Nathaniel Hosch Evans
Sunrise: Sept. 24, 1944
Sunset: Dec. 20, 2008
It seems like he should still be here, the jovial one, the prankster. Yet, as of today, it’s been exactly one year since the Lord decided he needed his son with him.
He was Aunt Lucille’s one and only and even though we were 16 years apart, there was always this strong bond between us. Aunt Lucille, who is only 2 years older that my mother, always called him my big brother and when he married and began having his own family, his children were my little brother’s and sisters.
I don’t think anyone ever called him Nathaniel. To family he was Nay or Nat. Friends called him Hosch. More recently whenever we saw each other we always addressed each other Mr. Evans and Miss Jones with the biggest smiles on our faces. I have no clue why we started doing this but it was always a fun thing to do and we both got such a kick out of doing it.
Cousin Nay had such a big heart. He was paralyzed most of his adult life due to blood clots, but he never let the paralysis stop him or used it as an excuse. I don’t ever remember seeing a frown on his face even during the last year of his life when he was in extreme pain. He was always checking on everybody to see if they were okay and helping out whether it was helping mom with some painting, ferrying his mom to the doctor, helping me find a new engine for my car, or assisting friends in the community with some of their needs. When I went off to college, he was the one that took me because he had a van to put all my belongings in. Mom always said she saw him do more from a wheelchair than lots of folks who still had the use of their legs. I couldn’t agree with her more.
On top of all that he was a tireless worker in church. He always visited the sick and shut-in, offering his assistance to them. He along with the rest of my family that are members of our little hometown church was the biggest reason that after moving back to the big city, I tried for as long as I could to still get back over to the hometown on Sundays for church.
But it’s this time of year that I think will always cause me to long for my “big brother” the most. Until recently when I begin my own holiday tradition, for at least 20 years, Thanksgiving and Christmas were always spent with Cousin Nay’s family. I always got such joy from picking out just the right present from him, whether it was the gag gift of $1000, shredded, that I got from the Charlotte Mint or working 24/7 for days on end to cross-stitch a picture for he and his wife.
His funeral was a true tribute to the man and a realization of how many lives he touched during the short time that God allowed him to walk with us. Our little church was definitely too small. Aunt Lucille and Cousin Nay's wife decided to move the funeral to one of our bigger churches. It still wasn’t big enough to hold all of those who knew and loved him.
For as much as I miss my “big brother” and long to have him pick at me one more time, it’s when I visit my aunt; see his wife and my cousins, his children and grandchildren; or listen to my mother’s remembrances of her “favorite” nephew that I realize how much he meant to our family and how much we all depended on him. Like Billy Joel said it seems “only the good die young.”
Until Next Time!
Picture from the personal collection of Mavis Jones.