Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Lifelong Bond

Our mail dude always runs later in the days following a holiday for some reason. I checked the mail twice yesterday before 2 pm and we still had nothing. A little after 2, the doorbell rang and it was the mailman. He had a package that was a delivery confirmation and needed a signature. As I signed, I noticed the package was from my Aunt and Uncle who live in Lewisburg, WV.

I couldn’t imagine what they’d sent. We’ll be seeing them before too long as we make our yearly trek to Tamarack to visit before Christmas, have lunch and exchange gifts. Sometimes, they send random gifts for the kids, so that ran through my mind, but then again, why a delivery confirmation?

I opened the box and pulled out a something wrapped in extensive amounts of bubble wrap. I unwrapped and unwrapped and unwrapped. When I pulled the final piece off, I held in my hands a painting. Not just any painting, mind you. This painting had been done by my aunt’s mother and I had long admired it hanging in their house.

Now, my aunt is married to my dad’s brother. For many years, my aunt and uncle (and cousins) lived in a house next door to my aunt’s mother and father. My aunt’s mom is Grace Brown, but I called her Nana - even though she technically was not my grandparent. Her husband, I called Pops, just like their other grandkids.

Sometimes, over the summer break, I would go and spend time at my aunt and uncle’s house. My cousins, older than me, were already in college, so I was the only “kid” around. Nana and Pops were two of the most amazing people I’ve ever known. They were both artists and both worked in a variety of mediums, but also each had their specialty. For Nana, it was painting with oils and acrylics. For Pops, it was charcoal prints. They had an art studio in their house that contained a dizzying array of art supplies - including a kiln!

They would let me create different things at their house and no matter what I turned out, they convinced me it was a masterpiece. That’s just the way they were.

When I stayed in Lewisburg during those summers, Nana and Pops would get up and take me to a 5 and dime store in town and we’d get milkshakes. I remember sitting up on the high soda counter stool feeling like a queen. It was the kind of town where everyone knew everyone, so all who stopped to chat with Nana and Pops also chatted with me.

I often wish that they could have met the Evil Twin. With his artistic talent, I’m sure they would have had a time together! In fact, I often feel sorry for folks who have not had a Nana and Pops in their lives. I can’t imagine receiving a bigger or richer gift than their love and friendship.

Not surprisingly, their daughter, my aunt, is and always has been my very favorite. She makes everyone around her feel like the most special person on earth. She certainly made my day when she sent me the painting I had always admired. Totally unexpected, but it will be treasured like nothing else.

I plan on getting some shelves, you know, the ones that look like crown moulding, and putting my Willow Tree Angels on those. I’ve ordered them, just waiting for delivery. Once those are in, I will arrange those with the painting to create a special display of my beautiful things that remind me of so many wonderful people in my life.

As always, there will be pictures to follow.


  1. What a nice treat! Photos would be nice!

  2. Never got to know my gradparents, they all died while I was still very young.

    Same goes for my kids. They only have one grandparent and one great aunt who we never see.

    They all seemed to have children later in their lives. The wife and I hope to change that trend.

  3. My Uncle "Sug" (Joe) gave me a gift in much the same way...mailed it to me in all kinds of protective stuff. Not a painting or family jewel, but a 33 1/3 record of Ahmad Jamal....the last time I had visited them when I was in high school I probably played this record thin. I love "Poinciana." He gave me the album before he died. I still have it.