Today we celebrated my Auntie’s 89th birthday. I took her fresh daisies from our yard and met my other Aunt and cousins at her home.

I have great memories of my Auntie, as a little girl, because I’d stay at the old farmhouse with her. She never married and she took care of the house and cooked the meals while my grandparents ran the farm.

I’d climb up the creaky staircase into the mysterious upstairs, to go into my Auntie’s bedroom. The bed was always made perfectly and not a piece of clothing was out of place (unlike my bedroom!). Her room smelled like roses as I’d lift the lid to her dusting powder and take a few whiffs. I can still hear the “tick-tock” of her alarm clock by her bed. I can feel the hardwood floors shift, as I’d step from rug to rug. I’d go into her old bathroom and see the claw foot tub and the pedestal sink – drip drop, drip drop.

I was very little, but I loved spending the night with Auntie. Not only did I get to hang out and have fun with her (sometimes we’d go shopping and she’d buy me special things), but also I’d also get to sleep with her in her double bed. Now I remember my own mother complaining about how I’d kick her, if we slept together. But my Auntie never complained.

She bribed me one year to stop sucking my finger. My finger was my best friend, and I did not want to give it up. But instead, she took me to the store and bought me a cute little dolly with white hair. She told me that I would get warts on my nose (I sucked my index finger and rubbed my nose with my middle finger) if I did not stop. Between the horror of warts on my nose and a brand new dolly – I quit sucking my finger at the age of 6.

My Auntie was an excellent cook. We all loved to eat her dishes. But the favorite that my sisters and I still talk about was her shrimp salad and homemade Thousand Island dressing. Our mouths still water when we remember the tastiness of it.

Since Auntie never married she really doted on her nieces. She’d take us all to lunch, at different times. She came to our weddings, baby showers, and holiday dinners.

No, she did not live a life of loneliness as a single person. She was active and traveled and gave a lot to her church and to people around her.

Even today, she said, “I sure love my nieces and my sisters!” And we sure love our Auntie.

As I look at her hands around this vase of daisies, I’m reminded of her hands that once held me – with a hold that was loving and firm.