Sometimes life gifts you with unforgettable people.
As a small child I couldn’t hear. I still can’t hear; although technology has advanced to the point that hearing aids help me. I remember at family gatherings, knowing people by their facial expressions, rather than the things they would say or not say.
Ardene always seemed to be the “fun” one. She was always smiling or laughing, the life of the party-type. Great big exuberant smiles. And laughing? I rarely saw her NOT laughing.
For a while, like many people do, as a young adult, I separated from my family. I, for about ten years or so, didn’t come to the gatherings any more. So, when I returned to a gathering for the first time, people didn’t recognize me. Once they knew who I was, I was welcomed with open arms, as an adult this time.
“Kathy, you want a bloody mary?” (at 9:00 AM)
Being a Wisconsinite by now, and developing a somewhat “casual” attitude towards drinking, I said, “oh, I don’t know” (waiting to be encouraged so as to not sound too eager)…
“You better have one, it might be the only vegetables you’ll get today!”
This is the family who welcomed me back. Suddenly my world changed- I was a participant in the parties, rather than a silent witness. That ten-year gap made it even more striking.
As for the title of this post? This was my aunt Ardene’s favorite catchphrase.
So I am here in Windom, Minnesota to celebrate my aunt. She was a beautiful person. May she rest in peace.