January 21, 2010

"Privilege"...

As children my brother and I lived a very "privileged" life.  We spent many hours entertained by a jester, a magician, a clown, a musician, a body surfer and a professional story teller...just to mention a few.

We searched the "mountains" for arrow heads and went on great adventures through the "forest".  And hidden in this "forest" was our own personal wishing well where we tossed pennies, made wishes and had no doubt they would all come true.

We were regaled by fairy tales and stories of "Little Black Sambo" and we knew beyond a doubt that the "hokey-pokey" was really what its all about.

Some children have a favorite stuffed animal, a doll or a blanket.  Reece and I?  We had Aunt Eva!

Aunt Eva was sheer entertainment.  There was nothing she wasn't up for.  Whether it was hiking the lake roads, a ride in the back of the pick-up, body surfing the lake "waves" or just "one more story".

Our "privileged" life included hours spent in a simple old house turned daycare or a frame lake cabin complete with wood burning stove and an outhouse or maybe just hanging out at home.

We thought Aunt Eva was all ours - because she made us feel like she was.  What we didn't understand at the time is that she made everyone feel that way.  She wasn't just an Aunt - she was a Nurse, a day care operator, a Wife, a Mother, a Grandmother, a sister, a daughter and a friend among many other things.  And in each of those roles she made the people she interacted with feel like they were the most important people in the world.  I would love to know how many births she participated in in her career.  How many children she cared for.  How many nursing students she mentored.  How many lives she touched.

Aunt Eva recently celebrated her 85th birthday.  She's no longer tracking through the woods or body surfing the waves.  Her days of birthing babies are long since past but her eyes still twinkle and seeing her smile and hearing her stories fills my heart with joy.

We had the opportunity to see her over the summer at our family reunion.  She and Reece were discussing her health and she told him the doctor had told her that her heart was just "no good".  Later  Reece told me about the conversation and we chuckled knowing "no good" was probably not the description the doctor had used.

In truth Aunt Eva's heart is tired and doesn't work like it used to but we know there's not a better heart out there.  It's a heart of gold.  A heart that has touched an innumerable number of lives.  A heart that has nurtured imaginations, loved unconditionally and spread joy to whomever it touched.

Yes, Reece and I led a "privileged" childhood...privilege that no amount of money could have bought.  We were loved, shaped and cared for by an exceptional lady with an exceptional heart - a heart weathered by time but ever strong in spirit.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your Aunt Eva is my mother in law , actually 10 years today. I love her too and have learned so much from her. Most of all I learned to love, like she love all peopel around her and like Wayne loved me.
Lisa Keenan

Mevely317 said...

What a wonderful tribute! I hope your Auntie will have a chance to read your words?

Anonymous said...

OH what a BEAUTIFUL writing on one of my favorite people. I Love Mrs. Keenan and remember so many good things about her. Was wonderful to read what you wrote Kim and sit here and remember some of those things too. I wasn't privileged to have her as my aunt, but she was my babysitter and sitting here now, my mouth is watering just thinking about her noodles. They were the BEST! I remember when I went to first grade, she came by the house and brought me a sucker(lolipop) and said she was gonna miss me at daycare. Of course they just lived around the corner, so many times I would just walk over to her house on a whim and she NEVER made me go home. She would just get on the phone and call my Mother and tell her I was there and when it was tine for me to come home send one of the boys (my brothers)to come and walk me home. Thanks for sharing your memories and for letting me walk down memory lane too. Oh yeah, that is where I first met my BFF Pam Way. We have been friends now for over 43 years...wow!

Pam Way Graham said...

Oh Kim, thank you! Mrs. Keenan was such an important person in my life! Just the year that she was my daycare teacher and the year that she was my next-door neighbor bought me memories for a lifetime! Yes, I agreee we were very "priveleged" children indeed! Pam Way Graham

Anonymous said...

Beautiful story and very well wrtten. I'm not sure words can compare to really knowing this lady. My bet is she was the first to shove a milk bottle in my face almost 60 years ago. I supose I thought she was my mother for many years. Lisa you should stop calling Harold "Sweet". I know better, because I was involved in a lot of his shaninins. It took an Aunt Eva to forgive and still love us. I remember a bath that HW and I got after Playing "Sink the bismark" one day. I really didn't know you could get to dirty to sit at Aunt Eva's supper table. Why would God give Aunt Eva a burden Like Cliffy and Harold. because we needed her!

Anonymous said...

Kim, I think I am older than you....she was my Aunt Eva first....but, somehow, there was always enough love from her to go around. As I have gotten older and maybe a little wiser...I have watched Aunt Eva at family functions....she tells all of us that we are her "favorite"....and you know what...she really means it!

Aunt Eva found a way to show all of us the world...and we got to see it through the lens in Sweetwater, Texas...where it seemed the world revolved around.

Aunt Eva is truly a fabulous lady and we all are better by knowing her....because somewhere...she believed in us

-Mark

Tracie said...

What a beautiful tribute to a woman who is clearly amazing. You are very blessed to have her.

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

I once heard that any child can succeed in life if he or she has just one adult who is crazy about them. Your Aunt Eva was obviously crazy about you and your brother. I aspire to be the kind of person that someone would write a beautiful tribute about, such as the one you just did.

Nezzy said...

This Ozarks farm chick thinks she loves Aunt Eva. She sounds like a remarkable woman and you were blessed to have her touch your life. This was a beautiful tribute to her. We all need an Aunt Eva in our life.

From the hills and hollers of the Missouri Ponderosa, ya'll have a wonderfully blessed day!!!

Anonymous said...

Aunt Eva is truly an inspiration. To me, she is the one person who truly embraces life. How lucky I am to have her as my Aunt.

Sharon

Neva said...

Love your blog and it's design! Following now :)

bj said...

Such a sweet tribute to a favorite aunt. I had one, too...Aunt Lillian was her name. I'll bet your Aunt Eva and my Aunt Lillian would have been great friends 'cause it sounds like they liked the same things.

Thanks for coming over today...
hugs, jean

Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer & Crazy Woman said...

This post brought a smile to my face. What a wonderful tribute to a special person!