When Uncle Dave passed away it left only Aunt Alice and me. She reluctantly decided to sell her and Uncle Dave’s home and move to a retirement center. My aunt lost her husband of 64 years and now her home of 60 years would be sold. Through tears, runny noses, and boxes of tissues she and I cleaned out years of memories. After a number of yard sales it came time to put the house up for sale. It sold quickly and reluctantly my aunt moved into her tiny apartment. As I helped her move in I silently prayed she would get out of her slump, get involved with the center’s activities and not stick herself away in her apartment.
A few weeks later I stopped by Aunt Alice’s to ask her out for lunch. I arrived at her apartment to find a note taped to the door. In her hand writing the note said, ‘I’m in the basement.’ My aunt had not stuck herself in her apartment. Instead, she had stuck herself down in the basement. I headed down to find my aunt. When the elevator door opened there was the sound of heard Christmas music and laughter. In the center of the large room sat a way over decorated Christmas tree. On every branch hung ornaments in many different colors with a variety of different styles. Along one wall sat a long table surrounded by elderly men and women talking, laughing, and signing Christmas cards. Aunt Alice stood at the end of the table stacking addressed envelopes in a card board shoe box when she looked up and saw me.
She smiled and said, “What a nice surprise. Everyone, this is my niece, Mary.”
The elderly men and women who sat at the table stopped signing Christmas cards and looked up at me to say in unison, “Hi Mary.” With laughter they went back to signing cards.
“What is going on here?” I asked.
Aunt Alice said, “We are signing Christmas cards for the troops.”
Excitement filled Aunt Alice's voice, “A group of us decided the men and women who serve in the military need Christmas cards.”
A blue haired woman “Most of the residents are involved. Some donated stamps, others donated Christmas cards, and everyone signs each card with a happy holiday greeting.”
“Some of us got grandkids over there in the war,” an elderly man with sadness in his eyes said, “We got to let these kids know they are not forgotten.”
A bald headed man with a mischievous smile asked, “Mary, you spoken for? Got a serious beau somewhere?”
“Charlie, behave. You are too old to act like that,” my aunt said with a laugh.
“Alice, my dear, one can never be too old to look for love.”
With a laugh, she shook her head and smiled at Charlie.
Much like the Christmas tree Aunt Alice is way over decorated with ornaments. On her snow white hair sat an antler head band covered in battery powered blinking lights. From her ears dangle candy cane earrings. Around her neck there is a necklace made of antique red and green Christmas bulbs. She wore a bright red sweater with an embroidered green Christmas tree decorated in rhinestones. Aunt Alice sparkled in Christmas cheer. It is very noticeable my prayer is answered. Aunt Alice is over her slump.