#rememberingneenee

Elizabeth Ann Devine Kinney

August 3rd, 1937 – October 23rd, 2016

She was my comedic rival. She was my bright light in a tunnel of darkness. She was my NeeNee.

I was privileged to grow up for the first 24 years of my life with all four of my grandparents. As they watched me grow up and grow older, I did the same. I went from seeing my NeeNee out in the backyard, kicking the soccer ball around with us to her watching us from their porch while we played in the yard.

One thing that never changed with her age was her humor. She loved to laugh, and we loved it when she laughed. Her laugh was infectious; it never mattered if you understood the joke. If NeeNee understood it, she would get everyone else laughing.

Above all, she was the easiest person to shop for gifts. Anything frog; I mean anything! You could make her a foam craft frog, and she would still have it on her frog bookshelf decades later. Everyone knew that frogs were NeeNee’s “thing.” She never went overboard with the frogabilia, but she cherished everyone she got. My favorite frog piece of hers was the stained glassed lamp that sat in the front room of their house for years and years. It was beautiful and colorful and perfect. When I went up to New Jersey in 2016 for her funeral and Poppop told everyone to take their favorite piece of NeeNee’s frogabilia home with us, I wanted to have the lamp. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit in my bag, it was old, and I didn’t trust the postal workers to transport it down to Texas safely. That’s when I knew I wanted a tattoo based on the lamp. I took photos of it from all different angles to capture its beauty.

You may think, ‘It’s 2018, and you just got it tattooed. Obviously, you didn’t care that much.’ That’s where you are wrong. I cared deeply about it. I researched various tattoo techniques, compared black and white work to colorwork, thought long and hard about placement and size. After a year of research, I still hadn’t found the perfect artist, but I knew how I wanted it. The tough part was telling my parents who were none too happy to know that their precious princess is going to be marked for life (disregarding the countless scars she has on her body). I found the courage and told my parents separately, and it went better than I thought it would, they accepted it and were content on the amount of effort I put in into finding the perfect tattoo. The only thing missing was the tattoo artist. It was coming down to crunch time. I had contacted a couple of artists that had flaked on me already had August 3rd booked up. Then I found Daniel O’Driscoll. His geometric linework is phenomenal, and the way he can inlay the color into is work to add to the geometric work instead of covering it up; I knew he was the man to create the masterpiece of my first tattoo.

He was patient, kind, and saw my vision better than I ever did. He is a dedicated artist, is passionate about his craft, and is ever growing. Check out his work.

You may even see a piece that you recognize. If you are in Austin, Texas and need a tattoo…go to him.

Goodbye Neenee

Today the world lost an amazing woman who I knew as Neenee. May knew her as Elizabeth, Betty Ann, or Lizzy. A couple of people knew her as mom, and one knew her as wife. She had always been there for me whether in person or over the phone. No matter what I was doing, she was always looking over my shoulder and guiding me through the journey of life.

I don’t know if I believe that heaven is real or where our “souls” go when we die, but whatever does happen to them I hope she goes somewhere warm where she can swim until her heart’s content.

Her funeral is this weekend, and I volunteered to speak. I will be reading a poem that my Poppop loves; it is called So Little Time by Sister Miriam Barker:

So little time to say the things
You’d really like to say
Before you even find the words
The time just slips away.

So little time to do the things
You feel that you must do.
So treasure, like the purest gold,
The time God’s given you.

So little time to dream your dreams
For youth has passed its prime,
And all too soon you realize
That there’s … so little time.

So little time to reach the height
To which you’re bound to climb,
For swiftly pass the waring years,
And there’s … so little time.

So little time for past regrets,
And less, to make amends,
Yet God can heal the deepest wounds
In chosen, cherished friends.

So little time to share God’s love,
And beauty here on earth
And know, before His endless time,
Their meaning and true worth.

Oh, yes, there is so little time
To seek the hidden door
That open’s up to heaven’s time,
Where time’s forevermore.