Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mondays with Aunt Jane and Uncle Bob

This afternoon, as I was returning from running at the gym (the skies opened up as I tried to run out the front door), I saw a high school student jump in a car that was waiting to pick him up just across the street and down the block from the high school near where I live. I immediately jumped back to Mondays in junior high, when my Mom would wait across the street and down the block to pick me up so that we could go to my Aunt Jane and Uncle Bob's house. We would swing by, pick up my sister, and then head to their house for an afternoon of lemonade, popcorn, chocolate chips, solitaire, Authors (a card game like Go Fish), and endless conversation, often surrounding current events. My Uncle Bob was a bit of a codger and loved to call all elected officials "turkey." As I got older, I think he enjoyed baiting me with outlandish statements, just to hear how I would respond.

When I was in high school, my friends and I would occasionally go ride our bikes or walk on an old train trail that had been converted to a multi-use trail throughout Columbia, MO. Aunt Jane and Uncle Bob's house wasn't far from the trail, so we would hike through the woods and show up on their back deck for a glass of lemonade.

That house and that back deck hold a million wonderful memories for me. This past fall I mourned the death of my Uncle Bob. He was good about sending me an e-mail every once in awhile just to make sure i was doing OK. I will be forever grateful to my friend who was standing there when I got the phone call that he had died and simply hugged me until I said, "OK."

I was able to see Aunt Jane again at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's been a joy to see her flourish in a retirement community. She was such an integral part of my childhood and shaped the way I understand hospitality.

Anyway, I saw a kid get in a car today, and I was transported back to Mondays in junior high.