Tell them you love them — while you can

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2018

This week is about being thankful and counting our blessings and I can tell you that I am truly blessed. I have an incredible daughter making her way through adulthood as a wife and nursing school student. Both of my parents are still with us, though their 70s are beginning to show some. My younger brothers and their families are both well, so life is good.

But there’s also a bit of a void in my life this week.

Two years ago today, one of my biggest supporters departed this life for a better one and it’s a loss that I still struggle with today.

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She was born Eva Lois Sigler in the Mississippi Delta and later changed her name to Kandas when she moved to northern California where she fit right in with those movie-star looks.

When I was born as her first nephew, she attempted to teach me to call her “Auntie” but the best I could do was say “Tee Tee” — a nickname that I hung her with, which led to both my brothers also calling her “Tee Tee” and subsequently our children calling her by the nickname, as well as many of our friends.

While she was learning to become a beautician, she gave me my first haircut and for years she was the only person I would allow cut my hair. When it was time for my haircut, I can still recall her telling me to place my head in her lap.

The cool aunt, she drove a ’71 Mustang Mach 1 that I thought was the coolest car around and was the catalyst for my love of the Mustang. I still drive one today.

Her love for football, and in particular the Dallas Cowboys — a team I despise since I have spent my entire life as a die-hard San Francisco 49ers fan — was legendary. We often ribbed each other when it comes to the two rivals, particularly when they played each other. My 49ers dominated the ’80s and I was sure to let her know, while the Cowboys enjoyed a re-birth in the ’90s and she was sure to remind me. In recent years, neither of our teams has been overly great and so the good-natured ribbing subsided.

She even took me to a Major League Baseball game.

I fondly remember going to a San Francisco Giants game in 1972 for what I believe was my cousin’s 10th birthday and got to ride in the back seat of that Mustang. That game stands out for me because I saw Bobby Bonds and Dave Kingman hit back-to-back home runs and my Giants went on to victory.

There are so many other memories I remember sharing with “Tee Tee” and her family while we lived in northern California — Christmas, birthday parties, Easter egg hunts.

Years after my family returned to Mississippi, “Tee Tee” and her husband and two adult daughters all moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and it seemed like old times when we all got together.

But as life would have it, I eventually grew older and further apart from “Tee Tee,” and that is something I regret.

“Tee Tee” passed away two years ago today and there are many times when I think back on all those memories. I still have the texts she would randomly send me stating “Love you Big Guy;” they still bring a smile to my face.

I’m sure this week I will be thinking about her more as we give thanks and count our blessings for all we have and remember those who are no longer with us. I hope each of you are thankful and blessed, but I also ask that you remind those you love how blessed and thankful you are to have them in your life.

Rob Sigler is editor of The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at