Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Uncles/Aunts (04/17/08)
TITLE: Act Your Age
By Nancy Jo Wilson
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They’re really my great-aunts, but no one would ever think of callin’ them that. Great-aunts shuffle around with thier hair in buns and wear cardigan sweaters. Not my aunts. Kendra, the oldest, is in her seventies and she has a Bluetooth for her cell phone. They're always perfectly dressed, not a hair out of place. At the end of a restaurant meal, out pops the lipstick. I think someone forgot to tell ‘em they’re old.
I started at Aunt Pet’s, her real name is something else, but they’ve been callin’ her Pet so long it might as well be on her driver’s license. She fixed me a huge breakfast every morning - whatever I wanted, pancakes, bacon, French toast. She had about seven hundred bird feeders in her backyard and watched them while she ate. She could name every kind of bird that came to feed. I never noticed birds before and now I find that wherever I go, I’m thinkin’ "There’s a Cardinal … a Titmouse … a Finch." Uncle Morris was tryin’ to invent a squirrel-proof feeder that really was squirrel-proof. I think the critters were just laughin’ at him.
Then I was with Aunt Sally. She’s does a lot in her church. I think we spent more time there than at her house. Not that I minded. It was fun watching the Praise Band practice. It wasn't even church time and Sally’s up there dancin’ and raisin’ her hands. They even let me join in although I sing off key. Uncle Rod got really into it when he played drums and one time almost fell off his stool. My favorite was decoratin' the kids rooms for Sunday School. We made a cut-out mural of Noah's Ark.
Aunt Kendra liked art. She still runs her own gallery, although some other lady manages it. She’s retired, but I don’t think that retired people go into the office three, four days a week. She wanted me exposed to culture, so we went to three museums (two regular, one science). We also went to see "Spam-a-lot," which I think I liked better than her. At night, she got out her paints and taught me the basics. I made a still-life of fruit and that I gave to Mama when I got home.
Two hundred years ago, Aunt Ellie would have been one of those pioneer women who carved a life out of the harsh wilderness. I don’t think there’s anything she can’t do. She spent a lot of time tellin’ me that there isn’t anything I can’t do either. She said it enough that I’m startin’ to believe her. While I was there, something went wrong with the sink (Uncle Steve was on a business trip) and she crawled up under there and fixed it herself. I held the flashlight while she explained everything she was doin’. Then she took it all apart again and made me put it back together! She also taught how to check tire pressure and the oil dipstick. She says every woman should know how to fix her own car.
They've been sisters for like a million years and they all still talk to one another everyday. They even take vacations together. I never felt like I was a burden, they just acted like it was perfectly normal for a twelve year old to be hangin' out with them. I guess that's what family is.
I was supposed to go back to Aunt Pet's, but Mama went into labor. The twins were born early, but in good enough health to go home instead of the NICU. I'm lookin' at them now, asleep in the crib holdin' each other's hands; so tiny and cute. And I'm thinkin' maybe they didn't mess up my summer after all. Maybe they won't ruin my life either. After all when I'm seventy, I might need someone to take a trip with.
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