Once when I was a hospital volunteer sitting at the information desk in the lobby, two elderly sisters came in to wait for their ride to come for them after they had visited their brother in intensive care. One was very concerned about the weather and was very fidgety. The other was calm in nature and very concerned about food. She said she had just finished breakfast and was thinking about what she would have for lunch when they got the news about brother and had to hurry to the hospital to spend some time with him. Now she was really hungry, having missed lunch, and she talked about her hunger while her sister talked about the wind and cold weather.
After they left, I thought about my Grandma Emma and her sister Minnie. Emma was the easy going one who would be concerned about the food and how hungry she was. Minnie would be the energetic, nervous one who was so aware of the weather.
While I was still in my teens, I heard the story about Aunt Minnie, who was ancient when I first knew her. Travel when she was younger, even going a few miles, must have seemed like a great endurance trial to her. Her son took her to visit another family member and while they were there, the storm clouds gathered and it started to rain. Aunt Minnie had to get back home, fast, the only place where she would be safe during a rain storm. She put on her boot but couldn’t find the second one. She hunted frantically, everywhere. The whole family helped her look. They scoured the area but the boot couldn’t be found. At last Aunt Minnie gave up and went home without her precious boot. However, when she got home and took off her boot, there was her lost boot, right under the first boot!
I remember how I laughed at that story when I first heard it. I wondered why she would be so “wired” over rain that she would put both boots on one foot and not even realize it. Now I think I understand a little better. It was her nature, nervous and concerned, always busy with weather details.
Another story about Aunt Minnie was that she could take an ordinary nine inch apple pie and cut it into pieces small enough to serve to 15 people! And there was probably another pie in the pantry but she’d make the one do for everyone. She had a nervous, pinched, guarding nature.
Seeing the two elderly sisters at the hospital waiting room in 1997 made me feel like I was seeing Grandma Emma and Aunt Minnie the way they may have interacted when they were together all those many years ago.