Sunday, December 1, 2013

Remembering Beloved Aunts and Uncles

Gems of Reflection, #47
One of my favorite uncles is my dad's brother, Lyle. I always thought he looked a lot like my dad, and I've always thought he has such a goofy personality. He is silly and fun to be around, but he also has kind of an eccentric/brilliant side that makes him incredibly unique.

He always talks about things that are so far above my head (lol), and I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be as intelligent as he is. Still, he is never condescending, and the first thing he does when he comes around is wrap his arms around you and tell you how good it is to see you.

He and my dad used to crack us up on family camping trips by telling us some of the crazy things they did growing up, and they spooked us a good time or two with their creepy campfire stories. I have a lot of memories of family reunions, and prayers said by my uncle in Chinese (he served his mission in Hong Kong), as we silly children sat around the dinner table trying to stifle our giggles. We all thought he sounded silly then, but as an adult, I realize what an asset it is to be able to speak a second language, and I admire him for having served a mission - in China, of all places.

Picking my favorite aunt is a little more difficult, as I have some pretty spectacular women in my family. My great aunt, Helen (my grandma Ruby's oldest sister), is the one who has hosted the Christmas party at her house every year, which I have mentioned in previous posts. She has just always provided an atmosphere of love and acceptance, and no matter how long it's been since you have visited her home, you always feel like you belong.

She knits the cutest little hats for all of her great grandchildren, and has even given a couple to my kids and to my siblings' children. She has stood beside me in her kitchen teaching me how to make her famous homemade biscuits, and has walked me through the process of making a quilt. She always opens her home to loved ones for a visit, and is the epitome of selflessness. I only hope that I can learn to be as loving toward others as she has been to me.

Another one of my favorite aunts is my great aunt, Joy (another one of my Grandma Ruby's sisters). She passed away a few years ago, but I have always had a special bond with her. When my siblings and I were still little, she brought over some treats for my family one Valentine's Day, but as she was addressing the treats, she could not remember my name (lol). She had always loved the name Jolene, so instead of writing my name on the valentine, she wrote all of my siblings' names and then addressed it to Jolene as well. Haha. From that day on, I was her little Jolene.

She moved to Logan, Utah some years later, but every time I would talk to her or see her, she would ask how her little Jolene was doing. She always asked my Grandma Ruby about me too, like I was her special, little niece. As I became an adult, I started signing letters and Christmas cards to her with the name "Jolene". It was our little inside joke, and it made me feel loved and unique. I miss her terribly, but I think of her often - especially around Valentine's Day. ;)

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