My heart warmed up a little as soon as I said it. And a crooked grin spread across my face at the mere thought of it.
“If my Aunt Sonya were still alive…” I told Jason.
It has been a few years since my Aunt Sonya died, but I think about her regularly. She had her flaws, but she loved me to death, no question. And she was a fierce defender of her family, which made me feel safe in any situation.
I was blessed with two aunts growing up. They were different as night and day, but we all still held that one bond…that we were family.
Unfortunately, both my Aunt Alice and Aunt Sonya have since passed, but the memories, laughter and legacies they left with me remain precious.
My Aunt Alice was the perfect Southern belle. She dressed up just to check her mail. She could pull together an impromptu tea party or garden dance within ten minutes. Her voice soothed you like sweet tea. And she made me feel like the most perfect little girl in the world.
I like to think my Aunt Alice was my mentor and teacher on how to think like a man but act like a lady.
My Aunt Alice never turned me down when I asked her if she wanted to go shopping. But we never settled for tennis shoes or baseball caps. No, it was lace dresses, sparkling hose and straw hats.
She taught me how to sit at a table setting. She taught me what fork to use first. She taught me conversation skills that would match any highly-paid expert.
But Aunt Alice did so much more than show me the ropes when it came down to entertaining and socializing.
My Aunt Alice gave me bubble baths like I was an Egyptian princess complete with hot towels and lavender oils.
She took me dancing at the local Moose Lodge, reminding me to dance even if no one asks or watches you.
She let me stay up and watch the old Star Wars movies until the VHS tape almost burned in half.
When I would spend the night with her, she would cuddle with me until I fell asleep. She never left me fully awake.
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, my Aunt Alice taught me so much more. I watched her fight the battle of her life with grace, determination and courage that I had never seen before.
She smiled through every painful treatment. She pressed her nose with powder despite the fact that the medicine used to fight the cancer had started becoming less effective. She took cancer on like a true lady with enough grit to almost defeat it.
But she bowed gracefully to its grip. And I will never forget her sweet spirit and will probably never experience the type of love that lady shared with me.
It was something different. It was something that only an aunt can give.
Now, my Aunt Sonya was a horse of a different color.
She was a spitfire of a woman who told you what she thought whether you asked for her opinion or not. She was a fighter, no doubt about it. But she was also the one you wanted in your corner when things got tough.
My Aunt Sonya taught me that blood is thicker than water. Families may fight and fuss, but at the end of the day, you have to stand as one.
She most certainly came to her family’s rescue when she was needed, or not, for that matter.
She once took out a man who kept making unwanted advances on her daughter in the middle of the Piggy Wiggly with a frozen chicken. I know it happened because I heard about it three counties over.
My Aunt Sonya taught me to never takes things too seriously. The time for worry and stress will come sure enough. But for now, let’s laugh and find the humor in things.
When my teenage years hit and I was bombarded with the trials of that era, my Aunt Sonya was the first to buy me a Dr. Pepper, listen to my problems and turn it into a joke. With her, my tears would soon develop into tears from laughing. And those are the best kind.
She was very special to me and was my second mother. She rescued me on more than one occasion. And she taught me to always put up the good fight and run the race.
I hope and pray that I can take the lessons of my aunts and pass them down to my own daughter Elsie.
I hope I can teach her how to be a lady, spoil yourself, fight for the good and laugh until it hurts.