My Uncle Dale and Aunt Joan (Jo-Ann) came by one evening last week. They and some of their RV/camping friends were camping near us, so they drove on up to say hi. I hadn't seen them in a few years, so it was great to see them. As we visited and laughed, I took comfort in seeing them banter, in hearing stories of Aunt Jo's latest pranks, in hearing some of the old ones again and some new ones. I decided that Uncle Dale has to be a Saint, because he never knows what his wife of 58 years will say or do next. You've gotta love a woman who, sees you and says, "You've lost some weight, haven't you."
Now, you know you haven't. But, with that one comment, you feel good about yourself. For a moment you think, "Gee, I don't think so, but maybe I look good, Maybe I have lost some weight!" For that instant, Aunt Jo made me fill like I was a 5'8" 110 lb. drop dead gorgeous model. And, she'll do that the whole time you are visiting with her. Later, before they left, she glanced at Kevin and said to me, "He's a keeper isn't he. You were right all along about him being the right man for you." Now if that doesn't just give your self esteem another shot, nothing will.
Uncle Dale is my Dad's oldest brother and is 15 years older than Daddy. When Dad was a little boy, he spent a lot of time with Dale and Jo--I think he was their unofficial chaperon. I'm not sure how good of a chaperon he was, because Aunt Jo was always pulling pranks--often at Dad's expense. Yet, he spent a lot of time with them, and when they married and started their family, Dad was close to their kids. After all, he was less than 10 years older than they were.
We used to go visit them quite frequently for holidays and Sunday dinners. And they became special to Steve and I. We always liked seeing Aunt Dale and Uncle Jo--I mean Uncle Dale and Aunt Jo. We liked going to visit them, primarily because their house was full of laughter. And, because, when we left, we were happy.
Much of it was Aunt Jo's doing. She would pull some prank on someone. She couldn't help herself, she just had to do it. For example, when my Dad turned 30, Aunt Jo had someone make a special cake--a bikini girl with cupcakes added to her bust for some extra emphasis--and the gal on the cake was well endowed. Dad was so embarrassed when Aunt Jo brought out his cake, and he joined into the spirit of things and enjoyed his cake. Aunt Jo enjoyed asking him which piece he wanted--the right boob or the left one. I can't say I remember which one he picked...
Another time, when my cousin Sondra got married, we stayed in the same hotel as Aunt Jo and Uncle Dale. Aunt Jo immediately took 10 year old Steve into the bathroom, pointed to the sanitary strip that was around the toilet seat and told Steve that he could pee in front or behind that strip, but it had to remain dry or we'd all get in trouble with the hotel. And she did this straight faced.
Of course knowing her, Steve knew she wasn't serious, but he did check with Dad--just to make sure.
Once you grow up, you often see your family members in a different light. That happened to me during a family reunion in the mid 1980's. Aunt Jo is busty. My Dad's sisters are not close to being so blessed. My Aunt Jo and My Aunt Phyllis (Dad's sister) got into a friendly argument about which was better, big boobs or little boobs.
What an eye opener to my 20 some year old ears and eyes! My 50-something Aunts arguing about...sex. O my gosh! And, to make it worse, they were doing it in front of my 80-something Grandmother! Who was just standing there, laughing! And, then, my Uncles got to give their opinions! The horror! My Uncle Jim stood there and said, "Enough to hold, enough to taste, anymore would go to waste." So then, he and Uncle Dale had to continue arguing--all in fun of course. Still, it was in front of Grandma, and ME! And, Aunt Jo just stood there and chuckled. She'd started this...this...mess.
Yes, Aunt Jo is a prankster. She can make you laugh at yourself and she can also make you feel good about yourself. She never is mean, never nasty. She'd never purposely hurt any one's feelings. She one of those special, giving people. She's close to 80 now. Slowing down, having trouble with her hips and her knees. She's had one of her breasts removed. But she's still pulling pranks, still making jokes, and I still love her.