My sisters and I grew up watching game shows with Aunt Goldie on our black and white television. First came “Queen for a Day.” Aunt Goldie pursed her lips in disapproval of Jack Bailey’s scantily clad ladies.
However, Mr. Bailey redeemed himself when he interviewed several women with specific needs. Then he prompted the audience in selecting the most deserving woman with their applause. Aunt Goldie clapped her hands in glee when Jack Bailey showered all contestants with gifts.
In 1963, Aunt Goldie added “Let’s Make a Deal” hosted by handsome and hilarious Monty Hall, to her game shows. Wherever Aunt Goldie resided with her large family from Peter Creek, Kentucky, to Warren, Michigan, she set aside her washrag and dishtowel for some amusement.
Meanwhile, my mother seized this uninterrupted time for a phone conversation or a walk across the street to her coffee klatch.
In my seventies, I now reflect upon the influence of my little Aunt Goldie who barely stood four feet tall. Dependent upon her large family, she sojourned with her brothers and sisters, their spouses and children, to help meet their daily needs. Then, a brother or sister, niece or nephew, drove her to her next destination with her hearing aids, little suitcase, and big Bible.
Perhaps Aunt Goldie’s servant spirit drew me to Mary one Sunday after the church’s worship service. A pleasant woman my senior who used a cane to walk, I sat beside Mary and introduced myself. Not long afterward, we planned my first visit to her home. “I’ll bring lunch and do whatever you need, Mary.”
When I arrived at 10 a.m., she said, “Would you please wrap the Christmas presents I bought for my family? They’re on the dining room table.”
Considering Easter Day drew nigh, she explained her family couldn’t gather for Christmas due to illness. So, they postponed the celebration until the following holiday.
I’d imagined washing Mary’s dishes and floors like Aunt Goldie. Rather, mine was the joy to wrap Christmas presents for Mary’s grandchildren.
On my second visit to her home, she pointed to a kitchen cabinet. “Please remove the expired canned goods.”
So I did before we enjoyed our egg salad sandwich together.
Mary later fell ill and left her seat vacant in church. At last, she returned. I resumed visits to her home.
“Iris, my son cannot take me to the dentist on Tuesday, December 6. Are you available?”
Our trip to her appointment developed into lunch at Panera Bread where the friendliest employee on the planet took our order – Sonia, born in the Netherlands who also speaks fluent French.
“Do you mind stopping by the Rochester Hills Municipal Building for me to pay my taxes?” Mary asked.
Dear Reader, once inside, Mary and I encountered the most beautiful tribute honoring Queen Elizabeth of England. Esther, the visionary and employee of the Building Department’s display, offered to take our photo sitting on the Queen’s throne.
“Queen Mary for a day!” I declared.
Aunt Goldie would’ve smiled in approval.
Contact Iris at firstname.lastname@example.org.