My sister Carrie and I are Aunt Bonnie’s substitute children, since she never had any of her own. Bonnie is our father’s only living sibling. To say she isn’t feisty would be like saying there are no fish in the ocean.
Carrie called late one evening. “Sarah,” she pondered, “Let’s gather up our baking stuff and take it to Aunt Bonnie’s next Friday. She needs some stimulation.”
I raised my eyebrows. “You think she’d even get out of her recliner to come into the kitchen?”
“We’ll make her. It will be good for her.”
I reluctantly agreed and met Carrie at our aunt’s house, carrying a laundry basket full of baking supplies.
Aunt Bonnie was in her usual spot in front of the TV. She eyed the things we were bringing in and frowned. “What are you girls doing now?”
Even though Carrie and I are middle aged, she still refers to us as “girls.”
I smiled. “We are here to bake cookies, Aunt Bonnie.”
“Horse feathers,” she grumped.
“Come on in the kitchen and keep us company.”
It was as simple as that. She had made up her mind.
Carrie tried. “Please? We need your advice.”
“I said no. I’m not moving from my recliner.”
Carrie and I exchanged glances and took our things to the kitchen. I shook my head. “She’s stubborn. How hard would it be for us to slide her chair in here? It’s only a few feet.”
We returned to the living room. Carrie got in back of Aunt Bonnie’s chair, and I got in front. I spoke first. “Hang on, Aunt Bonnie, we’re going for a ride.” Carrie pushed and I pulled.
Aunt Bonnie shook her fist in the air. Her flesh wobbled from her bony arm. “Stop this. Right now.”
“We are just taking you to the kitchen.”
She continued to protest until we had her situated, still in her chair, facing the kitchen work space. “Now you have a bird’s eye view of everything we’re doing .” I kissed the top of her head, noting the thinning white hair.
The little woman’s nostrils flared. “Horse feathers.”
Carrie and I measured and mixed and chatted with Aunt Bonnie. Actually, we chatted to Aunt Bonnie. She wasn’t speaking to us.
Spontaneously, I started singing “Jingle Bell Rock.“ I danced around the kitchen, waving the rolling pin in the air.
Aunt Bonnie set her thin lips, then spoke. “Sarah, you never could carry a tune. That sounds awful.”
“But I’m having so much fun.”
Carrie joined in on the chorus and we circled Aunt Bonnie’s chair, clapping and kicking up our legs, Rockette style.
She refused to look at us.
We returned to our baking chores, and soon had the first batch of cookies ready to decorate. We pushed Aunt Bonnie’s chair around to face the table and put the cookies in front of her, along with raisins, sprinkles, and colored sugar. I pointed to the cookies. “Here, Aunt Bonnie. These need to be decorated.”
Defiantly, she shoved a wad of raisins into a snowman’s doughy face. “There.”
Carrie looked at me and winked. “Nice job, Auntie.”
I suppressed a laugh. “Oh, I agree. Whatever floats your boat.”
She stared at the two of us and stuffed an unbaked cookie in her mouth.
While we were readying the next batch, I started singing again. This time I felt led to sing “Silent Night.”
My flat alto voice didn’t do the song justice, but it was from the heart. Carrie added her equally flat voice to the mix.
Aunt Bonnie snuck a peek in our direction. She picked up two raisins and placed the raisins carefully on a cookie, giving the snowman eyes.
Carrie and I continued to sing while our aunt finished decorating the cookies.
I retrieved the pan from her. “Looks like these are ready for the oven. Thank you, Aunt Bonnie. These cookies look great.”
The plucky little woman folded her arms across her chest. I saw a hint of a twinkle in her eyes as she replied, “Horse feathers.”
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