Before I left Arizona last week, I saw my Great-Aunt one last time to say, “Good-By.” I picked her up from my relative’s house where she lived and slept. She had combed her short blonde hair pretty and straight, scrubbing her face shiny to glow in the sun. “Are you ready, Aunt Shirley?” “Oh, heaven’s yes,” she answered, her sparkling blue eyes twinkling.
As we drove to one of her favorite restaurants in town, we passed familiar cactus in the wide open desert together with several stray dogs roaming on the street. Aunt Shirley’s frail hands were folded in her lap. She fidgeted, knowing it was our last visit, for this trip at least. When would I be coming back? That’s what she was thinking, as I read her silent senior mind. My visits were one of the things that she most looked forward to.
It’s hard for me to leave, harder still for her to see me go. At 88 years old, she gets lonely. She is loved where she lives it is true, but for her, it is nearly the same every day. She can no longer see well enough to read her dear books or to be independent. She is unable to drive her fanciful convertible car, or even to simply walk her beloved dog, Bunky. Yet she is not one to ever complain. She’s lived a good life. She lives it still.
We stopped at a restaurant she most frequents named, J.B’s. It has a Senior menu that offers a little of everything. Aunt Shirley is very frail, and as usual, wasn’t very hungry. I mulled over the menu for a minute. Ordering for her is a challenge as I am forever trying to fatten her up. A nice waitress came by with a smile on her face and a pony tail in her hair with a big blue bow. She brought us water and coffee with cream. “Ahhhh!” There on the menu was the perfect picture of an item for someone not hungry, yet one that needed calories. A malted milkshake! “We’ll share it, please,” I said to the nice girl, the one with the big blue bow in her hair. “I’d like it extra thick, made with hot fudge and malted milk powder if you have it.” She smiled at me, glancing at Aunt Shirley while writing on her green tablet with a red colored pen.
Soon the waitress came back with a tall clear fountain glass. It spilled over the brim, dripping with scoops of chocolate ice cream, cocoa-colored milk, and thick hot fudge. She brought an extra matching glass, two striped straws wrapped in cream paper, and extra long silver spoons that made clinking sounds against the glasses. I started to pour half of the drink into Aunt Shirley’s tall glass before beginning to laugh. One clear glass was nearly full with the delicious confection while the other was still rising to the top! How could it be?
I examined my fountain glass like a science experiment, stirring it up with one of the extra long spoons. Was I missing something? Was it a bottomless glass? I peered at my Aunt to see her expression. She pondered me, her eyes wide with wonder, her pink lips parting in a smile as she scooted up to look deep into the vessel. We laughed. Was this a joke or something? Then we gave up. We drank our milkshakes, held hands, lived and loved. It was the perfect ending to our perfect visit.
It was The Magic Glass.