21 May 2012

Aunt Ruby

May 21st was my Great Aunt Ruby's birthday. Most people barely know their great aunts, but not me. I knew her well. I loved her. She loved me. We spent time together just because. We didn't need a reason. I would ask to spend weekends at her house. I don't remember going anywhere or doing anything special while I stayed there most of the time. We played cards and watched TV. She cooked delicious meals from scratch and always had those caramel candies with the swirl of powdered sugar in them. She never let us be lazy, insisting we help wash the dishes or vacuum the carpet or dust. She smelled like Absorbine Junior, and, because of that, I will always love the menthol smell and think of her when I smell it. 

She was my Aunt Ruby, and I adored her.

When I was a very little girl, I remember going to see Aunt Ruby and Uncle Curt when we were in the area for a visit. We would sit on their front porch watching the dogs run after balls we tossed to them, or we would sit in their living room and watch birds chase each other off the bird feeder. Uncle Curt got sick when I was still very little, and I remember going to his funeral. His mother's antique cedar chest sits in my bedroom. I cherish it, and I will always remember Uncle Curt and Aunt Ruby when I look at it. It will be passed to Ava some day, and I will tell her the stories that I am sharing with you and teach her the lessons we can learn from Aunt Ruby's life.

I was thinking about Aunt Ruby this morning as I was writing in my journal, wishing I could sit with her across the table from me sipping coffee together, wishing I could seek her wisdom that can only be gleaned with time. I started thinking about the things she went through in her life. The Roaring 20s were the first decade of her life followed by the Great Depression. World War. Miscarriage after miscarriage. Adoption. Raising a nephew. The heartache a mother feels when her son goes astray. The joy and elation when he figured things out and learned to love Jesus instead of alcohol. Burying that son when his body gave out much too early. Burying two husbands. Sickness.

Aunt Ruby would have wise words for me right now. I know she would. I can't even explain how much I would love to hear what she would say to me right now. So many decisions lay heavy on my heart. No one can make the decisions for me, though I am grateful that my husband is leading the way. But the advise that 94 years of wisdom could offer me? Yeah. I would love that. Everyone has opinions, but so few have that kind of wisdom, discernment, and experience to back it up, you know?

Aunt Ruby has been gone for almost 11 years, and, this year, when I'm going through so many troubling things myself, I think I miss her more on her birthday than I ever have. She was good to me and to so many other people too. I loved her.

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