Aunts, Tattoos and Texas

When it comes to family, I won the lottery. I have cashed in the big check. I have truly been blessed with an abundance of extended family. My dad was one of eleven kids, my mom, one of sixteen. When it comes to counting aunts, uncles and cousins I beat everyone I know. They were all raised on a farm, hard-working, honest, salt-of-the-earth kind of people. But during this blog I want to talk about my maternal aunts. My mom has nine sisters. They range in age from Aunt Nancy at seventy-five to the baby, Joanie at fifty-four. I stand in awe of them. They are amazing women. They have buried husbands, children and grandchildren. They have fought cancer and each other, but in the end they remain sisters. To see them together is like seeing all the different flowers in the same beautiful garden. They are different, yet the same. And they are a constant source of both inspiration and stories. How can they not be? They are out-spoken, bossy and funny as hell.

Take for example the story my Aunt Polly told me just this week when she called. In her younger years she had followed her second husband to Texas. While he worked all day she made a new friend with a neighbor next door. After drinking mimosas this new friend announced that to surprise their husbands they should go get tattoos, Aunt Polly’s response, “why the hell not?” The two of them then proceeded to a local shop where Aunt Polly said the finest man she had ever seen waited on them. “I mean T. Lee he was a hunk! I decided right then and there I wanted my tattoo on my upper thigh. I allowed my friend to go first she had chosen a butterfly and I had decided on a yellow rose. I sat patiently waiting my turn when suddenly from the back rolls out a Cheech and Chong look alike who smelled like he had just had a one man party.” At this point I was already laughing picturing this in my head, but with her usual dry humor Aunt Polly continued. “He asked me if I was ready, and since I couldn’t think of a polite way to say hell no I’m waiting for the good looking one I said I guess.”

I had never seen this tattoo so I had to ask, “Did he at least do a good job?”

Aunt Polly took a long suffering sigh and in her Tennessee/Texas accent said, “Well I guess, I mean even stoned how hard can it be to mess up a yellow rose when you live in Texas? Of course now days at my age it looks more like a corn husk.”

I’m blessed I tell you. Blessed.