My brother and his wife will be in town next week, cleaning their place out and putting stuff in storage to make room for the tenant I found for them. My great-aunt also plans to visit for a few days next weekend. She and my uncle weren’t able go to Florida for my brother’s wedding, so they’ll drive over from Detroit and visit for a few days. While they’re here, they want to take everyone out for a post-wedding celebration dinner.
My aunt had asked me about coming to dinner over a month ago. Two weeks later, she called back to make sure I understood that her invitation included Mel because “she is a part of our family now.” In fact, in every conversation we’ve had since I told her about Mel and I last December, my aunt has asked after her.
I talked to her again yesterday. Dinner plans have changed because my brother won’t make it to town until later than he’d originally planned. That’s typical. That causes the cascade effect, everything is happening a week later and now Mel can’t come to dinner because she’ll be working. “Oh, that’s too bad” said my aunt, “the poor kid is always working. I’ll just have to give you some gift certificates and you can take her out for us another time.”
The conversation moved on.
“I heard you bought a new vehicle” I said.
“Yep. It’s a Chevy pick-up truck.”
“Wow… you bought a pick-up?”
“Uh huh. The first car I ever owned was a pick-up. I bought it 1949… So, I figured the last car I’d ever own should be a pick-up.”
I remembered a photograph I found when going through some boxes, probably taken in the early 1950s. In it, my aunt is standing next to a pick up truck, wearing trousers and holding a shotgun. I think there was a dead pheasant in the photo, she may have just been hunting. I’d looked at it and thought “Damn, she looks butch.”
My aunt didn’t marry until she was 49. And then it was for companionship, she’s told me, more than anything else. She never wanted kids. She’s always been a feisty, independent lady and an inveterate practical joker. She’s the same now, at 81, as she was when I was a kid. Sometimes, I can’t help but feeling that if the times were different… her life might have been different. Maybe that’s part of why she’s been so incredibly tolerant to me.
I’m gonna dig out that photo, and for kicks, I think I’ll get her to reproduce that pose in front of her new truck.