Last night, as I drove home from work in "rush hour" (more like snail's pace) traffic, I turned to my usual routine of calling to catch up with friends and family. The long thread of cars in which I had found a place was going nowhere fast, so I felt safe to once again reach across the country through my cell phone. It helps me use the 2+ hours that I usually have in my car each day while driving back and forth to work. (This will be the first of probably many references to my hope of finding a job on the Illinois side of the river.)
After remembering that it was August 3rd, I was blessed to reach Aunt Dorothy on the phone. Uncle Maurice and she were preparing to go out with Jon and Jaclyn, their grandchildren, to celebrate her 83rd birthday. (I try to remember that Aunt Dorotny is almost exactly 50 years older than I. My big 3-3 is quickly approaching!) Aunt Dorothy feels 83 is OLD...and in our visits and exchanged notes in recent years, she always seems to mention this. But, I know better. To me, she seems as if she has hardly changed a bit. And, through the inflection of her voice, I can picture her sitting in her house on the farm, her smile, and the glimmer in her eye. She also frequently mentions the "old days"... and I know exactly what she means. I am busy and I have moved away...but my memory often takes me back to those "old days". When I was younger (when we all were younger), our family would so often be with Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Maurice. Memories flood back: homemade dresses that she made for me - complete with rickrack, the odd suction-cuppy rubber thing that held their bar of soap, setting out for a visit and wondering if we were going to the farm house, the "little house", or the "house in town", the contest between Aaron and Aunt Dorothy to see who could first exclaim "Mercy!" (Aunt Dorothy's most common saying) when seeing each other, sliding around the humongous back seat of the Oldsmobile saved for special occasions, the organ, the funny push buttons on the TV, asking Uncle Maurice to once again tell the story about his auger accident, Aunt Dorothy's special combs, playing with Peanut, mushrooming (filling garbage bags), fishing at the pond, her cooking (especially her roundsteak?), going to visit Larry and Tammy, chasing the cats out of the barns, saying our prayers before bedtime,...and especially of all of the memories of Mt. Zion Church. Fascinated at communion time - even when I didn't know what communion was, I would stand at a careful distance and watch Aunt Dorothy carefully and delicately set up the wine and bread crystal that Elder Hopkins would later use in the services. Each time, she would place it on the table in exactly the same way, and that would fascinate me. It was evident that she took her duties very seriously, and it gave me a glimpse of how much she truly appreciated and respected the services in which the members would participate later that day.
Aunt Dorothy has always been one of the women who has stood as an example to me...of kindness, of generosity, of faith, of family, and of love. I know my mom considers her a second mom, and she's always been an extra grandma to Aaron and me. We can't be together as often as we'd like, but we should make more of an effort. Aunt Dorothy is sad that things aren't the way they used to be, but she says the memories carry her through. I hope we can carve out time to make some more memories very soon. And, in stiving to do my best to follow the Lord, any time spent with Aunt Dorothy, a true Titus 2 woman, is time to be cherished.
I was so happy about my conversation with Aunt Dorothy that I called Mom to tell her all about it. However, she did not have much time - as Dad and she were heading out the door to attend a Toastmasters event. Dad loves Toastmasters, and I am so thankful that he has met many wonderful friends through his activities with the organization. Before we ended our chat, I asked Mom if she would pass on a message regarding some blogs to the Campbell family for me. Before continuing, I stopped to ask, "Mom, do you know what a blog is?" To be honest, I don't even remember her actual answer. I just know that it wasn't quite right. I thought to myself, what better way to show her than to create one? So, Mom, this was started for several reasons - but especially for you. Besides, it's clearly time that I get with it. I don't know how many people at my high school reunion were shocked that I, of all people, didn't have one. It's been quite a week for me...my first blog and my first DVD player. I know, I know. Please don't give me grief about it. For someone who's usually so "up" on things, I've been lagging behind for some reason, as of late. Hopefully, with my birthday near, this new year of my life will be filled with catching up to my usual "stremmed out" pace.