Today’s Positive Adjective:
Perspicacious: of acute mental vision or discernment, Keen
Aunt Edna and Uncle Charlie never had kids. I never asked, my mother would have slapped me upside the head if I ever had the audacity to ask such a personal question. There was a story there, my bones told me. I saw it in Aunt Edna’s face when she held infants and played with small children. Perhaps it was the reason she became a schoolteacher. She wasn’t the normal run-of-the-mill teacher either. She kept in touch with her students over the years, exchanged Christmas cards with them, and attended their college graduations.
I remember little about Uncle Charlie. He died of a heart attack when I was a teenager. If she mourned his death, she didn’t let on in front of me, but she never remarried either. Mother made it my job to check on Aunt Edna after he passed. Once or twice a week I stopped. I visited her on Wednesdays after school and at ten o’clock on Saturday mornings, rain or shine.
My friends felt sorry for me, but Aunt Edna and I settled into a routine of sorts. There were times she helped me with my homework, and times I helped her with housework. She fearlessly taught me to drive with her car, and when I got my license, I drove her to the store or her hair appointment. One summer we painted her whole house. Before Christmas, we spent hours baking for the annual teacher’s cookie exchange. On special occasions, we traveled to the city to visit the art museum.
When I went to college, we began new rituals. I think she realized I missed checking on her and she mailed me letters and care packages. Her notes brought a smile to my face, and the parcels eased my homesickness. I understood why her students loved her. She believed I could do anything, even when I struggled and lost faith, she never did.
Time moves on and it changes us. I graduated, took a job in another town, got married and started a family. I saw Aunt Edna whenever I came home. She made it seem as if we had only been apart a few days, not weeks, or months or years. I never expected the call. The one telling me Aunt Edna had gone to join Uncle Charlie.
Her will left me everything, but it wasn’t the biggest surprise. Aunt Edna’s love of art ran deeper than I ever suspected. She had been perspicacious in acquiring pieces for her collection. I knew she bought artwork, but it never occurred to me that she had developed relationships with the artists. They attended her funeral and spoke as if we were longtime friends. We were, in a way. She included our stories in her letters. The artwork’s value was astounding, but Aunt Edna’s real legacy is all the friends I inherited.
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer