Sisters stayed humble despite honor

Published 9:39 am Saturday, February 4, 2012

Some tales are too good not to be told. This is one of them.

“Sisters,” Pat and Geraldine, were named to the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel’s “12 Beautiful People” list in 2005. The recognition was for people who had risen to the top of their professions.

Pat said it wasn’t for that. It was for real pretty people.

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Whatever the reason, the “Sisters” traveled to the Renaissance Hotel in Huntsville to be honored. They were dressed for the occasion – high heel shoes, stockings and earbobs – and they were excited to be there.

“Country come to town,” Geraldine said, laughing.

The recognition program would attract a large gathering of rather influential people in addition to the “12 Beautiful People” and their followings.

Sitting in the lobby, someone mentioned to Pat and Geraldine that one of them would have to say a few words when accepting the award.

Geraldine said she couldn’t do it. Pat said she could.

It was suggested that it would be a good idea for her to practice what she was going to say.

Pat said she didn’t need to practice. She knew how to talk. She would say something when she got up there.

She was reminded that there would be a large audience. She said she wasn’t afraid of a bunch of city folks. She could talk to anybody.

Many times over and by many in the Sisters’ entourage, Pat encouraged to make notes on what she planned to say. But she sloughed off the suggestions. “It will come to me.”

The assembly room was large and it was packed to overflowing. There was a wide stage about three and a half feet high. There were steps on either end. One by one, the honorees walked down the center aisle, up the steps and onto the stage to accept their awards.

When the Sisters’ names were called, they walked down the center aisle. Geraldine turned left toward the steps but sister Pat kept going and hopped like a frog right up on the stage. Without any assistance and in her Sunday dress, she hopped.

She did it rather fluidly. Like she would have hopped over a split-rail fence on the back 40. Her right leg made the first move. Her foot shot up with her knee right behind in a swift upward kick. Her left leg trailed behind and her black high heel shoe gave a slight upward kick to her long flowing black print skirt as upward she went.

The audience emitted a soft gasp and then a muffled laugh.

By the time Geraldine made it to center stage, Pat was in place, facing the audience and straightening her skirt.

The emcee had good things to say about the Sisters and even better things to say about their banana pudding. He then presented plaques to them and gave the microphone over to Pat, who had turned as white as her lacy blouse.

She was suddenly struck dumb.

Geraldine gave her a little nudge. Pat’s eyes darted from left to right and back again before locking front and center. With her mouth slightly open and without moving her mouth or even her lips, she said in a weak and frail voice, “Y’all come on down to ‘Susters’ and I make you some nanner puddin’ and, with that, she bolted toward the end of the stage.

Just before she hopped off, Geraldine grabber the back of her collar, snatch her white lacy blouse up around her neck and pulled her sideways toward the steps.

The thunderous applause was more for the hop, the landing and the dismout than for the award presenation. The ovation for the Sisters was the loudest and longest of any award winner.

“Who are those ladies?” a man asked a member of their entourage.

“Don’t know. Never saw ’em before,” was the reply.

Jaine Treadwell is features editor of The Messenger. Email her at