The road to my Aunt Susie’s house would not be impressive to the casual observer but it is filled with memories for my family.
When I was in college, we had small family reunions at my parent’s house. From there, my little nephews and I would walk a simple rural road to visit our aunt.
We all grew up with Disney World “where dreams come true” in our backyard but there was something magical about walking to Aunt Susie’s. While amusement parks can provide thrills, they can’t compete with southern charm and unconditional love.
Being around Aunt Susie, we got a glimpse of heaven
As we came up the hill to her house, on the horizon was a serene pond which was like a fairyland to us. The sun danced on the water as ducks glided and squawked in delight in their paradise.
My aunt was an avid gardener. She knew how to light up her home with tiger lilies, purple irises, roses, daffodils, yellow jonquils, dogwoods and fiery maples. Every season had its wonder for her artistry in plants.
She didn’t just stop with color. We were greeted with the smell of honeysuckle and jasmine as we entered her world.
Crossing the threshold into her home there were new smells of homegrown vegetables simmering on the stove. The warmth radiated from her kitchen and her life.
While our meal was cooking, she would sit on the floor and play Chinese checkers with us.
Her hands were gnarled with arthritis and she had a hard time grasping the marbles but that never stopped her.
She never complained. Now I realize how every movement was a painful sacrifice of love.
I tended to be competitive with my nephews even when they were kids but not my aunt. You could see how she would maneuver to let them win.
There are many life’s lessons our family learned watching Aunt Susie live her life with grace.
My aunt wasn’t eloquent. She didn’t lecture us about what we should do but her life spoke volumes.
She wanted us to live our dreams. She was always there when we needed a word of encouragement.
If everyone had an Aunt Susie, the world would be a better place.
When Aunt Susie died, the only thing that everyone wanted was her Chinese checkers game. This dime store game encapsulated her love for us and her life well lived.
Since her death, my nephews have surprised me that they fondly remember our walks to Aunt Susie’s. When bigger events are long forgotten, it is strange how little things like our walks will stand out in memories.