I truly believe my Aunt Martha to have been one of the most alive people on the planet. She was an inspiration to anyone that met her, whether they knew her for an hour or a lifetime. The first time I met my aunt Martha, she showed up in flip flops, daisy dukes, and biker sunglasses. I have to admit I was a bit embarrassed to admit this woman was my aunt.
We went to the grocery store that day as she was babysitting. There was a lady in front of us with two entire grocery carts filled with items she needed to checkout. We had one item to check out, which happened to be some stomach medicine for my little sister who was home sick with the stomach flu.
My aunt asked the woman if she wouldn’t mind if we could step ahead of her as we had only one item, and she needed to get home to a sick child. The woman gave her a nasty look and said, “Absolutely not.”
I have to admit I was a bit panicked as there was only one checker, and it looked as if this lady’s items may take at least 30 minutes to check out. At this point my aunt started coughing really loudly, ON the woman in front of us. Her hacking got louder and she said, “Oh excuse me, I am just getting over the flu.” At one point I think I saw some kind of spray come out of her nose, and I wasn’t quite sure if she made this up, or if she was actually really sick at this point. The woman gave my aunt a horrified look, and allowed her to check out at that point.
I have to admit, I was even more embarrassed. I never saw a family member try something like that. My parents were pretty conservative people, and didn’t much mention my aunt Martha, except for emergency appearance like babysitting. But once we left, my aunt winked and said, “Sweetie, when politeness fails, and people are self-centered, you do what you do to get to your sick child. I am not sick love.”
Yes, my aunt was a bit eccentric. At times I felt embarrassed by her, we all know that Aunt Martha did some crazy things. At other times though, she made us absolutely proud. There was another time at school when a family was excluded from receiving funds it needed to participate in the new band program. The family was a new family to school, and the school insisted that it was out of scholarships for the family. The family had recently lost their home due to a flood, and were living in a temporary shelter. The family had also lost a child a month prior. Aunt Martha asked if there was anything the school could do, but the school insisted that there was nothing it could do to help the family out. So Aunt Martha went door to door collecting funds, and went to several local churches, and raised enough funds to help the family out so their daughter could attend band for the full year. She told me that some people just required a little joy in their life, particularly children.
Aunt Martha was just like that. A bit hippie, a bit eccentric, but always one
to step out when she saw a need for it. That’s what we loved most about her.
Today, as we celebrate her loving memory, I hope that each of you will remember
to step out when you see a need, and remember to laugh the next time you see
someone acting a little eccentric. Maybe Aunt Martha is smiling down on them.