I first met Linda in June 1968. My cousin Jimmy introduced us to her at their wedding. I was 9 years old and remember thinking that she was a pretty blonde girl and Jimmy is a lucky guy to marry her. My younger brother Donny was the ring bearer at the wedding. To be honest, I don’t recall much about the wedding. What I do remember clearly was standing outside at Jimmy’s ’65 Mustang fastback thinking ‘what a cool car’. Johnny and I watched Jimmy’s friends write stuff all over the maroon Mustang with white shoe polish. Just before Jimmy and Linda arrived at the car to leave, one of the guys put the half full shoe polish bottle, with the top removed, on the roof of the Mustang. Even at the age of 9 years old, I had an appreciation for muscle cars and when I saw that bottle on the roof of the car, I figured out what the guys were doing. When the car moved, the bottle would fall over and coat the back of the car with white polish. When Jimmy and Linda got to the car, I told him about that bottle, and he took it off the roof. They drove away in that cool Mustang that had stuff written all over it. I think they even had cans with string tied to the rear bumper.

 A year or so later, I met their young daughter Kelli at Christmas. We all gathered in Pine Bluff, Arkansas for Christmas. Jimmy was in the Air Force and was able to take time off to be with family. Kelli was the first female born Overton in 80 years. There were all boys in the family and girls were rare. Linda’s family also lived in Pine Bluff, so they also spent time with them.

More years went past before I saw Jimmy, Linda, and Kelli again. I think this was when they lived in Sacramento, California. They had a Dodge van that they traveled in, and I know it was a long drive from the west coast to Arkansas. Linda made a great Air Force wife. I never heard her complain about the many moves and all the unknowns that a military family must live with. After the holidays we all went on with our lives. It seemed like long periods of time between seeing each other. Too long. Life passes by so fast. Before I knew it I was out of high school when Jimmy, Linda and Kelli came to Texas to visit us. Kelli was almost in high school.

Fast forward to after I was married to Jennifer, and our daughter Allison was born. The second female born Overton after Kelli. Jimmy and I now have this common bond. Allison was the flower girl in Kelli’s wedding which seems like yesterday as I write this. Her wedding was at a chapel on an Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Jimmy and Linda, now retired from the Air Force moved to the San Antonio area to be near their young grand kids, Seth, and Evie.

Living on the Gulf Coast, we live with the fact that hurricanes sometimes come ashore where we live. Many of those times we needed to evacuate. Our go-to place to evacuate was Jimmy and Linda’s house in Bulverde, Texas. All we needed to do was call to say that we were on our way. I recall several times when we were driving in the thick traffic leaving the coastal area when Linda would call us to see what we wanted to eat over the next few days. She was making a shopping list of everything we asked for. After I hung up the call, she would then call Jennifer who was driving another car behind us. When we arrived at their house, sometimes after many hours on the road, more hours than a normal drive Linda and Jimmy welcomed us to their home. One time Mom and Dad were already there so the house was full. Even though Jimmy and Linda had no pets at that time, they welcomed our little zoo we brought with us. Jennifer told me that Linda watched Jimmy loving on one of our dogs and said, “We are getting a dog!” Apparently there had been some discussion about getting a dog and they had not reached an agreement. The next time we visited, we met Oliver, their cute little dog.

Linda’s health started failing in the last couple of years to dementia. It was sad to see her not remember things. She was always welcoming to us when we would show up for a visit. At the memorial service Kelli told us about the last conversation she had with her mom. Kelli would drop by to visit her almost every day. As she sat at the foot of Linda’s bed, Linda asked, “Who is your mom?” Kelli responded, “you are.” Linda said, “That’s good!”

I learned a few things at the memorial service I had not heard of before. Jimmy met Linda in high school. Linda brought a note to him from another girl. Jimmy said he liked Linda the message courier better. They started dating in their junior year of high school. They decided to get married in their senior year but wanted to wait until after graduation. They both graduated high school in May 1968 and married in June 1968.

Linda was a wonderful wife, mom, and cousin. She was faithful in her walk with Jesus and even led Jimmy to the Lord. My brothers and I along with our wives stayed in Linda’s and Jimmy's house over the weekend. Jimmy was able to spend some time with us on Friday evening. It was so good to catch up with him. As we all left the house on Sunday morning, I locked the front door and had a sense of closing this chapter in our lives. Linda was no longer here. I know we will see her again because I know where she is.