I got a phone call from my Aunt Becky today. She is perhaps the most "twinkly" of all the women in my family. (Read my previous entry in this blog if you don't understand that reference.)
Aunt Becky is single and never had children of her own so she has always borrowed her nieces and nephews for child-like play time. My family lived in Dallas and when I was a preschooler she was in seminary in Ft. Worth. She later moved to Dallas where she lived for most of my childhood. I recall clearly my earliest memories of her.
Here was this woman who looked remarkably like my own mother, but she was ...bigger. I'm referring to her presence, not her size. She told wonderful, loud stories with funny facial expressions and silly voices and big gestures and her laughter filled up the room.
Most grown-ups who visited, including relatives, would speak to the other grown-ups most of the time and eventually get around to asking us kids questions like "What do you want to be when you grow up?" before returning to their conversations as my brother and sister and I went back outside or to our rooms to play. But Aunt Becky would get right down on the floor and play games with us for hours. I remember being fascinated by her and watching her to see what she'd do next.
When Aunt Becky was attending seminary in Ft. Worth she would occasionally have to take time out from our visit to work on her homework. One day she looked up from her work to see me standing at the door, just watching her. She said, "Donna, I can't play right now, but if you want to come in and keep me company we can play when I'm finished." And I did. I sat quietly and watched her while she finished her class assignment and then we went back to playing. Since then I have always been her "Company Girl."
Aunt Becky and I had an exciting adventure one day when I was about four or five years old. She had taken me with her to go pick up the last of her things at the dorm in Ft. Worth as she was moving to Dallas. I recall the big, stately buildings on the campus and the map on the floor in the enormous rotunda and the big smiles on the faces of her friends as she introduced me to them.
The rain started on the way home and it came down in sheets. We couldn't see the car on the Turnpike in front of us and the windows kept fogging up. This was back before laws about kids riding in the backseat, before most cars even had seat belts. I spent most of our drive back to Dallas jumping from the front seat to the back seat to wipe off the inside of the windshields so Aunt Becky could see better.
Then we both heard and felt a loud bump. I jumped to the back seat to see what it was and I saw a trash can in the road, the big metal kind we had in our backyard by the alley But this one was sort of ...crunched in the middle. Apparently, we'd just run over it. Now in some families that might be told and retold as a scary story. But when Aunt Becky tells it we always end up laughing about how ridiculous we must have looked with me climbing back and forth over the seats to wipe off the windows and her running over trash cans.
In my family, almost every story ends up being funny, whether it started out that way or not.
Back to the phone call….
During my conversation with Aunt Becky we somehow landed on the topic of my grandmother's colonoscopies. (I chose not to retrace our steps in an attempt to discover how we arrived at this topic. Some things are better left alone.) Aunt Becky began to giggle and made me get pen and paper ready before continuing her story, saying "You're going to want to write this one down!"
Aunt Becky helped take care of her mother/my grandmother during her declining years and told me about the last time she took her in for a colonoscopy. Afterwards, as they were leaving my grandmother turned to her and said, "If I'm growing anything in there, I'm takin' it with me. I'm not goin' through that again!" Aunt Becky and I collapsed in laughter as I struggled to dutifully write down that quote for posterity.
I could just see the twinkle in my grandmother's eye as she said that.
And in Aunt Becky's as she told the story.
I don't know how old I will be when I breathe my last...
or how feeble I may become before I get there...
but I hope I never lose the ability
to find the funny.
Thanks, Aunt Becky!
I love you!