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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Visiting Aunt Elsie

Aunt Elsie

The hermit does not just keep me home. The hermit keeps me from doing. Last weekend's visit with Timmy was one of the nicest I have had in a while. I came home to a clean house Sunday, thanks Angie, so I was free to just do. I finished the last of 4 drawings I started a couple of years ago. I started an oil painting that kept me painting for nearly 4 hours. I entered Edith Wharton’s world for a while when I continued my reading of Age of Desire. I took a nap so I could watch 2 hours of Downton Abbey followed by Scandal…I am addicted to both.

I went to work Monday feeling relaxed and satisfied and wondering if I might venture out during the upcoming weekend. I had no idea what might get the hermit going again. Then the phone call came from Aunt Elsie in Midlothian. Cousin Ginny is bringing Uncle Billy and Aunt Jo Ann for a visit from South Carolina, would I like to come? Few things will get me off the couch quicker than an opportunity to see my Uncle Billy. I was so grateful for the invitation. Sisters Cynthia and Marsha agreed to come along. The Sisters Three never do anything together, so this was going to be extra special. And it was. The Sisters Three made the drive in just under 2 hours. Cousin Julia Ann, her husband and 3 beautiful daughters also showed up.

To lay your eyes on your seldom seen relatives and to learn about their lives is a wonderful thing. To bask in my Uncle’s humor is a wonderful thing. To see our Aunt Elsie doing so well is a wonderful thing.

As you get older, you realize how much family history has not been captured. So, we had questions for the Aunts and Uncle. Most significant for the Sisters Three, was what we learned about our father from Uncle Billy. We learned our father was a very good man when he married our mother. Sadly, we did not know that good man who did not drink and did not abuse his family. For all these years we could not understand how our mother, a very good woman, could have chosen this man for her husband. Now we know that she had chosen a very good man who did not drink and did not abuse his family. Things later went very wrong, but our mother chose a very good man who was liked by her family. Confusion left the Sisters Three and was replaced by comfort in Aunt Elsie’s living room.

Another favorite story of mine was learning that when Marsha’s daughter visited Mom’s gravesite back in the fall, she saw a white butterfly dancing around and a black butterfly that had trouble flying at all. I then shared my experience last summer while walking Dolly in the field next to my workplace. Every day since Mom's death a white butterfly followed Dolly and I in that field. One day, the white butterfly was accompanied by the strangest black butterfly. It was very large and it had trouble flying. As I watched them, the black butterfly dove toward the ground. I walked over to the spot curious to examine this very strange looking black butterfly. It was no where to be found. It was as though it had gone into the ground. Hhhmmmmm.

Not sure what I might do next weekend, but for now I am going to see what Edith Wharton is up to.

The Hermit Ventures Out


I have become a hermit. Sister on the go quit going. I needed to be forced out of the house so I called my brother to invite myself and Dolly to visit the compound. Sara was going to be with her family for part of the weekend so Timmy enthusiastically said yes. He invited sister Cyn, and arranged for us to have lunch with sister Marsh in Roanoke on Saturday after his guitar lesson. During the week, Sara agreed to drive nearly an hour to my office to pick up my guitar so Timmy could deliver it the next day for new strings and a setup. His enthusiasm made me feel excited about leaving the house.


Cynthia left work early on Friday to head down to Clifton Forge. She had a wonderful visit with our old neighbors, Jess and Eileen. She visited Mom’s gravesite. She was feeling very good by the time she got to Timmy’s in the late afternoon and anxious to tell us about her day. We had a nice evening together and the five dogs were equally happy.

Leaving the five at home Saturday, Timmy, Cynthia and I drove the hour to Roanoke. While Timmy had a private guitar lesson, I enjoyed a private concert by someone trying out a guitar. He had his back to me and was not aware of his audience, which made it sweeter for me. Clearly, he liked the guitar. I couldn’t see his face, but I could read his pleasure in his body language. He was shyly pleased when I thanked him for his private performance.

After Timmy’s guitar lesson, we met Marsha and Mike for lunch. Usually our family gatherings would demand a much larger table, but this was a small group of 5 that sat comfortably at a bar table. The entire group could actually have one conversation at a time. That is rare when you have a large family. It was intimate and involved.

First picking up my guitar, we headed back to the compound and our dogs. We spent the rest of the evening in our comfort clothes, Timmy practiced his guitar assignment for the week, and conversation was easy. I felt the hermit in me calling and decided not to resist. I retired to my room to pick up where I left off on the book I just started…The Age of Desire. I felt a need to find out what Edith Wharton was up to.

I was glad I left the house.



Photos Tell The Story

My brother, Steve, has been working for months on a family history project. He asked me to send him photos, which took me on a fun walk down memory lane.  Here are some photos I sent to him representing fond memories from my past. Enough said.