She was my father’s aunt But they were close enough in age that I always thought of her as his sister. And she treated me as her son. Well, not so much "son" as spoiled nephew.
Unlike Mame Dennis, she did not take me on trips to India or safaris in Africa. Our adventures were trips to the Oregon coast or movies in Roseburg. Always accompanied by my Uncle Don -- a French-Canadian lumberjack.
But they were hardly limited trips. In my boyish imagination they were every bit as exotic as pony treks in Kyrgyzstan.
I introduced Aunt Bessie to you in my best girl almost three years ago. The post concluded with a note to me from my cousin, Gail.
When her daughter went through her effects, she found a note that she forwarded to me. Aunt Bessie wrote the note about a year before her hospitalization -- obviously knowing the end was near.I found Gail's letter during my memory clear cutting to get my house on the market. It reminded me how we often live our lives without ever knowing what the people around us would like.
The note said that she had only one regret in life: that she had never been able to visit England. But she hoped someone would take her there -- one day.
I did not know my aunt wanted to visit England. I could have easily taken her there. Not as a repayment for what she had done for me -- because love offered does not require recompense. It merely needs to be shared.
This post has been rolling around in my head for almost a month. But it turns out to be timely.
I have two very close friends from law school. Ken and Patti, who now live in Olympia. We have shared some of our best life experiences together.
Earlier this month, Patti sent me a note asking if I had some time available to visit with them. She then told me she had been diagnosed with liver cancer and would soon be undergoing treatment.
And that is why I am now in Olympia. Sharing life with people who mean more to me than anything else going on in my life right now.
I can hear Aunt Bessie reminding me to get out there and enjoy that banquet -- and reminding me that there are people I know who would like me to bring back a bit of dessert to the table.
With two forks.