I’ve known Aunt Delma longer than any other blood relative; she has known me all my life. She was only three years older than I, so she probably doesn’t remember those years when I was the baby. I wonder when she first held me.
I don’t remember much about Delma until the teen years came about and as all kids do I watched her to know how to handle those years. She was the first of our family to go to high school; I was second. She was the first to go to college; I was the second. She was first to move away from home; I was second. Her move took her north to the Denver area; my move took me south to the Oklahoma City area. She married an Indian; I married an Englishman. Rather unusual choices in those days. I guess it showed a bit of adventure in both of us.
Delma moved back to the country; I stayed in the city. She taught in a county school and in a town of about 2500 people; I taught in an urban area. The students she taught became fixtures in her life; the ones I taught passed on to others. I soon lost contact with them; they lost contact with me. I think her influence was of more value.
She had neighbors she knew. She worked her yard and grew a garden. She canned vegetables, and burned tumble weeds. She quilted and crocheted. She knew the neighbors next door, next block, and across the town a piece. But that’s not all. She developed a friendship with an artist in New York City who made several visits to Delma’s house and took some of Delma’s artistic handwork and put it on exhibit in NYC. Me? I made bulletin board backgrounds in the school halls!
She is expert at remembering birthdays. Every year I receive a card with a variety of family and church tid-bits. Kinda like using google for trivia notes. I didn’t get my card this year because she was in the hospital. I have a hard time with birthdays. Fortunately I had three grandchildren born on the 5th of the month which was my wedding anniversary. So I just have to remember months to fit the days. The only birthday I consistently remember is Jesus’ on December 25. And now I’m told that is not really his birthday! I do know mine but have to be reminded by FB or the day goes without remembrance. To prove my point – I’m posting this birthday remembrance to her on March 4th. Her birthday was yesterday – I think.
Has she suffered grief? Must have. She has lost mom, dad, husband, son, six brothers and one sister. But the only tears I see are those shed in love for Jesus, when she gets the “jitters” in church. She is not a complainer nor a whiner.
Sickness and pain? Two or three rounds (or more) with cancer and chemo treatments. Failing sight in both eyes, but she always reports about any treatment that seemed to help. As I said before, “No complaining, no whining.”
My aunt Delma is 85 years old as of yesterday. She is a lady who has never worn short sleeves, never put on nail polish, never worn make-up, never seen a movie, never owned a television, never worn jeans, never cut her hair as an adult, never had a perm, never worn a ring. What do you think? Religious fanatic? Cram religion down your throat? Judgmental? Prejudiced? Holier than thou? I’ll guarantee none of those fit.
Then what label would I put on her? Old time Christian. Full of love, integrity, good will, knowledge, wisdom. Did she put too much value on modesty of dress and demeanor? I’ll just say she has been a wonderful and loved member of our family for these 85 five years. She has been the picture of one who followed Col. 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Those are her noteworthy garments.
Happy Birthday, Aunt Delma. From me, of course. Who else would be late?
(The picture was Delma, freshman in 1946. A rare picture because I have never seen another in which she had her hair down.)