Remember me for…Part Two

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
A few days ago I wrote the first half of an article that became important to me when I asked a large group of people, “What do you want to be remembered for in life after you die?” The responses were interesting, revealing, and thought provoking. I asked our readers to join me in thinking about this same question and have had some compelling replies and many good conversations. I would remind us all that we build this legacy day by day and that how we live our everyday lives, and sometimes, even minute by minute, determines our overall composite of life.

While writing this column, I had something happen to me that has never happened in my 75 years and over half a century writing for newspapers and magazines. I received a private message from an irate reader that included some conversation I could not repeat here for humanity’s sake. I have received only a handful of complaint mail in all the years, but this one was over the limit. I am leaving out all of the crude references to body parts and functions. I have never met this writer, nor do I know anything about him at all, which makes his words more baffling to me.

“You just want to justify your oppression while cramming your religious ideologies down our throats. All in all, I am glad your kind of people are dying off at a rapid rate, it’s the closed minded oppression of the free exchange of information perpetuated by your generation and those alike who have left us in this grotesque social situation of ignorance, bigotry, greed, and selfishness,” he wrote. He ended his attack with, “I will delight in reading your obituary.” (I have been told that Billy Hall was/is defending his position for legalizing marijuana in Texas). I am not feeling badly at all, and have no known diseases, so perhaps I will be here for a while longer, much to Mr. Hall’s sorrow.

My first thought was, “I won’t delight in reading your obituary unless you change your attitude and way of thinking.” Why he would be so angry with me is beyond definition or explanation, but it emphasized solidly why I want to be certain that my everyday actions and morals do not imprint anything other than positive action on people’s minds concerning my life’s work and goals. May God bless this human being and may he find peace and joy.

Talking with my friends, I found great joy in learning that my good buddy, Rick Talley first said he wanted to be remembered for his extensive love of fishing and then he changed his answer to, “for being a loyal friend,” and that he is to me. Tammy Lynn Wehrley, a hairstylist, added a touch of humor. She said, “I want everyone to say, ‘I will never look pretty again without her.’” Ray Keonitzer, a self-employed repairer of large commercial laundry equipment, said, “I would like to leave behind something that would bring happiness to people. Perhaps a picture I painted, a song I wrote, or a book.” Sally Edgar Keonitzer, an ordained minister, prayer warrior, and woman of faith, wants to be remembered as a lover of souls.

Jennifer Tate Thompson, an attorney and mother, had an interesting take on the question. She wants the world to remember her as a straight talker and fun loving person. Debbie Herpin White retired from Edward Jones in 2010 and wants to be remembered as a God loving wife, mom, “Granna,” and friend. She adds that she still does the happy dance every Monday morning as she celebrates retirement. Another of our nurses, Angela Pullen, wishes to be remembered as loving, honest, and kind. And Susan Clepper Broussard, mother, grandmother, and teacher, wants to be remembered as an educator who appreciated and enjoyed the exuberance and honesty of children.

Some of the more humorous epitaphs on tombstones I read include, “I told you I was really sick.” “I came into this world without my consent and left in the same manner.” “Here lies an atheist, all dressed up and no where to go.” “Here lies the body of Margaret Bent. She kicked up her hills and away she went.” And my personal favorite today — “Under the sod and under the trees, lies the body of Jonathan Pease. He is not here, there’s only the pod. Pease shelled out and went to God.”

I have more responses to my question, and perhaps we can do another column or maybe even a couple of profile pieces on those that have such worthy goals and interesting lives.

Thank you for helping me with this writing.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or


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