Author Rick Kelsheimer babbles and rants in a shameless attempt to trick unsuspecting web surfers to buy his books: Paradise Lanes The Lost Slab, South Union, The Hanging Of Betsey Reed, Wa-Ba-Shik-Ki and The Adventures of Wabash Jake
Aunt Sharon used to tease me about writing something
nice about her before she died. “I want mine while I’m still alive,” she told
me. To live up to my promise, I did pay tribute to her as an inspiration for
being the true historian of our family in the back of my last book. The little
blurb was far too insignificant and fell short of what needed to be said about
her. Therefore, I will break my promise and write something about Aunt Sharon, after
Aunt Sharon was proud about being
a descendant of Davy Crockett along with the fact that we had a pair 0f
grandmothers who were also sisters. (They were also Crockett descendants.) The
fact that our family tree grew back together after branching out on more than
one occasion seemed to tickle her instead of being a point of contention. She
loved our family history and spent hours on end in pursuit of the truth.
Over the past couple of years,
Aunt Sharon was helping me with my research on proving that we are also descendants
of Sergeant Alvin York. After convincing myself that I had proved beyond a
shadow of a doubt that Alvin York was an Uncle to all of us with Kelsheimer
lineage, Aunt Sharon called me back and informed me that I was missing a death
certificate of a ne’er-do-well ancestor, who had run off to Michigan in the
1850’s. As a novelist, I look at cold hard facts as something to work around,
but she informed me that genealogists live by a different creed. They are all
like Joe Friday. “Just the facts ma’am…” So as it stands, I am confident to say
that there is a 97.35% chance that the members of our family are all nieces and
nephews of Sergeant Alvin C. York.
Many of my best childhood
memories occurred in Danville at the home of my city cousins. Growing up on a
farm where the nearest kid lived two miles away, a trip to Danville was truly a
trip to the big city. There were all kinds of ways to get into trouble at Aunt
Sharon’s house that were unavailable to me at home. With the four Oreskovich
boys along with myself and my two brothers—poor Aunt Sharon never had a chance.
Our visits were more like an invasion than a family reunion. I should probably
take this opportunity to apologize to my sweet cousin, Mary, who looking back,
was tortured in more ways than can be described. It’s a miracle she turned out
as good as she did.
Aunt Sharon took everything in
stride. Don’t get me wrong. Aunt Sharon wasn’t a wallflower when it came to corralling
wayward boys. She had enough practice, that you might say she was an expert on
the subject. She ruled with a firm hand, without letting you forget that she
still loved you. It didn’t hurt that my punishments were never as severe as
Tommy’s or Steve’s. It was almost like having your cake and eating it too.
During my lifetime, all Aunt Sharon ever gave me was love and kindness. In
return—I teased and tormented her endlessly. She always made me feel at home and a part of
There were several times during
my teenage years and in my twenties that Aunt Sharon was the only voice of
reason in my life. We had some conversations that had a profound effect on the
way I look at things today. Her love was unconditional and her advice was
Several years ago, during a
private conversation I had with Aunt Sharon, she mentioned that she didn’t feel
she had anything to give anybody. Some of her friends had what she called “personal
ministries.” They had a purpose or a cause to give their lives meaning. She
said she didn’t have any callings, like feeding the homeless or saving stray
animals. She wanted to do more with her life, but didn’t know what to do.
I asked her to name the most
important thing in her life.
“That’s easy,” she answered. “It’s
my family. I love my family more than life itself.”
“How is that not your calling?” I
asked. After all—her children and grandchildren
numbered enough to fill a country church-house.
She thought about it and then smiled.
When her eyes began to water, she gave me a hug and then ran into the kitchen. When
I heard her banging around in the other room, I was half-afraid to go in and
check on her. Shortly thereafter, she returned with two giant bowls of ice
cream. Aunt Sharon also had a calling for ice cream. She realized that her family had
been her "personal ministry" all along.
The point I want to make is that,
Sharon Oreskovich loved her family more than she loved life, itself. So to
Uncle Tom, and Oreskovich/Adams cousins; whenever Aunt Sharon was “getting up
in your business,” she was just spreading her love and fulfilling her calling.
So Aunt Sharon, I am truly sorry
for breaking my promise, but I had to say something. I love you and will miss
Rick Kelsheimer will be appearing at the Southern Indiana Writers Festival along with National bestselling author James Alexander Thom and twelve of Indiana's favorite author's. There will be a meet and greet on Saturday November 2, from noon to 2 pm est at the main library in Vincennes, Indiana. The event is free to the public.
I saw these guys In Terre Haute in1975. Tje opened up for REO Speedwagon and Bob Seeger. I think the ticket for the show was $7.00. Their biggest hit was Smokin' in The Boy's Room. The Band was a little quirky to say the least.