I’m still in Arizona soaking up the sun, visiting my father, my brothers and my maternal great-aunt. My Aunt Shirley is a tiny treasure, no more than 90 pounds who my mother left to me (and others) when she passed on.
My aunt is the youngest of eleven children who recently turned eighty-eight years old. One would never know. She’s truly an anomaly in every sense of the word. Not because of the number of years she’s lived on this earth of ours. Rather, because of the way she’s lived those number of years on this earth of ours. She is one of the few people I’ve ever met who can honestly and with conviction say, “I have no regrets, I’ve done everything I’ve ever wanted to do in my life.” Is she sick? No. Is she on her death-bed? Hardly. Ha, this ‘young’ woman in my life is sassy and sharp, quick-witted and strong in spirit. The best friend and ‘therapist’ I could ever hope to have in life. I have told her so……..even the ‘therapist’ part. She laughs it off, but it is true. She is so wise and she’s seen so much in life. She knows just what to say when to say it, and how to put her thoughts into words. I’m not the only one who thinks this way.
On New Year’s Eve, I had dinner with her in a small restaurant where we split a white ceramic plate of rare, pink prime rib. She ordered an “Absolute” martini, straight up with twist of yellow lemon floating on the side. I joined her with a Lemon-Drop. A “Kool-Aid,” drink she said with a twinkle in her eye as we clinked our glasses to the next day, the next year of hopeful, 2014.
She told me stories I thought could only be read in books. Things I might write about myself one day, or at least, I wish I could! As she smiled and reminisced, she got that far off look. It was obvious even without words the joy she lived all those years ago. How she loved that smashing time in her life! The music she listened to, the movies stars she saw in the flesh or the places she visited and the people she met.
By the end of the evening, Aunt Shirley was drinking a cup of coffee. I was on my second and last martini (the one I never finished), asking silly questions. “Aunt Shirley, will you go to church with me tomorrow?” “On New Year’s Day?” she asked. “There is no church tomorrow.”
She always has the right answer, she always knows…….