I enjoy reading stories that fellow bloggers have posted about ladies in their families; Melanie’s and Antique Mommy’s come to mind. In honor of her upcoming 95th birthday, I would like to introduce you to an amazing woman, my Great-Aunt Mayme.
After the death of my grandmother in August, Aunt Mayme is the last of a family of nine children. She never married, but has been a mother-figure to lots of nieces and nephews. Her sister, Aunt Thelma, passed away a few years ago at the age of 96. She was sharp as a tack, not a trace of senility. She could talk current events or Braves’ stats better than I can. I’m not sure if we would notice senility in Aunt Mayme. My mother said that when I was little I would say, “Mayme goofy!” She sees the world in her own, unique way.
Aunt Mayme on Longevity
What’s Aunt Mayme’s secret for health and longevity? No doctors, no medicines, and a steady diet of romance novels. When she and my aunt moved across town a few years ago, one of my friends said, “Poor Aunt Mayme–she’ll have to find new doctors!” What she didn’t realize is that Aunt Mayme doesn’t go to the doctor. I think she broke a bone several years ago and saw one then. It was so long ago I don’t remember. She lives at home, takes no prescriptions (and almost no over-the-counter, either), and inhales romance novels. She barely even has gray hair. Look at the picture–it’s never been colored! She finally has accepted some limitations: she stays home if it’s too cold or rainy; has meals-on-wheels delivered for lunch; and no longer cooks, which might be for the best and leads me to my next topic…
Aunt Mayme on Cooking
Although there have been some fine Southern cooks in the family, Aunt Mayme is the only one who has been paid to cook. For years she was employed in a high school cafeteria. I don’t know if serving up too many tasty burgers scrambled the culinary center of her brain, but many of her dishes are heavier on creativity than edibility.
Examples include: peach cobbler made with eggnog; lemon pie with no lemon flavoring (she realized she was out of lemon juice but made and served the pie at a church lunch anyway); and a cheesecake made with cream cheese with chives. My granddad, who passed away in 1991, once said, “Cancer hasn’t taken me, my heart hasn’t failed me yet, but I’m afraid Mayme’s cooking might just get me.” She is, however, gifted with a to-die-for coconut pie that makes grown men swoon.
Aunt Mayme on Life
Aunt Mayme’s life has epitomized that of a servant. She’s never had a husband or children of her own, so she lavishes her love and attention on siblings, nieces and nephews, friends, neighbors, and her church family. She is the first one to call on your birthday, checks in on you no matter what but especially if you’re sick, and keeps track of family members far and wide. Every summer she makes a 1500-mile round-trip to her home state where she rotates among an assortment of family members, convinced that this will be the last trip of its kind, but always tickled pink to be doing it again. In spite of her age, she has an uncanny knack for empathizing with children. Instead of enjoying the leisure she’s entitled to in her old age (although anyone who knows her would never call her old to her face), Aunt Mayme feels useless since she’s no longer able to do for others.
What she doesn’t realize is that she blesses and inspires us by her very presence.