January 2nd is my great aunt’s birthday. Her name was Helen, but to all of us, she was known as Tunky. (Tunky is a Gullah word meaning “sweet little baby.”) My Tunky is in heaven now, but boy, when she walked this Earth, she LIVED!
Tunky was a jokester, a lover of the arts and travel, and a delight to be around. She lit up a room with her smile and infectious laugh. And oh, the puns she told. She had the quickest wit and the corniest puns.
We jokingly referred to her as “Butterball” because she seemed to eat lots, but in fact she was a slow eater who she savored her food and told stories during the meal so that kept her from eating as quickly as the rest of us.
She lived on Rainbow Row in Charleston in the home her family moved to from Pennsylvania. I remember that place as one where we laughed often, played tons of music, and explored the city and our imaginations.
I think it’s symbolic her birthday was January 2nd because her spirit and outlook inspired positivity and hope. What better time of year for celebrating her than January?
Who Is Your Tunky?
I think we all need a few more Tunkys in our lives. It can be a relative, a family friend, or a mentor. Your Tunky challenges you to be your very best, yet always loves and supports when you stumble. Inspires you to reach for the stars and is willing to be that landing pad for you to launch from and return to.
Mine modeled how to be an encourager and a contributor. A dreamer and a doer before I knew anything about Walt Disney. Her spunk and energy were contagious. I miss my Tunky.
So in 2016, my hope is that you find your Tunky and learn from her (or him). I sure did.