Today is my Aunt Martha's birthday.
It's the first one since we lost her in January, and that makes it just a bit difficult. I've been somewhat nostalgic all week, thinking of how special she was. She was my Dad's oldest sister, and when we were growing up, they lived on the street behind us. Between our street and theirs was some woods. My dad and my uncle had cut a trail through the woods so we kids could run back and forth without having to get out on the highway.
Which wasn't really a highway, but for some reason people called it that.
One of my favorite things to do with Aunt Martha was to help her with ceramics. She never got mad at me, even when I messed things up. "It's OK," she would say. "We'll just put it back into the pot to melt it down and pour it again."
Then there was the summer we were working on Nativity sets. "Working on these makes me feel like I need to be listening to Christmas music," I said to her."
"Well, then, let's just put some on!" My Auntie said, and she did, even though it was August. So, all of you who get on me about listening to Christmas music in summer time, it's her fault.
My first really clear memory of Aunt Martha was when I was the flower girl in my cousin Kathy's wedding. Kathy is my other aunt, Aunt Bonnie's, oldest daughter. I was the flower girl and my brother was the ring bearer. I was 4, and Russell was 6. We'd had the rehearsal and everything went well.
I do remember someone telling me that in the real wedding, I'd have rose petals in my little basket to spread down the aisle, but for today we'd just pretend. So, I walked down the aisle pretending to drop the rose petals. I mean literally. I was reaching into the basket just as if the petals were really there.
The next day, during the real wedding, I was walking down the aisle dropping my little rose petals. As I neared the front of the church, I saw Aunt Martha wildly gesturing and pointing. I thought -- as young as I was-- I thought, "She must think I don't know where to go." But I did.
Many, many years later, as I was preparing for my own wedding, I recalled that memory for Aunt Martha and Aunt Bonnie. We all had a good laugh about it.
There is so much more I could tell you about her. She was such a sweet lady.
I miss her terribly.