enough, she had seen my box in front of the building and saved it for me.
She cooked a fried catfish meal for my birthday every year. This was a special treat for me, getting to eat my birthday meal with my friend with enough to take home for another meal.
Every December she would deliver a big bag of Christmas gifts that I would buy for the friend who found me in the ice and snow with a broken ankle from a fall on my front porch steps in 2010. This friend had moved from Union Springs but Niecey made it her business to somehow get my gift to her.
Niecey took a vacation trip each year. I gave her a cash gift for her trip and for her birthday. At my insistence she celebrated her 59th birthday with us at the Nutrition Center this year knowing she would be old enough to officially join us on her 60th birthday. However, she was saving her money to have a huge birthday party with her relatives in another state on her 60th birthday.
The last thing I said to Niecey was, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” The next morning the Center director said, “Your friend has passed.” I like that my African-American friends say “passed” instead of “died” because Christians do “pass” from this life into another life.
If there is cooking in Heaven, I will enjoy some fried catfish meals with my friend again.