My aunt died today. She was in her early eighties. I first met her when I was about eleven. My mother had died and we moved across the country so that we lived very close by. She has one daughter who just happens to be four days younger than me (a fact that she never lets me forget).
This aunt was the one in the family that opened her house for the holidays for dinners, picnics, and whatever else came up. The holidays--Christmas and New Years--were stuctured so that one year was the family Christmas and in-laws Thanksgiving and the next year it was reversed. This was no small thing. I have seventeen cousins. Once we all started procreating, there was a population explosion. One of the last Christmases I attended, we had seventy people for a sit down dinner in the basement--at one big crazy put together table.
In the summer time, the kids would go out there and hang out on the giant sand dune across the street. In the winter we used the hill for sledding. It wasn't too far from the beach at Lake Michigan so we went swimming.
I have little vignettes in my mind from the different times I was visiting there. The first time I took my brand spanking new husband there for Christmas--we'd been married nine days. The first time I took my first baby there...he was three months old.
We moved two thousand miles away and weren't able to attend as often, but whenever we arrived we were always greeted with warm smiles.
Today my aunt died and the world is a little less for her passing.
Amarinda has the Saga today. Please stop by http://www.amarindajones.blogspot.com/ and check it out. Then pop on over to Kelly's blog for her words of wisdom at http://www.kkirch.blogspot.com/ . Blessings on your day.