My husband grew up with two aunts on his mother’s side of the family, Aunt Lynne and Aunt Belle. His father was an only child so those two aunts were nearly all of the extended family that he had. His mother was the oldest daughter, followed by those mentioned above. When I came into the family (26+ years ago), both of his aunts embraced me quickly, but Aunt Lynne was ever the inquisitor. She wanted to know everything about me! Where I grew up, who my kinfolk were, what schools I went to, etc. etc.
She also had a funny bone. If she could get your goat, you could darned well bet she would do it! And laugh, my goodness, she found so many things to laugh about you would find yourself laughing just because she was laughing…then you’d wonder why you were laughing!
One of her favorite times of the year was the annual family and friends reunion that is held at my in-law’s (or out-law’s, depending on who’d show up) over the July 4th holiday. When I first ventured down (I lived in Missouri at the time) to one of the reunions, it was the summer before I married my husband. At that time, there were well over 50 people who camped out in my in-law’s backyard and many more who stopped by to hug the necks and catch up with those who attending the reunion. And right there in the thick of things, was Aunt Lynne – making sure she got her hugs and kisses and caught up with all the latest news with each and every person there.
Usually, Aunt Lynne and Aunt Belle would come to the reunion a few days early as my mother-in-law’s birthday is July 1st. At that time, the three sisters would pick an evening and they would exchange gifts amongst the three of them to celebrate all three birthdays at the same time.
In 2012, my mother-in-law made lap quilts for her sisters. Aunt Lynne laid hers out on the kitchen table and, like a true fabricaholic, let her fingers do the walking as she felt her way through each and every block and stitch that went into her quilt.
Aunt Lynne and Uncle David were family to me. Especially when I had no family close by. They embraced me and brought me into their fold without a second glance. I was amazed at how quickly they loved me, and the feeling was mutual.
Unfortunately, Aunt Lynne passed away in 2013. She left a big hole in her family’s hearts and lives, and in my family’s, too. We have an extension of my mother-in-law’s landline in our house (we live on her property but in separate houses). We turned off the ringer but we could hear the messages when folks were leaving them. Aunt Lynne was notorious for calling my mother-in-law, and if her answering machine picked up, she would refuse to leave a message. So after she passed away, anytime the message machine picked up and the caller hung up, whoever heard it in our house would say, “Hello, Aunt Lynne!”
Last year, my sister-in-law and I planned an 80th birthday party for my mother-in-law at my mother-in-law’s church’s fellowship hall. That place is like a snare drum and I become an MS mess anytime I’m in there, so we decided it’d be best if we took my power wheelchair with us so no one would have to worry about trying to help me walk out of there. At one point in the party, I stepped outside as the noise was making me incredibly dizzy.
Uncle David must have seen me walk out as he came out to say howdy and to hug my neck. He also said he as glad to see that I had a power wheelchair. He said he was going to offer to give me Aunt Lynne’s scooter but thought my power wheelchair would be able to traverse our hill better than her scooter. I asked him if it needed a special lift or if someone could pick it up to put it in the back end of a truck or SUV? He said they could because it came apart in about five different pieces and none of the individual parts were too heavy, either. So then I asked if he was still willing to gift it to me because we needed a trailer to haul my power wheelchair and sometimes it wasn’t so easy to find parking for.
So when someone who lived in south central Texas went up to north Texas, they brought Aunt Lynne’s scooter back with them. Then they brought it over to me the next time they came to my mother-in-law’s house.
Next it was time for the competition, my power wheelchair vs. Aunt Lynne’s scooter. We live in the beautiful Hill Country in Texas, which means – obviously – we have hills! LOL Our driveway has a bit of a flat spot starting out before it rises. Then it’s an uphill climb from our house to my computer shed (about 300 yds.) and it’s sort of rocky, too. I started with my power wheelchair, it did just fine on the flat part of our driveway but then it totally petered out. It would not, no matter how much ‘gas’ I gave it, move an inch once the driveway started its uphill climb. Next up was Aunt Lynne’s scooter. Since Uncle David didn’t think it would be able to make it up our hilly and rocky driveway, our son made her scooter’s maiden voyage. When he came back home, he told me where to drive it so I didn’t get high centered or tip it over and I hopped on my new (to me) scooter and drove it up to my computer shed. Woo Hoo! I made it and I was pretty sure Aunt Lynne enjoyed our little ride.
Now that it’s summer and as long as rain isn’t in our forecast, Aunt Lynne and I ride up and down the hill on a daily basis. And when we do, I always hear the theme song from Driving Miss Daisy running through my mind!
As we’re coming up on the cusp of the family reunion, I felt this blog post was timely as a remembrance of Aunt Lynne.
She had the last laugh, though. Just this past week, as I was coming up the hill, I hit a rock and accidentally popped a wheelie on our scooter. I could hear her laughing all the way from heaven!