Sunday, July 15, 2007

The day isn't starting out too well . . .

I have a big goose egg on my temple and a scrape on my knee and finger, thanks to Ms. Romy, who "greeted" another dog by running down the street toward her at a dead run, dragging me behind. Her obedience is out of control; I've let her coast for so long it's like she doesn't even hear me. Sound familiar to any of you with teenagers?

My aunt died yesterday just a few weeks before her 90th birthday. My aunt was my father's sister and definitely, when I think of the word 'matriarch,' she comes to mind. She hadn't been ill, in fact, she was still driving herself to the beauty salon. A big party was planned for her on the 27th, so all in all, it's sad, but she went quietly in the early morning hours.

She and my father were so close that it was wonderful to see them interact. My aunt became very ill one year on a trip from Arizona back to her home state of Pennsylvania, and my father packed up a bag and drove straight to Houston to sit at her bedside for a week.

They were raised on a farm in upstate New York and had a tough childhood. My father was forced to become the 'man' of the family at six or so and that was his driving force in life--to be responsible and do what a 'man' did. I think everything he learned about being a man before the service was in the Boy Scouts.

My aunt taught kindergarten, as I recall, until she married a grocery store manager, who would later by their bootstraps form a large grocery store chain. But my aunt was always the benchmark of the family, the one everyone turned to with their heartaches, their cuts and scrapes and their joy. She will be missed terribly.

There are many stories surrounding her famous relationship with her hard-driving husband, but let me share one of the best. Let us suppose her last name was 'Richard'. She had a habit, which spoke louder than words, of rolling her eyes when her husband was not in synch with her thinking, which was about 99 percent of the time, it appeared. Her daughter, my cousin whom I visited in April in South Carolina, has a great eye roll, too, as do her two daughters.

My cousin's husband remarked that he and my aunt's husband and a brother-in-law or so would sit on one side of the table and all the women would be on the other side. My uncle would make some remark and my cousin's husband said he'd immediately watch "The Richard roll," which was four sets of female eyes rolling simultaneously. Can't you just visualize it?

I love to cook, and often, in fact just a few months ago, I called her to ask her how to tweak some recipe or what cut of meat to use for a particular dish, I can't recall which. We've lost that, and much more, but this is life, isn't it?

My mother and aunt were great friends, and I know that she's in the great beyond with my father and my mother, having a few laughs, or, knowing them, a lot of laughs. I will miss her.


Lounge Daddy said...

Oh man. Take it easy with that bump on the head - and good luck with that great big huge doggie of yours

Pam said...

I sorry darlin'. I wonder sometimes about who will I call with my "cooking issues" when my Mom is gone. The older women just knew how to improvise so well. I loved your little family story..we all have those don't we? Take care sweetie.

just another addict said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, N.
And thanks you for sharing a sweet part of your family.


sober jen said...

What a lovely memory! I see exactly how much life your aunt had, and why you'll miss her.

Christine said...

what wonderful memories to cherish
How blessed to have an Aunt to love who loved you
And what a great image of "the roll" Yes! I could see it

Meg Moran said...

You will have to keep the eye roll alive my is your legacy...we shall practice in San Antonio!

Tell Romy to knock it off....

Syd said...

It sounds as if your aunt had a great sense of self and a good life. That is all that anyone can ask. I liked the rolling of the eyes. I'm sure that she is having a big time in the great beyond.

msb said...

Hope your ok.